• Jeremy Scheck

How Much it Cost to Stock My New Kitchen with Ingredients

As many items will last us months, if not all year, this large total sum should be thought of as an investment that will subsidize all future grocery store trips.


In this series, Practically CK, we will share our real-life food budgets, spending, and experience related to the practical realties of the college kitchen — as we live and struggle through it. Even though recipes and advice are integral to Collegetown Kitchen, this aspect is also central to the vision of our site as a practical, living guide.



Some necessary context and disclaimers:

  • I am living with one roommate and in general, we plan on sharing the cost of our food. She studies food science and cooking/baking is my biggest pastime/hobby, so our personal tastes might not reflect the average person. The total sum at the end is divided by 2, to reflect what I have to pay for.

  • The 15 ingredients I bought just for baking are not included in the total sum. But they are listed at the end in case you are curious. For me, those items are more like for activity rather than groceries.

  • My dad generously paid for my share on this list, but I am responsible for budgeting and paying for all future grocery trips.

  • After reading extensively about organic foods (especially Michael Pollan's book In Defense of Food) I feel strongly that organic (or local equivalent) foods are much better for the environment and our health. Not only do you forgo toxic pesticides that are harmful to our bodies and the world, but organic foods are much richer in micronutrients. With this as a priority, I hope to be able to afford mostly organic foods on my limited budget, but we will see how it goes throughout the year!

  • This first grocery run was MUCH more expensive than future trips to the store will be. As many items will last us months, if not all year, this large total sum should be thought of as an investment that will subsidize all future grocery store trips.


With all that said, let's get into it! You can view the spreadsheet in its entirety here, or read along within the post if you prefer.



Fridge Items - $116.80/2 = $58.40

Pantry Items - $158.15/2 = $79.08 (rounded up half a cent)

Fresh Items - $58.22/2 = $29.11

Snack and Frozen Items - $66.45/2 = $33.22 (rounded down half a cent for balance)


Grand Total (Not including baking-only ingredients) = $199.81




Baking Items - $70.71 (Not included in grand total because I think of this as an activity rather than groceries)





Jeremy Scheck is the founder and editor-in-chief of Collegetown Kitchen and After School Bakery. He is a student at Cornell University in the class of 2022 studying Spanish, Italian, and nutrition. Aproveche, buon appetito and bon appétit!