When I first left my parents' home roughly six years ago, I truly became aware of the cost of groceries. Possibly because I am tighter than a coat of paint when it comes to certain things, but a few pricey grocery shopping experiences shortly after moving out made me change my food buying ways. After all, I had to make rent. And I had to pay for college. Rice is a Good Friend to Have A little rice goes a long way. Or at least that's what I say. Even at $15 to $25 for a huge fourteen pound bag, rice is a substantially cheap way to feed yourself. Through cooking research and by diving into various cuisines, egg fried rice, meats and veggies over rice, and Mexican burritos are now a big component of my home meals. When I'm on the go, hot sauce and rice makes a fine snack to hold me over. Rice gets you full while giving you nutrition. I never used to eat it. Now I see it as an economical option that is both healthy and tasty. Stay Away from Convenience Stores Why? Because they aren't so convenient on your wallet. After moving out of my parents' home, I was hungry for cereal my second night in my new apartment, so I drove to a local convenience store to pick up milk and some kind of cereal. "That will be $9.19," the cashier told me. Those words hit me like bird poop splattering on your car windshield. That was more than I made in an hour. Keep It Fresh and Do the Cooking Yourself I used to make the mistake of using coupons to purchase things like pre-packaged green beans. Don't do this. I later found that loose and fresh green beans are cheaper by well over one dollar a pound. Coupons are rarely for fresh fruits and vegetables, which are less money than frozen packaged items. Even those quick microvable meals are not as cheap as making something similar yourself. Cut up your own veggies and cook your meals rather than purchasing premade stuff. It will save your body and your wallet. Only Buy What You Absolutely Need in Bulk I remember buying about six loaves of bread at the great price of 88 cents a loaf. Never will I do that again. I simply let the façade of big savings get in the way of my actual bread eating capabilities. By the time I ate halfway through that batch, which took about two weeks, the bread had developed a mold and stench bad enough to drive the mice out of my house. I ended up wasting three of the loaves. While the benefit of driving mice away with moldy bread may tempt, it's probably best to only get items you absolutely need in bulk. I tend to keep it to rice, meats–because you can freeze those–and vegetable oil. Mission Shop Your shopping mentality can save you money. I abide to my list as if I would get a hand chopped off for disobeying it. And you should too. Don't get sidetracked by seductive bags of chips you didn't even come to the store to get. Get in. Get what you came to get. And get out.
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