Open, close, open again and continue to stare just one more minute into the barren wasteland you call your refrigerator.
Perhaps one of the biggest shocks that came with moving out on my own was, the fridge that I once could always count on to be full of my favorite after-school snacks, in all actuality, does not refill itself.
There is no little food elf who lives quietly on your butter shelf, replenishing your food supply while you sleep. You have to actually get your body out of the apartment, into your car and over to the nearest or favorite grocery store and fill that squeaky cart with goodies galore.
But the trick is figuring out what to buy and how to buy it, isn’t it? If you’re anything like me, you grocery shop entirely wrong by big kid standards. Waiting until the fridge and cupboard space you call your own are almost completely depleted, you rush over to the grocery store and proceed to have a small heyday.
I mosey down the aisles aimlessly only listening to my gurgling gut and not so much my whining college bank account. Somehow, the hullabaloo of my stomach muscles magically silences the sound of pennies swiftly leaving my piggy bank.
But alas, in go Rice Crispy Treats, Granola Bars and Fruity Pebbles I leave the grocery store with a car full of savory treats and come home to a fridge still lacking the essentials for a good meal. Slowly I feel my premature heart attack or diabetes creeping up behind me.
However, with some wise words of advice from my mother and other seasoned lone-dwellers like myself, I’m finally getting my shopping habits down pat with these simple tips and suggestions.
Make a list.
Don’t wait until your stomach is screaming at you to make a trip to the store. As you go about your various days and weeks, jot down items you realize you are in need of. When you finish your small block of Tillamook cheese on one last savory quesadilla, add it to your list. That way, next time you’re at the store with a cheese craving, you reach for the proper packaging. And let’s just be clear, no cheese that comes from a can should ever be consumed.
I cannot even tell you how many times I have wandered the aisles of Harmons with every good intention to buy good food, to prepare a good meal, and I walk out of there with two boxes of mac ‘n’ cheese and two family-sized bags of chips.
Here’s where Pinterest comes in handy, ladies and gentlemen. Get your clicking fingers over to the food and drink section of that outlandish website and pin yourself some recipes. Having a recipe, or at least an idea of what you want to prepare for the week, helps shopping go quicker, helps you eat healthier and helps you hone in on the essentials.
I know, I know—nobody likes to be stuck in line behind a coupon clipper. And even worse is being the person with the coupons, holding up what feels like the entire city of St. George from going about their daily business. However, when you get your receipt, cast your eyes downward at the small words scrawled across the bottom, “You saved $65.13 today!” and suddenly you are the envy of every St. George citizen, or so it feels.
The fact is, there is nothing wrong with saving money. If that means you have to clip a few coupons and ruin a few patrons’ days to get that hamburger meat for a dollar off, more power to you. You’ll eat that hamburger with satisfaction knowing that dollar went to a greater cause.
Moving away from mom and dad comes bundled with various shocks—don’t let grocery shopping and feeding yourself be one of them. Eradicate the idea of the butter shelf elf: make a list, prepare some ideas and clip some coupons to keep your fridge and your belly full.