Eating on a college budget


For most college students, funds are limited. School meal plans are expensive and buying your own groceries can really put a dent in your wallet. Luckily, there are many things you can do when eating on a college budget. If you properly plan ahead, you can double the size of your grocery list without doubling the total cost! For those who have a meal plan but still want to buy snack foods and quick meals for your room, you can also use these tips for grocery shopping.


Sales papers are definitely your friend, BUT picking them up when walking into a grocery store is often too late. When you walk into any store you should know exactly what you are getting so you can avoid the unnecessary purchasing of extra items. Most stores have their sales paper online. Plan exactly what you want ahead of time and compare sales prices with other stores to get the most for your buck.


Find other food sources

As a college student, the one thing I love more than free t-shirts is free food and there are plenty of opportunities to get free meals. On campus there are various programs that provide free food throughout the school year. If you live on campus, programs in your residence halls ALWAYS provide food. Also, if you stop by Baptist Student Ministries at noon on Wednesdays you can enjoy free lunch in between classes. If you plan accordingly, you may never have to provide your own meals!

Another great resource for struggling students is the on campus food pantry which donates free food to any student who attends their events. The food pantry strives to help students in need. Be sure to make use of these resources. You can check their website for details on upcoming events.

If you are working and are a full-time student, you may be eligible for government assistance. There are certain requirements for students, but if you qualify you can definitely utilize these benefits. For more information, refer to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Do your research

If you are trying to stick to a specific diet or just want one particular expensive item, try researching it before buying. For example, if you want to buy shrimp with your limited budget, do a store comparison chart. Find what stores are having a seasonal sale or look for brand coupons online. You can also search the internet for cheaper brand alternatives. Depending on what you want to buy, there may be some food substitutions that are less expensive.

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to feeding your hungry stomach. Whether it is using campus resources or being diligent in pre-shopping planning, there are many ways you can still maintain a nutritious diet on a college friendly budget.

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