Saving Money Throughout College PART 2: FOOD

Hey guys, happy Monday! This is the second post in my “How To Save Money Throughout College” series. If you haven’t seen my first post, which focused on how to save money on textbooks you should totally check it out! – It’s super awesome I promise.

 

Taking a bit of a different route on the whole saving money on textbooks thing, today I’m gonna focus on food.

Although most colleges require you to purchase a meal plan, I do have some tips on how to save money on other types of food- like that Dominos pizza you decided to order at 12 am on a Tuesday night. (Dominos, really?)

 

Eating At The Dining Halls:

Okay, so I’m pretty sure we’re all-aware that dining hall food is actually horrible. And if you have yet to try dining hall food… Well, good luck.

Like I said before, most colleges require students to purchase some form of a dining hall meal plan when they are living on campus. Although the food is horrible, dining hall meal plans aren’t cheap, and unless you want to waste money, you need to make the best of the food that you’re paying for- whether you like it or not.

Something that I’ve found super useful in dining halls is the one and only, tupperware. Although most dining halls don’t allow the use of tupperware for whatever reason… I mean for Gods sake I only pay 20,000 dollars a year to go to school here; you’d think that I could at least be allowed to bring some food back to my dorm.

Anyways- I have learned that the best foods to take from dining halls are cereal and fruits. Cereal is an awesome thing to have in your dorm- whether it be for a midnight snack or for the obvious breakfast- rather than going to the store and spending money on granola bars or quick snacks like that, fruits and cereals are awesome alternatives that come with the meal plan.

 

Ordering Food:

There’s always going to come a time when you become completely fed up with the dining hall food. Solution?- order food instead.

If you’re college is anything like mine, it’s located right by the local town. Thus, allowing you to have a lot of different options when it comes to splurging on take out foods.

I’ve found that spending money to cook yourself a real meal rather than ordering take out is much more worthwhile.

A couple of times this past year me and my best friends each pitched in a couple bucks and made a meal that we were really craving.

This was super awesome because my friends and I would spend only about three dollars each and create something that tasted ten times better than Dominos pizza.

 

Snacks:

Dining hall plan or not; having snacks in your dorm is a must. Midnight snack cravings are inevitable in college, especially when you’re pulling an all-nighter to study for an important exam the next day.

Most college campuses have marketplaces located on campus. But then again, most college campuses have some form of free transportation to get you to the major stores located in town, such as grocery shops.

Just like everything else on college campuses, college marketplaces are completely overpriced. Although running to the marketplace, which is only a few minutes away from your dorm, is super convenient and quick, going to a regular grocery shop will save you a ton of money.

My friends and I usually all decide on a day that works for each of us and go to Walmart together when we ran out of snacks.

Another great thing about going to your local grocery shop rather than the college’s marketplace is that the marketplace doesn’t sell store brand items. No college wants “Great Value” mac and cheese on their shelves, they have to have the expensive Kraft… obviously.

Store brand items are just as good as the expensive other branded foods (for the most part… ha) and purchasing store brand items is just one more way to save you some cash when you’re a broke college student.

 

 

 

Hope this post was helpful to you! Be sure to look out for the next post in this series:

Saving Money Throughout College PART 3: Odds & Ends

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  • Oh yes!! I don’t live on campus but I understand completely. Thankfully my dining hall has fantastic food along with an awesome salad bar. I always choose to go there. I do agree with the pointers, I know a lot of people who have meal plans stock up on the fruits and snack in the dining hall so then they don’t have to purchase the food from the store.

  • Oh I love this! I actually just graduated from college and MAN. Food can really take a huge cut of your budget if you’re not careful huh?! Great tips!

    http://www.emmyjake.com

  • Great tips!! Yeah that late night snacking will get ya both financially and on the hips! Haha. My college had pretty good dining hall food so I mostly did that when I lived on campus. Snacks are a great idea though!!

  • Ellen Smith

    I am definitely going to read these and use them as a reference point for when I go back to College.
    We don’t have dining halls though. Normally I take a lunch and I cook in bulk so I cook one large meal for the week. 🙂

    Ellen,
    http://fishnetsxd.blogspot.ie

    • So glad you’ll be referencing back for my tips! Cooking in bulk seems like such a good way to save money and a time saver throughout the week. Definitely gonna do that when I move off campus! love your blog by the way 🙂

  • I’ve mastered the art of hoarding cereal and fruits from the dining hall ^_^ I’m a stingy person so I don’t go out to eat often, but during second semester I decided.. You know what? I’m going to treat myself to good food at least once a month. It’s a great way to keep myself sane. While shopping for snacks, I also decided to get a few breakfast items because breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, but because my dorm is so far from campus, I usually miss it. -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    • lol I would call myself stingy too… unfortunately! and yes I totally agree with you on that one, breakfast is the best meal of the day!

  • Joscelyn | Wifemamafoodie

    I say if you’re paying for the meal plan you should be able to take some home with you! Having friends you can split the cost of groceries with to make a delicious meal is an awesome idea. Cooking yourself, rather than eating out, is usually cheaper and most times you’ll even have some leftover!