Campus Life

Don’t Neglect the Necessities

A Guide to Finding the Basics

I don’t like grocery shopping, probably because of the chilliness of the frozen food section and because I don’t like lugging heavy bags. Or maybe it’s just because I’m lazy. Either way, you should not follow my example because it must be possible to enjoy shopping for basics like food, bedding, and toiletries. Here’s a list of places where you can go to try to achieve nirvana or at least find a good deal:

Shaw’s Supermarket

20 Sidney St., Cambridge

or 53 Huntington Ave., Boston

You already know what Shaw’s looks like inside — it’s just like any other grocery store in America. Become a Shaw’s Club Member for free and score a bright orange card that will make you eligible for discounts on different items each week. Buy in moderation, because the store is close enough to go often, but is too far to drag a month’s worth of food.

Trader Joe’s

727 Memorial Dr., Cambridge

or 899 Boylston St., Boston

If you hail from the middle of nowhere like I do, this may be the first you’ve heard of Trader Joe’s. It’s a store that offers some organic food, but don’t be scared away by the idea that this must mean everything is expensive. Go here for cheap produce and snacks, an almost bewildering variety of tea, and the chance to grind your own gourmet coffee beans.

Bonus: if you go to the Boylston St. location, you can catch a ride back to campus on the Boston East SafeRide at its Prudential Center stop across the street.

Whole Foods Market

115 Prospect St., Cambridge

or 340 River St., Cambridge

Okay, this is the place where you’ll find expensive organic stuff. Prices are higher than what the typical college student is usually willing to pay, but if you must have organic, Whole Foods has a very wide selection. The budget-minded will find that 365 Everyday Value, a store brand of shampoos and soaps, is cheaper than most anything available at drug stores.


Several locations in Boston area


625 Massachusetts Ave., Boston

You’ll find the familiar at both of these stores: your favorite shampoo, body wash, or styling product. If you’re the type that only goes to Sephora to see how many different cheek stains you can try on at once, you’ll be happy wandering an aisle full of affordable cosmetics at this drug store.


100 Cambridgeside Place, Cambridge (CambridgeSide Galleria)

It’s easy to find matching sheets and towels at Sears. Getting home under the weight of a huge comforter is fairly easy, too — just catch The Wave, the shuttle that runs between Kendall Square and the Cambridgeside Galleria.


180 Somerville Ave., Somerville

If you’re already homesick, decorate your room to make it look more familiar. Target is a cheap stop for rugs, lamps, and picture frames, but you’ll have to find a car to get there.