Apr 8 16

Leaving the Nest: A Shock at the Grocery Store

Ms. Rita Rents

ShockAtTheGroceryStoreThere are so many things I wish I was taught before fleeing the coop! Simple things like laundry soap would consume 50% of my weekly grocery budget (the sensitive skin stuff is expensive!), my roommates would eat EVERYTHING unless my name was plastered in marker on every side (and then, not totally safe), when make-up runs out, it doesn’t just appear in my make-up bag. Sheets have to be washed, by me, at the Laundromat and that has to be timed just right! So, for you momma and poppa birds getting ready for your baby birds to leave the nest, and you baby birds ready to fly on your own, I thought I’d make a few handy lists of things to learn BEFORE having to put back the bread because you had to buy laundry soap and didn’t realize it was expensive! One of my biggest shockers was the grocery store, so let’s go there…

Whether you like it or not, every week, you will need to be prepared at the grocery store to buy non-grocery items. When I first left home and was in college, my grocery budget was slim, $25.00/week. That would usually get me some Ramen, instant rice packets, potatoes, a piece of fruit for each day, bread, small milk, cold cereal and maybe a few veggies. What really sucked was when I was out of food AND the essentials. What to do? Go without bread or clean undies? So, what I learned really quickly were these three things:

  1. Make sure your food isn’t eaten by anyone but you – write your name on it, hide it, wrap it in conspicuous wrappers and containers that no one would want to open or touch.
  2. If you plan on making meals, make enough for 2-3 servings and save the left-overs and EAT THEM!
  3. Plan on buying at least one essential non-food item every week. If you plan for it, it’s not a surprise and you don’t have to choose TP over milk.

Below is a handy little chart of the most common non-food items you’ll have to buy and about how much they cost. Most of the essentials will last about a month. Parents, although my baby bird hasn’t flown the coop yet, I’ve recommended to several of my friends to make a grocery budget with their student, make them develop a list with you, and then go shopping together before leaving home for the first time. Starting them off with the essentials is a great gift and it is a great lesson too. This is somewhat comical and eye-opening for both kids and parents, but a great bonding experience!

Just for kicks, I asked my teenager what he thought each of these items cost and included it below. Close on some, way off on others…

Good luck and hopefully this will help you first timers not panic in the grocery store like I did…


A Shock at the Grocery Store