Eating Cheaply on a College Budget | 09.14.11
September is an exciting time with all of the back to school chaos of getting settled in, making/reuniting with friends, and starting your classes and activities. This leaves little time to really watch what you’re eating, both for health and budget. While I’m no nutritionist, I can help you save money on the food you eat! Here are some low-cost ways to fuel up this coming year.
- Stay away from frozen dinners. These can be as much as $5-$6 each! By making your own meals from scratch (while more time consuming) you can save big bucks, and stay healthier! You can buy enough pasta and veggies with that money to last for multiple meals, rather than that frozen, one-time serving.
- If you’re on a meal plan, make the most of it! Avoid expensive items like fruit and buy these at a grocery store. Depending on the school, any unused meal plan money can be returned to you for other expenses. Of course, if your dining hall is a pay-per-entry style, stick a tupperware container in your bag and save your leftovers for later (if it’s not against your school’s policy)!
- Avoid bottled water. Many college kids buy cases and cases of water to have handy. Besides being bad for the environment, constantly buying bottled water could get costly. Get a reusable water bottle and fill it at the dining hall or buy a water filter (if you’re opposed to tap water). Over 4 years of school, the savings could add up.
- Limit dining out. An occasional late night run to McDonalds probably wont break the bank, but dining out often can deplete your bank account quickly.
- Keep pasta and rice on hand. These are great to have around when you don’t feel like trekking to the dining hall; they’re cheap, filling, and good for you (depending on what else you add). Oh, and although it’s cliche, Ramen noodles got me through some late nights of studying. Besides being cheap, I happen to love them, but hey, not everyone can have my refined palate…
- Hit up tonight’s philosophy event. Yup, really. Campus clubs and events often have an array of food for the guests. Stake out a meeting ahead of time and get a free meal. Who knows, you may even crash an interesting party and find a new favorite activity!
Do you have a tip for eating on a budget? Leave a comment and let us know!
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