College Life: Eating on a Budget

Eating on a budget is tough as it is, especially if you’re going it alone in college! Pizza can get expensive and is not edible after about 3 or 4 days, plus it does get boring after a while eating the same things. While staying in a dorm room or apartment and going to school with limited funds you need to figure out how best to spend your money on food that is going to not only taste good but also is good for you! Since it is really important that you take care of your health so that you never miss your college classes you should learn more about your food allergies. You can click on All About the Food Intolerance Indicator Test for more information on all this as well. 

One of the best investments I ever made was getting myself a small indoor grill, one of those lean mean fat-burning machines. Getting this small little grill has saved me a ton of money and kept my meals from clogging my arteries. Grilling is a great way to eat great, and keep healthy, although meat can get expensive, especially if you make veggies to go along with the meal, so I try and use this only about two or three times a week.

Frozen foods are a great way to survive college life on a budget, and make great lunch and dinner solutions. Hot Pockets are a lifesaver, and so are Stouffer’s dinners. Both have a wide variety of options, some of them actually healthy, and only take a few minutes to cook. I try to buy them on sale at my local supermarket when they have a “buy ten for 10$” deal going on, so I can eat for over a week, with some variety for just over 10$

Ramen noodles are another great time-saving meal, and cost only pennies to buy. You can normally get a pack of five servings of Ramen for about a dollar, you just can’t beat that in terms of stretching a dollar. Ramen may not be the best thing to eat all the time, but the carbohydrates that the noodles have will provide you with extra energy throughout the day, and flavored Raman mixed with some extra meat you have leftover, or veggies can be a real treat!

Breakfast is very important and you need to eat something in the morning no matter how small. I keep cheap nutrition bars on hand, as well as pop tarts. Both are not expensive and provide you with the basic nutrition you need in order to start your day. Yes, a larger breakfast of bacon, eggs, muffins, bagels, etc. It would be better but two things stand in the way of every college student in America. One, you don’t have time to fix all of that unless you get up at 4 in the morning, and two it is way too expensive! Pop-tarts are great and go on sale often, so they line my cabinets and I eat one each day on my way to class. Also, they provide me with a great snack in between classes instead of running to a nearby and convenient vending machine.

Now you have meals squared away, but what about beverages? Well, I would recommend water or natural juices above all else because they are just better for you. The water, of course, is free from the tab, although you do have a water bill every month, so this is going to be your cheapest solution. Natural juices, like Orange and Grape juice, are very healthy but can be very, and I mean very expensive. I consider having a gallon of OJ around to be a real treat, but I do keep some around just to keep fit. Sodas of any kind are a must for college life, but try not too keep too many around. For one thing, they are a bit expensive, or at least the name brands are, and another thing is that they are a nightmare in the health department.

Coffee is fairly cheap, and many of us need it to survive the day. Gourmet coffee is out of the question unless you just have the extra funds, but a simple Folgers Single box will fit into most budgets, and besides you have to have your coffee, it’s one of the things that is needed in order to live with college life.

Many older college students keep alcohol on hand, which is fine, but my budget would not allow me to keep very much if any on hand. Plus any alcoholic beverage is a distraction in my book, so I rarely keep any in stock.

Keeping a tight budget these days is hard, and with the rising cost of living it’s growing increasingly harder. For many college students, it’s just not practical to eat healthily and yet maintain the budget that you have been assigned, but with the above ideas, it may make your meals during college a bit less costly and a smidge tastier.