One of your biggest expenses in college is going to be your food costs. If you’re not careful, this cost could easily balloon to many hundreds of dollars every month. Yet with just a bit of planning and a little bit of taste bud-sacrifice, you can cut this expense down to $150 a month or even less if you really try!
Here’s how to save money on food in college.
Buy Cheap Staple Foods
Your food strategy should start off with a strong base of cheap, filling foods.
Ramen noodles are one such food. Ramen noodles cost just a few pennies a pack and can fill you up quickly. Furthermore, you can make ramen noodles taste absolutely delicious by adding a few other ingredients. I know, it is not that healthy but you can reduce the sodium content a great deal by not adding the flavoring package in it. Chicken, egg and veggie noodle soup anyone? Just dump all your raw ingredients in and boil.
Other staples include bagels, various sandwiches and other cheap and filling foods.
Avoid Eating Out
Avoid eating out at all costs. There are a few reasons for this.
First of all, the food itself is expensive. You can easily prepare a meal at home for $1 to $3, but a meal out will easily cost you $6 to $20. Even a coffee at a Starbucks will cost you at least $1.95 without tax.
Then you have to factor in tips. Generally you’re looking at between 15% to 20% of the bill in tips, which really adds up. Often times the tip alone is more than you’d spend on a meal at home.
Then you have splitting the bill. Usually people will just split the bill evenly. Even if you ordered less food, you could end up paying more.
Saving Money on Groceries
The best way to save money on groceries is to collect coupons published in newspapers. Also, sign up to the various savings programs in supermarkets to receive newsletters about special deals.
You can save as much as 10% to 30% on your food costs by collecting these coupons and selectively spending.
Be Stingy with Tips
It doesn’t feel good to be a bad tipper. People often say you need to tip, because you’re helping someone pay for school or helping someone in need.
The reality is, if you’re a college student, chances are you’re someone who needs to pay for school or is in financial need as well.
Tipping is great – just don’t go overboard. Tip 10% and apologize for the low amount, rather than tip 20% and regret it.
Avoid High Calorie & Sugar Content Late Night Snacks
Store up some late healthy night snacks.
Instead of regular peanut butter and your chocolate ice-cream, whip up a batch of some lower-calorie apple almond butter to keep in your fridge for when the mood strikes. Come bedtime, spread on a few whole-wheat crackers and enjoy. Besides this, take initiative to google some other low calorie late-night snacks so that you can have some varieties of snacks to suit your cravings rather than spening too much money and getting overweight.
This will help you avoid the late night ventures to fast food joints.
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This is should be a no-brainer tip where most of us can shoot three birds with one stone. Especially if you are overweight or obese, you can easily cut down your expenses, improve your general health, as well as increase your physical attractiveness. It is easier to do this while you are young NOW! If you want to live life at the peak of your optimal health, between age 18 – 32, you should be cutting down all the unnecessary sugar, junk food and fast food joints’ burgers.
If you combine these tips and never eat out and only cook cheap staple foods at home, you can definitely eat for under $150 a month.
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