Is this your first year without a college meal plan? Fear not, here are a couple of ways to manage without spending all of your money eating fast food.
1. Cook Weekly Meals, Not Daily
Cooking all of your meals at once will make it easier for you to eat at home. If you run into a hectic week full of midterms, you can just pull out something you’ve already made! Every time you open the fridge you will see plenty of food options and not just empty space. My advice is to purchase some a lot of food containers!
2. Plan Your Meals!
As students, it’s imperative to be organized. Adding a white board to your fridge adds plenty of decoration and can function to plan your meals and track what to buy. This way you never run out of food, and can always plan ahead to budget your money wisely for other things like Spring Break.
3. Find Your Inner Iron Chef.
Don’t waste gas and money to buy fast food if you already have the ingredients at home. Recreate your those foods at home – or find new recipes online or in a cookbook. I guarantee you will be extremely satisfied with yourself.
4. Family Night!
Get together with friends, family, or both and have a pot luck. It’s a great way to spend much needed time with your friends and take a break from cooking a full blown meal. Always remember the more, the merrier.
5. Budget Your Money
This is probably the most important tip. Spending too much money on groceries or fast food can be a problem for many students. If you spend too much, food can spoil before you eat it, while too little will leave you starving. Most students, including myself, spend around $50-60 every two weeks for groceries. That means your only spending $100 on groceries per month! Compared to the $5,000 + of the dining hall meal plans that only provide 2 main courses, peas, and soda that is pretty good.
Hope these tips help! I have been off my university’s meal plan for 2 years now and haven’t had to resort back to Ramen Noodles yet. Good luck chefs!