Eat Cheap on a Budget – Food Tips for Students

Food. It’s pretty important, right? Especially for the overworked, stressed post-secondary student trying to eat cheap as they squeeze out a thousand more words for that essay due tomorrow.

Unfortunately for us, food is pricey. It’s the thing everybody needs, so of course it’s going to cost us to get it. When you’re a student though, you don’t really have much money to spare, so trying to eat cheap can be the difference between making a bill payment or not.

Luckily, there are a few tips one can use when planning out meals to minimize cost. At the same time, getting all that super-important nutrition is paramount, so make sure to keep an eye on calories, protein, and carbs.

Y’know. All the things you need to survive.

Buy Cheap

on sale greens invite buyers to eat cheap
Source: Pixabay

This may seem a little redundant, but then, do you really know how to do this?

First off, you’re gonna want to buy off-brand, on-sale food items as often as possible. Keep an eye on the coupon and sale schedules of your preferred store; do they swap out deals on Monday, or Friday?

In addition, are there any bulk items you can get that will last you a while? In my hometown, a 10 pound bag of rice goes for about $12, and if you’re only cooking for yourself it would probably last at least a month. Some on-sale beef or chicken, some spices, some beans, and some frozen vegetables make a lovely meal you can make again and again in minutes.

Of course, there are a few key items that you should never buy off-brand. Peanut butter, maple syrup, and dish soap (not a food, I know) are all examples.

Buy a Lot

a grocery cart piled high
Source: Flickr

When sales happen, don’t just buy food for a week. If it’s freezable, stock up!

When chocolate milk goes on sale, my mother always buys at least seven cartons of the stuff. We children love it, and would usually finish the first one that night as dinner.

Follow her example. When something tasty or useful goes on sale, like the aforementioned bag of rice, stock up!

Obviously you’d only need around two bags of rice, maybe three, but chicken? Ground beef? Frozen vegetables? Fill ya carts, people.