first apartment grocery list food

First Apartment Grocery List | All The Kitchen Essentials You Need For Your First Apartment

Moving into your first apartment is something that you look forward to for so long. Preparing your kitchen (and budget) can be really overwhelming. This first apartment grocery list will help make it easier.

first apartment grocery list

When I moved into my first apartment, I had literally no clue that I would need to buy so many things. I always had the kitchen essentials in my house, it never crossed my mind that I would have to stock an entire kitchen when I moved.

There are so many small items that you need when you move to your first apartment. It can be easy to overlook some of the most common grocery list items. To help you avoid 15 trips to the grocery store, I have created this first apartment grocery list that I wish I had when I first moved.

This post includes everything you need to add to your first apartment grocery list.

Grocery Shopping Tips For Your First Apartment

Grocery shopping for your first apartment will probably be one of the biggest grocery bills you encounter to date. It can easily get out of hand if you don’t know what you are shopping for. Here are a few tips on preparing for your grocery shipping trip to save you time and money.

Make A First Apartment Grocery List

Having a grocery list is my number one tip for anything cooking related. By creating a list you know exactly what you are shopping for and can prevent unnecessary spending. Having a list just honestly makes the whole process so much easier.

Related: College Grocery List Ideas That Will Save You Money

Want to steal my first apartment grocery list?

This is a great option if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of making your own list or you’re worried you will forget something on your own.

Use Coupons

Since you have a grocery list made now, you can look at coupons or deals for some of the stores you plan to shop at. One of my favorite grocery shopping hacks is to download the apps for the grocery stores I go to. Not every store has one but if they do, there is usually a section for coupons. You can save them to your account and when you check out, they will apply to your total. It feels like you are making money while shopping (#girlmath lol).

In addition to coupons, I also love apps like Fetch Rewards or Rakuten where you earn points and cash back on the money you are spending.

Know Where To Shop

Have a plan for where you need to shop. Typically, I don’t like to go to more than one store on a weekly grocery trip. However, when you are stocking your first apartment with all the kitchen essentials, it’s a good idea to plan on a few extra stops to save as much money as possible.

I love to shop in bulk at Costco for a few items that I know I will continue to use again and again. Discount stores like Aldi or Grocery Outlet are great for random specialty items and some basics. Larger grocery store chains are great for the majority of your shopping list and will vary by your location

Only Buy What You Need

The main reason we need a first apartment grocery list is to prevent us from buying things we don’t need. When making your list, don’t buy things for the sake of filling your pantry. Only purchase items you know you reach for repeatedly.

First Apartment Grocery List

Like I mentioned, there are so many items you probably have in your kitchen that you have never thought twice about having. If you don’t make a first apartment grocery list for your shopping trip, you will likely forget some of those random items.

On a weekly basis, I recommend planning a few meals and shopping for those specific meals/ingredients. However, to get your kitchen started, there are some basics you should have that will be useful for multiple meals.

Below, you will find the food essentials you need for your pantry, fridge, freezer, and even paper goods and cleaning supplies.

Pantry Essentials

I believe the pantry has some of the most essential food items you will need to shop for in your first apartment. These items are typically used for a ton of recipes and it’s smart to always have them on hand.

  • pasta
  • pasta sauce bread
  • rice
  • chicken broth
  • beef broth
  • vegetable broth
  • beans
  • peanut butter
  • jelly
  • canned tomatoes
  • tomato paste
  • tomato sauce
  • canned chicken
  • canned tuna
  • cooking oils
  • honey
  • rolled oats
  • tea
  • coffee


This section is totally not necessary but I like to reach for snacks from time to time. There are few things worse than being in a snacky mood and not having anything.

  • chips
  • cookies
  • granola bars
  • crackers

Fridge Staples

These are items that are typically reached for time and time again. You will find these are probably added to your weekly list as well.

  • milk
  • eggs
  • butter
  • cheese
  • yogurt
  • lunch meat
  • fresh fruit
  • fresh veggies

Freezer Essentials

It’s a good idea to always keep your freezer stocked with options for quick meals and with ingredients you always need. I buy my meat in bulk and freeze it in serving size portions. For sound turkey/beef, I put 1 pound in a ziplock back and freeze the bags lying flat. I typically freeze 2-4 chicken breasts in baggies so they are easily thawed for a meal when needed. I also keep a few pre-made frozen meals from Trader Joe’s for the nights I don’t feel like cooking.

  • ground turkey/beef
  • chicken
  • frozen veggies
  • frozen fruit
  • frozen meals
  • ice cream

Baking Ingredients

Even if you don’t love to bake a lot, these ingredients tend to be found in a lot of different recipes. I like to keep them all on hand just in case. However, bare minimum I would recommend sugar and flour.

  • all purpose flour
  • cane sugar
  • brown sugar
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • chocolate chips
  • vanilla extract

Spices and Condiments

These are often the most easily forgotten. You tend to buy condiments or spices and they last for a while so you don’t think about it when you go to reach for them. Depending on what you cook, you may have to add more to your list but these are the basics for a lot of meals.

  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • red pepper flakes
  • ground cumin
  • cinnamon
  • cayenne
  • dried basil
  • oregano
  • italian seasoning
  • chili powder
  • paprika
  • ketchup
  • barbecue sauce
  • mustard
  • mayonnaise
  • hot sauce
  • salsa
  • soy sauce
  • maple syrup
  • balsamic vinegar
  • apple cider vinegar
  • salad dressing

Paper Products

These are all the household paper products you will need. Although some of them aren’t for your kitchen, I think it’s easiest to add them to your grocery list. If you have the space to store them, it may be more cost effective to buy these in bulk.

  • paper towels
  • napkins
  • trash bags
  • ziplock bags
  • plastic wrap
  • foil
  • parchment paper
  • toilet paper
  • tissues

Cleaning Supplies

Same thing with this section as above. Even though I wouldn’t technically consider these grocery items, it’s smart to shop for them at the same time so your first apartment is stocked.

  • dish soap
  • hand soap
  • dish sponge
  • dishwasher soap
  • all purpose cleaner
  • glass cleaner
  • clorox wipes
  • broom and dust pan
  • microfiber towels
  • laundry detergent
  • laundry softener
  • dryer sheets

This post helped you create the best first apartment grocery list!

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