One of the biggest challenges as a poor college student living on your own for the first time, especially when you’re living on a tight budget, is finding affordable food to eat at your local grocery store.
While eating fast food is a convenience, it’s also an expensive way to fill your stomach, not to mention full of fat and unhealthy ingredients.
If you take a little time to plan your meals in advance, you can not only save money, but you’ll enjoy your own version of the home cooked meal – college style!
Here are some tips for saving money and eating well:
- Stock your pantry with plastic bags, tin foil and invest in a set of plastic containers with lids. This will make it possible to buy certain food in bulk and keep them fresh. It will give you a place to keep leftovers when you cook up more than you can eat.
- Buy in bulk and divide into meal-sized portions. If you buy fresh meats in large quantities (like a five pound tube of hamburger), you’ll save money. Use your tin foil and divide the meat into equal ½ pound portions. Put one or two portions in the refrigerator and the rest in the freezer. Most meats will keep in the freezer for up to 30 days. Use a permanent marker to mark the foil with the date the meat was purchased. Be sure to use what you’ve bought before you buy more.
- Learn to love pasta. Pasta has all the benefits of a super food. It’s easy to cook (just boil in water), inexpensive and filling. It also comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Pasta can be cooked in individual portion sizes, and if you buy spaghetti sauce in a jar with a screw on lid, you can use what you need and save the rest for another meal. Pasta also mixes well with vegetables, chicken and tuna (and just about anything in your fridge).
These are just a few tips that will help you save money the next time you go grocery shopping. You can find more tips on grocery shopping, in part 2 of our “Getting by for Less at the Grocery Store series.”
Do you have suggestions on how to save money on food? Let us know about them in the comment section below.