The lessons I learned on my first solo supermarket shop

24 Aug 2020
By Krishna L., Student at King's College London

Ever wondered what life would really be like when you took your first ever steps through the tinted glass doors of a supermarket?

Yeah, you read it right.. not the doors to a fancy building for a job or your first day at uni, but the doors to a supermarket.

Ask me about my first supermarket trip and I will tell you one thing: I have never missed my mum as much as I missed her the first time I walked into Tesco.  

For the first time in my life, I was facing three different kinds of tomatoes, multiple types of onions and endless options of rice. Sounds a little intense, right? But not to worry, I’m here to share some useful tips on your first visit to the supermarket.

1) Be prepared

First of all, try not to get anxious like I did. It’s a natural feeling to have while navigating the maze of shopping ailes, but don't worry, you’ll get through it. All you need to do is make a list before going to any store. Have a chat with a parent or your best friend and list down all the essentials you think you might need.

2) Realise that you’ll probably buy a lot on your first shop 

Chances are, it’s unlikely that you’ll know exactly how much of each thing you’ll need when you first go shopping. It could go either way. You might end up buying the entire shop, or you’ll just go home with enough food to survive for a day. 

To make sure this doesn’t happen, jot down your favourite meals on a piece of paper and work out what ingredients you’ll need. Write down seven days' worth of meals so your entire week is already covered.

3) Don’t forget the essentials

Milk and bread. They’re pretty much the most important things on the list, especially if you’re a big tea drinker. I’d always recommend picking up a medium-sized milk carton, as it’s less likely that it will spoil before you drink it all. 

Oh, and if you didn’t know already, the blue cap represents full fat milk, the red cap bottles are zero fat and green colour caps are semi-skimmed. 

4) Stock up on the staples

Aside from the essentials I mentioned above, it’s a good idea to stock up on the staples when you embark on your first ever food shop. For me, that included nutella/peanut butter, unsalted buttermilk, cheese, a packet of pasta, cream, black pepper, salt, spices and some cereal. These are things that I tend to use day-to-day. 

It’s important to include fruit and veg in your diet too, so I often buy strawberries, bananas, apples, oranges and some berries. The greens I use the most include baby spinach, beans, brown onions, salad tomatoes, lettuce, green chillies, basil, and the most important element of my daily diet: POTATOES.

5) Buy toiletries when they’re on offer

Your first supermarket trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the toiletries section. Here, you’ll need to pick up things like a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap/body wash, facewash, shaving kit and a whole bunch of toilet paper! 

Shopping for toiletries can be expensive, especially if they run out at the same time and you have to stock up all at once. My tip here is, if you see your favourite brands on offer at a good price, splash out and stock up. It’ll save you money in the long run.

The first time you go to a supermarket, you’ll probably be shocked by how much you’re spending. But, you have to remember that you won’t be spending £70-odd every week. Once you’ve stocked up and know your weekly essentials, that cost should come right down to around £20.

Doing the food shop can feel like a bit of a chore, but I think you’re going to love this phase of independence. Everything you do will be for yourself, to keep you going and to help you thrive. And I’ll tell you what, the effort is going to be worth it. 

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I am a bubbly person with an unlimited bunch of smiles and giggles. I love to read Shakespeare, pen down the unspoken words, paint my emotions and lastly, cook at oddly hours. On gloomy days I prefer loud music and a cup of coffee and on weekends I enjoy cozy lights and sweat-pants. My ideal philosophy of life is ‘Keep it Simple’.