Planning can save money

Nov 102003
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

While some students living off campus for the first time may be

more inclined to eat fast food, some say it is not a cost-effective

or healthy choice.

Jeff Fowler, a graduate student studying computer science, tries

to save money when it comes to food.

“I try not to eat out a whole lot,” Fowler said. “It seems

that’s where it racks up costs.”

When shopping for food at the supermarket, Fowler said there are

things he tries to avoid.

“I try to avoid junk food that costs more,” Fowler said. “(I try

to) go for the cheaper, healthier stuff.”

It’s Patrick Doyle’s first year living off campus, but he has

found an alternative to eating fast food or home cooking.

“I live off campus, but I have a meal plan,” said Doyle, a

sophomore studying construction management.

Doyle said he usually eats in the residence halls twice a


Sarah Byington, a sophomore zoology student, said she has

considered getting a meal plan as an option to help her eat more


“It’s been hard,” said Byington about eating healthy on a

budget. “I think it’s a really good idea to have a meal plan. I’ll

probably just start with 20 (meal passes) and see how much I use


For students with a meal plan, Dawn Clifford, a registered

dietitian at the Hartshorn Health Service, has a


“To-go boxes can get filled for two meals-worth of food,”

Clifford said.

She also recommends students shop at large stores that may have

cheaper prices and product in bulk.

“Shopping at super-center types of stores is often cheaper,”

Clifford said.

Other cost-saving options can include bringing a lunch to school

instead of eating fast food.

“Prepare a lunch the night before,” Clifford said. “Save money

by bringing lunch like you did in high school.”

Cutting coupons, looking for sale items, shopping with a

specific list of food items, buying generic brands and looking at

per ounce of food can help get the most food per dollar.

Planning meals can be a good way to save money.

“Meal planning is an important strategy for saving money,” said

Sarah Morales, coordinator with Food Stamp Nutrition Education

Program. “But I think it’s probably unrealistic to think that

college students will plan all their meals.”

Clifford also recommends planning meals for the week and cooking

extra for another meal.

“Cook enough for three or four meals and then freeze it,”

Clifford said.

Planning meals and using a grocery list when shopping will help

cut down on impulse buying, Morales said.

Looking for fresh foods while they are in season means the cost

will be lower and buying in bulk can help cut costs as well,

Morales said.

“Buy different fruits and veggies in season,” Morales said.

“Steer clear of convenience foods like Rice-a-Roni. Buy some bulk

rice instead. (Students) can learn to make their own mixes from


Morales coordinated a free program for students looking to

improve their diets while saving money.

Amy Schmidt is the contact for local program. Students can call

Eat Well for Less at 498-6000 and will be forwarded to a nutrition


“Our classes focus on nutrition, food budgeting and food

safety,” Schmidt said. “We target limited income (people).”




 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.