8 Tips for Saving on Food Costs at University
Saving money doesn’t mean you need to eat cheap, low-quality food. There are plenty of ways to eat a healthy diet and still have plenty left over in your budget for other things.
1. Cook More Often
Buying takeout is much more expensive than cooking your own meals. If you don’t know how to cook or you only have a limited repertoire, now’s the time to expand your skills. If you struggle to follow recipes, watch videos to see exactly how to prepare meals. Just make sure you start simple and search for ideas that use inexpensive foods. For instance, dishes consisting of pasta or rice with vegetables tend to be affordable and easy to prepare.
2. Make a Shopping List
Always head to the grocery store with an idea of what you want to buy. If you grab whatever catches your attention, you’ll spend much more. Plus, you may end up buying food that you’re unable to use in a meal — and throwing out food is the biggest waste of money of all. You should only deviate from your shopping list when you find great deals on things you know how to use.
It can help to go grocery shopping alone, as your friends may (often inadvertently) encourage you to pick up things you don’t need. Plus, you should make the trip soon after you’ve eaten, as everything looks tempting to an empty stomach.
3. Create a Meal Calendar
To make sure you have everything you need but nothing more, plan out your meals for the week. Of course, it’s always difficult to use up everything, which makes leftovers inevitable. Prepare for this by coming up with ideas about how to combine the bits and pieces you’ll have left into a tasty meal.
4. Freeze Food
It can be less expensive to buy in bulk, but this may mean you end up with more than you can eat or you’ll need to repeat the same few meals throughout the week. A solution is to freeze some of your food. You can either freeze ingredients or make several portions of a meal and freeze what you don’t need. This will help you save time as well as money.
5. Avoid Brand Names
Many generic products are just as high quality as the products from big brands, but they cost considerably less. Be willing to try before you dismiss any generics — you may be pleasantly surprised. Plus, remember to check unit prices rather than product prices to make accurate comparisons between products.
6. Take Advantage of Discounts
Find out if your local grocery store has a reward program for members. You may be able to save even more by registering as a student, by picking up coupons regularly, or by finding additional deals on the app for the store.
7. Drink More Water
Water is not only better for you than virtually any other beverage, it’s also free. You’ll save a huge amount if you switch from soda, juice, or sports drinks to water. If you’re craving some flavour, a cheap way to jazz up your water is to add a couple slices of lemon or orange or to brew some tea and drink it cold.
8. Eat for Free
Reduce how often you need to make your own meals by finding ways to eat for free. Events on campus tend to have at least snacks, whereas clubs frequently give their members pizza and sandwiches. These double up as great opportunities to socialize and meet new people.
It’s much easier to save on food costs if you’re able to cook in your student housing. Oshawa students who live at 17Hundred receive a room in a fully-furnished apartment, complete with a kitchen and dining area where you can prepare and eat meals. You’ll also be able to pick up the food you want at the onsite 24/7 self-checkout grocery market. Apply now for the unit that best matches your needs.