The College Student’s Guide to Eating on a Budget

If you’re anything like me, balancing college life while taking care of yourself can be hard to juggle. I love eating out at the many places around town, but doing so always pecks away at my bank account. On the other extreme, eating 35 cent cup ramen just doesn’t cut it and leaves me unsatisfied. I’m not an expert chef by any means, but these two pillars have guided my college experience eating at home.

Buy the staples

There are thankfully tons of cheap options for people grocery shopping on a budget. For me, rice is the king of food staples due to its versatility. You can put it on the side as a filler, or fry it with other vegetables to make fried rice. In any case, adding it to your pantry isn’t a bad idea, and you can buy it in bulk at Asian marts. The same goes for eggs – whether you fry, scramble, boil, or use them in other recipes, they usually make a good addition to any meal. In fact, crack one open over your fried rice and you have a surprisingly decent meal for little effort.

Of course, there are multitudes of other options. Potatoes are also great for the sheer variety of ways in which they can be prepared. Although I don’t find myself using them often, beans are a great and inexpensive source of protein if you really can’t afford that meat (or are simply vegan). Pasta is fast and easy to make, and you can put spinach on the side along with other salad greens.

Explore recipes and have fun

Having an ingredients list full of staples is nice, but you also need the know-how to make them work. Planning your shopping list knowing what you’ll be making is recommended, but sometimes we have to work with what we have. In this case, AllRecipes is an app that lets you filter recipes based on what you have in your pantry. As long as you’re not eating the same thing every day, eating on a budget never has to be a bland experience. And of course, we regularly share our own recipes on the blog, so you can pick up inspiration there!

Of course, don’t forget to allow yourself a little breathing room and splurge on the things you want. Pick up a tub of ice cream because you can, or that cut of beef you really wanted. If you’re not going overboard and over budget, there’s no reason you should feel bad for buying luxuries. After all, college is all about finding yourself and being independent. This is your college experience, and not anyone else’s!

Eva Rogers

A Texan through and through, her passion for the Lone Star State is evident in every word she writes.Hailing from the vast plains of West Texas, Eva has a deep appreciation for the unique blend of tradition and innovation that defines the Texan spirit. Eva crafts articles that celebrate the diverse tapestry of Texas, from its bustling urban centers to its serene rural landscapes.