Surviving on a college budget

The guide to eating more than ramen on minimum wage

By Carli Robison
On November 6, 2015

Home-cooked or fast food? That is the question. These four easy tips will not only help you save money and eat better, but also help planning your meals, setting a budget, couponing and putting generic items to great use.

Senior Riley Mashburn lived in the residence halls for two years while at ASU on a meal plan.

“To be honest, I got burned out on the food that they had at the UC and the cafeteria, so I did go out to eat a lot more than I should have,” Mashburn said.

What’s for Dinner?
When you plan a menu for the week, it works best if you have roommates. You will be able to have a better idea over what you will eat throughout the week by planning accordingly with everyone’s schedule. If you do not have roommates it’s still a good idea to plan a menu just for yourself. You can cook a meal for two and be able to have leftovers for the next day. That way you can save money and time.

“When I moved off-campus, I took advantage of planning meals for the week, or I at least tried to,” Mashburn said. “Sometimes it would only be for a couple days a week”

Plan Ahead!
Set a budget for the items you need to make the meals.

Sophomore Hannah Jordan said it is a good habit to be able to budget especially if you are paying for food on your own.

It’s always a good thing to set a budget because you want to make sure you get the most for your buck. When you plan your meal and set your budget, you will be able to get what you need for the money you have. It will be hard at first but it will be worth it in the end.

Snipping to Save.
Coupons are a great money-saver. In San Angelo you have access to a Sunday paper that has advertisements from Walmart, Albertson’s and HEB, on Wednesdays the Standard Times has weekly grocery advertisements. It is a good idea to go back to step one by planning your weekly meals by what the coupons are in the paper. You as the student will be able to save money plus be able to get food to cook.

Generic is great!
Generic food items? Are they okay to use as a substitute for the name-brand? The answer is yes. Generic items are not only cheaper than the other but they can be just as good.

“I get the generic items at Walmart when I go shopping,” Jordan said. “It’s a cheaper price for the exact same product.”

It’s hard to live on your own. These steps can help a college student have a home-cooked meal throughout the semester. So remember, plan meals for the week, set a grocery budget, get coupons and off-brand products are good.

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