At the farewell meeting in Germany (as well as at the welcome meeting here in Boston), people told me that Boston is more expensive than Germany. And most of them seem to think that it's a lot more expensive... Well, here's what I think: Shopping (especially grocery shopping) is an art form. You have to know what you want and where to get it, you have to look for sales, be able to read labels and - in the case of being an exchange student from Germany in America - translate dollar into Euros and gallons into liters. Because, guess what, 2.50 for some Ice Tea might sound much, but if you translate it to a little under 2 Euros for 2 liters of Arizona Ice Tea... well, that seems fair to me :) Of course, some things are more expensive (cream for example... almost 4 dollars for a tiny little bit of cream makes it kinda hard to enjoy pasta Alfredo... but that's what Barilla is for ;) ) but there are so many more things that are actually a lot cheaper!
As for grocery shopping: there's a Shaws right at JFK/UMass. Now, Shaws is not exactly the discounter... but they have really good stuff and if you look around a little bit and go with the yellow sale-labels, its actually really not that bad! If you want to shop for less, there's a walmart in Quincy. Walmart is always good for a bargain or two :) And then there's haymarket of course. I still haven't managed to go there, but apparently it's THE PLACE to get all your fruits and veggies! I'll try it when I come back from Florida...
What shocked me personally where the prices for required books you have to pay at the UMass bookstore... man! $ 11 for a USED paperback novel? Yeah, I don't think so... Problem is, you will probably have to get at least the first book at the bookstore, because you usually need it for the second or third session already. However, if you have the time, buy the books online! Amazone.com is almost always cheaper (especially if you chose the used books). What also shocked me a little where the notebook prices. I seem to recall paying like 2 euros for a good notebook back in Germany (or less if you get them at ALDI). Here, the notebook I've seen so far start around $ 4.50.... The only upside is that those are UMass Notebooks (they have UMass Boston engraved in the front) which I found rather neat :)
So, as far as grocery shopping is concerned: don't sweat it. It might look more expensive, but most of that is just the currency and the fact that American measurements are different than European measurements :) And if all else fails, there's haymarket and the school (and most of the city) is full of water fountains. You'll survive ;)