Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Basic Starter Survival Grocery List for the College Student

I moved my DD back into the college dorms today. She is in a dorm suite that has a kitchen now. This was more expensive, but we saved by not having to buy the meal plan which is outrageously expensive. I believe she can save so much more cooking for herself. We had to come up with an initial starter grocery list for her first week. She needs to cook some things from scratch, but lets face it, she is not going to be baking her own bread. Instead of supplying her kitchen with all the stuff she would need for baking, we figured a baking mix for starters would be an economical way to go. I also want her to learn to cook her own meals and not prepare too many convenience foods. We had to balance convenience, economy, and nutrition. Is it as perfectly healthy and nutritious as I wanted? Short answer no, but I think it is pretty good nutrition for the economy. It was definitely a balancing act. We had to come up with the most things we could make with the fewest amount of inexpensive ingredients. This was our first attempt. (Actually she is on her own after this and if she runs short of cash she will be a true starving student.)
Feel Free to comment any hints or helps for starving college students.

Basic Starter Survival Grocery List for the College Student

Start with this list your first week then replace weekly what you run out of. As your budget allows you can add other things. Maybe the second week buy some chicken instead of the hamburger.

1. 1 large box baking mix (Store Brand or Jiffy Brand is usually much cheaper than Bisquick. Ok it is not whole wheat or whole grain but it will suffice for now.)

( HINT: Check for recipes on back of baking box or at the baking box's website. You can usually find recipes using the baking mix for cookies, cake or cup cakes, some main dish ideas etc. (HINT: Melted margarine can be used in place of oil in almost any baking recipe)

2.   2 lbs. sugar

3.  1 loaf bread

4.  1 lb. cheddar (or 1 lb. American Cheese)

5.  1 small box powdered milk (for cooking)

6.  2 lbs reg. margarine (melted margarin can be substituted for liquid oil in most recipes)

7.  2 lbs hamburger

8.  1 lb. lunch meat

9.  2 28-oz. cans tomato sauce (or 6 or 7 8oz. cans the kind that are usually 3/ $1)

10.  3 or 5 lbs. potatoes

11.   2 lbs carrots

12.    3 lbs apples

13.   1 cabbage

14.   1 lb dry navy beans ( or 2 cans)
Remember dry beans usually have to be soaked in water overnight before use

15.   1 lbs. dry spaghetti (or Macaroni or 8 oz. of each)

16.   1 doz. eggs

17.   salt (add some seasonings as you can afford them, such as pepper, cinnamon, Italian seasoning, Chili powder, and chicken or beef bouillon cubes for flavored broths gravy's and soups etc.)

18.   Condiments can be pricey- If you eat out at fast food maybe snag a few extra catsup, mustard or mayonnaise packets. Add to your pantry when you can. Good news is condiments keep for a long time.

19.   Water is the Cheapest beverage. If the tap water is bad invest in a Brita water filter pitcher. Itwill save money in the long run. As budget allows for beverages, tea bags are cheap and can make ice tea. Fresh milk is nice, but it is pricey and if you can't drink a gallon before it goes bad, it is not worth the money. Use canned or powdered for baking. If you have to have fresh for cereal or drinking , you have to not buy more than you can drink before it goes bad. Buy milk at you discretion, calcium can be gotten in cheese and surprisingly in most beans.

20.  Later weeks you can add some canned tuna and other canned meats as your budget allows.
Tuna can be turned into tuna salad sandwiches and casserole.

21.   Later you can also buy different fruits that are in season and cheap. Apples are affordable most of the year especially in the Fall.

22.   As budget allows add more variety of vegetables. Canned vegetables are usually the cheapest, but frozen can also be a good buy. Buying too much fresh produce that goes bad before you eat it is not a good buy. Buy only carrots, potatoes and cabbage fresh as they generally last a longer time.

Things you can make from above ingredients


(HINT: make batches of biscuits, french toast or muffins on the weekend and freeze to have quick grab and go breakfasts during the week)

Pancakes with sauteed apples
Cheese biscuits
Muffins (plain, apple or spice)
French Toast (sprinkle with Cinnamon sugar instead of syrup)
eggs (not every day- you need to save some for baking)

(HINT: A big box of quick oats can be purchased as your budget allows. It keeps very well and makes a wonderful hearty cheap breakfast. you can add sauteed apples or cinnamon sugar. Sweetened package dry cereals are very pricey compared to other breakfast foods)

Lunch meat sandwiches, carrot sticks or apple, sugar cookies
Cheese Quiche
Shepherds Pie
Grilled or open face cheese sandwich
Baked potato and toppings

Mac and Cheese, Cooked apples, Cabbage Slaw
Spaghetti, garlic bread
Cheese Toasts
Hamburger Bean Soup
Hamburger Macaroni Casserole
Cheese Burger Pizzas
Chili Potatoes
Chili Mac
Beef Noodle Soup
Beef and Gravy on Mashed or Baked Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
Deviled Eggs
Cheese Potato Soup
Meatball Sandwiches
Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf Sandwiches
Potato Cabbage & Bean soup

Vegetable Dishes
Apple Slaw
Cheesy Fries
Hash Browns
Mashed Potatoes
Potato Skins
carrots raw or cooked

Apple turnovers
Baked Cinnamon apple slices (Have to buy cinnamon)
Cake, Carrot cake, or Cookies (Check baking box and Baking Box website for recipes)

Carrot Sticks
Hard boiled egg

(HINT: regular popcorn cooked the old fashioned way in a sauce pan makes a very cheap and satisfying snack food)


Anonymous said...

who the hell eats like this in college? I've never sauteed apples in my life or made hamburger navy bean soup. P.S. what do I do with the cabbage?

Deeny said...

Anonymous you are right - it didn't work. For the reason you kinda alluded to. It was too much work when she was tired also cooking from scratch is cheaper but involves a lot of cleanup of dirty dishes. So she didn't use any of that and went and got cheap unhealthy fast food. So you are right that didn't work. We have a different strategy this year- More convenience foods bought in bulk at Sam's. Maybe a bit more expensive and a bit less healthy but still better than eating fast food junk. But buying food that isn't eaten is a waste. Maybe I should write a new post about this failure and our new strategy LOL

james said...

Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.
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College Storage said...

Thanks to you for Basic Starter Survival Grocery List for the College Student.I am came back in next time.

Anonymous said...

This is awesome... I'm no college student, but this is perfect for the single guy who has no idea about what to buy and what to make after he's bought all this food! Thanks a ton!

Anonymous said...

haha i totally was into this list until i saw it failed but there are some good ideas in here. i think if someone is really hurting its a great guideline. if your daughter didn't have extra money for fast food she would have been forced to do this..i can't really blame her though, probably a lot of social pressures to grab food vs eat in.

godzillazilla1234Iota001 said...

Excellent resource for those who know how to cook. I'm entering college soon. This will be invaluable, thank you.

DFTBASarah said...

I'm currently still living at home but I may transfer next semester. Mom and I decided and apartment and groceries would be way cheaper than the stupid meal plan. I think this is a great guide for any young person starting out, just needs a few more quick and easy meals. :P

Mr Qixpoioi said...

How to Make Pemmican The Ultimate Survival Food

People really should avert their gaze from the modern survival thinking for just a bit and also look at how folks 150 years ago did it. These guys were the last generation to practice basic things-for a living-that we call survival skills now.

Click on the link bellow to find out how the early pioneers - who had a long hard journey ahead - built the Self-Feeding Fire in order to take a much needed refreshing nap (no need to add logs).

How to Start a Self-Feeding Fire That Lasts All Night Long

People really should avert their gaze from the modern survival thinking for just a bit and also look at

How folks 150 years ago did it.

These guys were the last generation to practice basic things-for a living-that we call survival skills now.

Survival Things Our Great Grandfathers Did Or Built Around The House.

Remember... back in those days, there was no electricity... no refrigerators... no law enforcement... and certainly no grocery store or supermarkets...

So I really can't think of anyone more qualified in sharing real-life survival lessons than people who lived through times like these.

Survival Things Our Great Grandfathers Did Or Built Around The House.