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The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

A Guide to Frugal Living: The Supermarket


Food. Toiletries. Medicine. All are necessities for a healthy life, but what do you do when it starts burning a hole in your pocket? I’m here to tell you it doesn’t need to flatten your wallet. Here are a few tips I’ve come up with over my time as a financially struggling college student.

1. On-Campus Food


The University of Massachusetts Boston, along with other colleges, has events every day that offer free food. So, search them out! Learn something interesting, network, and find some free food. If you’re not that lucky or don’t have time to go to events, bring snacks and your lunch to school. Honestly, UMass Boston sells overpriced food with mediocre results. Even those vending machine purchases add up. So, bring it yourself! You’ll save the money, and with the extra cash you save, you can spend the money on better, healthier food.

2. On Bagging


According to massgreen.org, 85 out of 350 cities in Massachusetts have banned plastic shopping bags and styrofoam food containers, including Boston. If they haven’t progressed to a total ban, some towns and cities are starting to charge for plastic bags. If you’re buying in bulk, that can add up. Wherever I go I bring my reusable bag or bags. It saves money and helps the environment at the same time.

3. Produce Produce Produce

Okay, you’ve finally come across the produce section of the supermarket. Most don’t know this, but fruits and vegetables are wicked cheap. The catch is though, you shouldn’t buy them for the sake of buying them. Before going to the store, look up good, nutritious recipes that you can cook yourself. The less you go out, the more money stays in your wallet. Be smart on what you buy; for example, buying in bulk is cheaper in the long run. If you’re able to, go somewhere like BJ’s Wholesale, where the whole point is to buy any merchandise in bulk. Places like BJ’s not only sells food, but toiletries and clothes as well. Finally, toiletries come into the mix. Feminine hygiene products get expensive quick and so does toothpaste, deodorant, pain relief such as Tylenol or Motrin, NyQuil, soap, and many more necessities to a healthy lifestyle. Buy in bulk! Of course, if you’re unable to buy in bulk, look at all the different stores around you to find the cheapest prices, the best coupons, or both! Depending where you live, the price of groceries/other life items, can either be really expensive or almost dirt cheap. I used to buy Clif Bars from Trader Joe’s for 99 cents; I stopped at Stop and Shop the other day . . . $1.58. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot but change adds up.

4. It’s All About the Savings

Limit your coffee spending! This might be the hardest tip but add up the amount of cash you spend on coffee or fast food in an average week. If you really can’t commit to getting rid of that daily Dunkin’ Donuts, match the amount you spend on coffee to the price of an item you really want. “How many Starbucks coffees is this item?” I also think, “How many hours at my (minimum wage) job is this?” “Save, save, save” should be your new motto. Whether you’re saving up for a car, a new skateboard, or even high-end makeup, make a third bank account as your *second* savings account. I am a firm believer of putting a third of your paycheck in your checking, a third in your main savings, and the last third in your second savings account.

Try to utilize at least some of these tips. They have helped me save a lot of money in the long run, and it’s good to put at least some of them to good use—even if it’s hard at first. Good luck and live frugal!