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Fetch’s College Student Grocery List

By David

December 12, 2023

Is it your first year away from home and you’re not sure what essentials belong on a college dorm grocery list? Or maybe you have your sights set on graduation and don’t have time to come up with your college grocery list. We’ve got you covered with the essentials: what you should have on your list, how much you should spend, how often to grocery shop and where you can save.

The first thing on your list is to download Fetch if you don’t already have it, and use the app when making your grocery list. You’ll earn points on all your supermarket trips, and those points can be redeemed for free gift cards that will help offset the cost of future trips to the grocery store.

Get the Fetch App

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How to Make a Grocery List for College Students

It can be tempting to think about how your refrigerator and pantry were stocked at home when making a grocery list as a college student, but your college dorm grocery list is probably going to be very different. For starters, saving money is probably going to be a priority for you.

So, let us do the work for you. We’ve made a sample college student grocery list that covers the essential categories with suggestions for each.

  • Produce
    • Apples
    • Bananas
    • Pears
    • Grapes 
    • Oranges
    • Broccoli
    • Carrot sticks
  • Dairy
    • Milk
    • Cheese
    • Yogurt
  • Grains
    • Bread
    • Bagels
    • Muffins
    • Cereals
    • Oatmeal
    • Pasta
  • Protein
    • Chicken
    • Beef
    • Deli meats
    • Eggs
    • Meat substitutes like tempeh or tofu
  • Snacks
    • Chips and dip
    • Popcorn
    • Peanut butter and jelly
    • Crackers
    • Seeds
    • Trail mix
    • Cookies
    • Granola bars
  • Drinks
    • Soda
    • Juice
    • Coffee
    • Tea
  • Frozen
    • Single serve meals
    • Fruit or veggie mixes
    • Breakfast sandwiches
    • Pizza
    • Ice cream
  • Pantry
    • Canned soups
    • Canned beans and tomatoes
    • Herbs and spices
    • Pasta sauce
    • Instant noodles
    • Protein powder

Printable Grocery List for College Students

Printable grocery list for college students, organized by category

How Much Should a College Student Spend on Groceries?

The average college student spends about $250 per month on groceries according to The Education Data Initiative, though that varies significantly with where you live (Hawaii students are looking at spending $451 per month on groceries while Vermonters average just $77 per month). Healthier eaters might spend a little more (though there are tricks to eating healthy on a budget, too).

If spending $250 per month on groceries sounds a bit low, it might be because college students also spend an average of $410 per month eating out. Whether you’re looking to cut back on spending or have extra cash to go out for dinner, each college grocery receipt you snap in the Fetch app puts you a step closer to a gift card for groceries or dining out.

Text reading, "The average college student spends about $250 per month on groceries."

How Often Should I Grocery Shop in College?

You should be grocery shopping weekly in college, if not more often. Your parents might shop every two weeks or even just once a month back home. Here’s why you should grocery shop weekly as a college student:

Where is the Best Place to Buy Groceries in College?

The best place to buy groceries in college is going to depend on a lot of things that your parents probably don’t consider when shopping for groceries at home:

  • Do you have a car?
  • How far are your grocery store options?
  • Is there a convenience store near campus?
  • Do you have a refrigerator in your room? 
  • Is there a microwave, stove or oven you can use?

All of this can impact where you do your college grocery shopping (and how much you usually spend). Here are some of the best places to buy groceries for a college student:

  • Aldi
  • Lidl
  • Food Lion
  • WinCo 
  • Market Basket

Dollar stores like Dollar Tree and Dollar General can sometimes be a good source of shelf stable foods, too. 

College student grocery shopping in store and reviewing their grocery list on their phone below text reading, "Your perfect college student grocery list"

Make Your College Grocery List in the Fetch App

Here’s something they might not teach you in college: it’s easy to save up for books, gas money and party essentials when you snap your receipts in the Fetch app. Already know how Fetch can save you money? Did you also know you can build out your college student grocery list in the app so you can be sure to take advantage of all of the special offers and extra points?

Get started on your list and skip the dining hall next time!

Topics: Food and Drink, Shopping Lists



David Fairbanks is a writer, science educator and Chicagoan fueled by coffee. He's written about everything from Ferraris to handcrafted pet urns to Superman, and he genuinely loves loyalty/rewards programs.