The Ultimate First Apartment Grocery List

It’s finally here! The long-awaited day when you meet true independence—you’re moving into your first apartment! Congratulations, you’ve officially entered adulthood. Once the movers are long gone, you’ve unpacked a few boxes, and you start settling in, you look down at your growling stomach, and realize—it’s time to do some shopping.

But, where do you start? How much should you spend? What do you even get? Don’t panic—ApartmentSearch is here to help you create the perfect shopping list for perfecting basic recipes within the confines of a small kitchen!

Do you have the kitchen basics?

First things first, let’s begin with some kitchen essentials. These will help you host the best dinner parties, potlucks, and more. They’ll also come in handy when you first venture into making a home-cooked meal.

  • Countertop Blender
  • Toaster Oven
  • Coffee Pot or Electric Tea Kettle
  • Hand or Stand Mixer
  • Microwave

If your apartment is either unfurnished or poorly equipped in terms of appliances, you may find it useful to turn to CORT Furniture Rental. As the name implies, CORT allows you to rent furniture basics like futons and desks as well as essential appliances like microwaves and TVs—all without the hassles (or price tags) of conventional ownership.

However, you’re not here for a first-time apartment furniture buying guide; you’re here to get your bearings on grocery shopping. So, let’s get back to it.

Do you have cooking basics?

If the most important part of your new apartment is what’s in the fridge, we totally get you. Everyone’s a little different when it comes to dietary needs and preferences, so we recommend taking note of some of the items you eat every day to have a good starting point. Here are some often forgotten grocery essentials that fit a variety of eating habits.

  • Spices and seasonings: Salt, pepper, and dried herbs are essential to give all your meals great flavor.
  • Condiments and sauces: Ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, or whatever else you like with your chicken (or veggie) nuggets.
  • Baking needs: Things like flour, sugar, baking soda will come in handy when the midnight munchies strike.
  • Pantry basics: Spaghetti, pasta sauce, olive oil, peanut butter, and snacks such as popcorn and granola bars for the times when you want a quick and easy meal.
  • Frozen food options: Trust us, you’ll thank yourself later for having the foresight to read this blog post, and buy your favorite frozen pizza, a couple of meals, and some fruits for smoothies as a result.

Last but not least, an apartment isn’t complete without a few basic items that will help you survive in your new space. These are all easy to find at your nearest grocery store, Target, Walmart, or online. If you’d like to stay budget-friendly, we suggest buying some of these items in bulk.

Do you have cleaning supplies and home care essentials?

  • Toiletries: We don’t have to explain why these are so important—especially toilet paper!
  • Cleaning supplies: Paper towels, surface cleaner, dishwashing soap, and window spray for the cooking or baking mishaps that are bound to happen.
  • Cooking supplies: A spatula, frying pan, pot, and more are all necessities for any meals you’d like to make.
  • Food storage and prep items: Tin foil, parchment paper, resealable bags are essential for storing and packing lunches.

Before you set out on your way, walk around your new home and add any other items you think of, or cross off items you already have.

Is the price right?

Perhaps the most important yet most-often overlooked part of grocery list-making is budgeting. Many grocers have apps and online catalogs that allow you to browse their inventory and pricing. Once you’ve got that list written down, go online and get an idea of what your bill will look like. This strategy will help you avoid surprises at the cash register and prioritize what to buy now vs. what can wait till next month. You can stave off financial concerns by implementing this and other first apartment budgeting tips.

Stick with it!

Rather than wandering the aisles of your local supermarket, stick to your grocery list and your budget! Once you’ve mastered the art of grocery shopping, give yourself and your groceries an amazing kitchen to enjoy. Look for your next apartment upgrade on