The Ultimate Grocery Store Shopping Guide For 20-Somethings

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Grocery shopping isn’t a sport, but maybe it should be. It’s a learnable skill. With practice, anyone can strut into any supermarket, make fast, wallet-friendly, meal-centric choices, and avoid all impulse buys. It can even be fun! Here’s how to shop for a week like a pro with about $50 ($2.38 per meal!) — assuming you already have some basics at home, like olive oil, spices, and garlic.

First, pick a supermarket that stocks what you want. Do you prefer organic foods? A big ethnic section? Next, stick to the store’s perimeter when shopping; perishable whole foods like dairy, produce, and meat are not only healthier for you than processed, packaged goods that line the interior aisles, but they’re also less expensive. All those bottled drinks, chips, and crackers add up quickly.

Here’s an aisle-by-aisle guide to food shopping like a pro, plus a weeklong sample menu based on our $50 budget.