Listen, I’m a fan of food. I’m also a fan of not paying the same amount as my college tuition to feed myself for a semester. So for those of you looking to save a little money, but still live off more than Top Ramen and Bagel Bites for the rest of college, I’ve compiled a few tips.
1) Look at places off-campus. Markets on campus and the immediate areas are going to be more expensive because you’re also paying for convenience. Whenever possible, go elsewhere for your groceries. Make friends with someone who has a car, or people who are willing to carpool. Carpooling is good for the environment and for your wallet, and it gives you a group of friends to make a mundanegrocery trip a little more fun.
2) Get that Cotsco card. Or again, a friend with a Costco card. If you’re living in the residence halls, it might seem crazy to shop at Costco when you’ve only got a small fridge to house all your food. But you can take advantage of some of the deals and still make the most of your small space. (For example, my roommates and I live off Veggie Straws, which are sold for about $5 at Costco.) When you live in a house or apartment, you’ve got loads more room, and it makes sense to stock up on things you and your roommates will eat tons of. Good things to get are chicken and lettuce (we usually eat them every day), as well as granola bars and snacks that you know you’ll eat lots of.
3) Look for coupons. Places like Target will have loads of grocery-related coupons online that’ll make it easier for you to afford feeding yourself. (And those buy two, get one free coupons might give you an excuse to eat a lot of ice cream.)
4) Make a list. I tend to do my grocery shopping either after work or before dinner, which tends to make everything on the shelves look delicious. I recommend making a list (preferably after dinner, when you’re not hungry for absolutely everything), and sticking to it. Even if that frozen cheesecake looks delicious.
5) For those of you with a meal plan, USE IT. Don’t let any of your money go to waste. You can always stock up from food at the market, which might be expensive, but will always have food that can get you through the weekend or those crazy-long study sessions at four in the morning.