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10 Ways to Eat While Remaining Essentially Broke for Four Years

posted by admin on September 3rd, 2008

Here’s a warning. This article isn’t about eating healthy, it’s about eating so you don’t starve to death. There’s plenty of time to be healthy when you have an income. Right now, you’re forking over what appears to be several times the gross national product to your school for the privilege of going, or frequently not going, to Introduction to Greek Mythology. Also your professor insists on you buying two different translations of The Odyssey, which cost $27 (each) despite the fact that you won’t read either of them & will sell them both back to the bookstore at the end of the semester for $2.75 (total). At this point, you have $6 left to your name & most of that is going toward rent, so how exactly are you supposed to eat for the next four years? Try these life-saving tips!

1.) Ramen is your friend. You can generally get a 10 packs for about a dollar. If you’re in a dorm & can’t sneak in an illegal hot plate, buy a coffee maker for $10. If you don’t put coffee in it, what you get is hot water, which you can then use to make one of your major college food groups: ramen. If you didn’t shell out $30 for a Brita pitcher this will also help filter the dorm water for you.

2.) Get a Brita pitcher. Why wouldn’t you? One time $30 cost, plus $10 for replacement filters like every three months, versus $1.50 minimum every time you buy a bottle. This is also a cheaper option than soft drinks & a waaaay cheaper option than alcohol. If you want to drink something besides water, buy a box of tea bags for less than $3 & a cheap pitcher.

3.) Join clubs & student organizations at school & go to as many meetings as possible. Usually, they will bribe you to be there with pizza or at least snacks. You can pretend to be interested in science fiction if it means a free meal every week.

4.) Go generic. This is a popular, no-brainer way to cut down your grocery receipts. Don’t think generic frosted flakes taste the same as Kellogg’s brand? Try a taste test. Even if they don’t taste the same, you can probably taste the $3 you save from buying the store brand. That’s almost 3/4 a gallon of gas, by the way.

5.) Begin shamelessly using coupons at the grocery store like your life depends on it. $2 of toothpaste here, 75 cents off oatmeal there really adds up. To save even more money, steal the newspaper from a friend.

6.) Cheap breakfast: yogurt parfaits. You could pay $1.50 for one at McDonalds, which are, admittedly, delicious, but are also sugary, not to mention tiny. Instead, try buying some plain yogurt & frozen fruit. Frozen fruit lasts longer & are low-maintanance because stems, seeds, etc are removed & the fruit is sliced for you. Take it out of the freezer & put it into the refrigerator the night before & mix with the yogurt in the morning. Ta da! Delicious breakfast. And healthy! To make it even more like McDonalds, buy a box of cereal with granola & use that to top the parfait.

7.) Variations on PB&J? Spend an extra dollar for a bottle of nutella. Try peanut butter & nutella sandwiches or put nutella on frozen waffles instead of syrup. I’m told nutella’s also delicious with carrots or celery, not that I would know anything about that.

8.) Make the most of a bulk-buy stock-up trip. Going to Costco? They have pizza slices, polish sausages, churros & bottomless sodas for around $1 each. Not to mention Costco is a mecca for food samples. If you do it right, you can eat a meal at Costco for roughly $2, not mention stock up on 50-in-a-box cereal bars.

9.) IKEA: not just good for pieces of wood that are supposed to be a bed. Along the same lines, when you’re outfitting your apartment via a trip to IKEA, try their 50 cent hot dogs & $1 ice cream cone. If you go in the mornings sometimes, you can get a whole breakfast for 99 cents. The only way to beat that is free & sometimes they do that too. There’s a reason it’s the happiest place on earth.

10.) Eat out as a last resort. Forced to eat out due to the complete lack of any food at your place? Go to Restaurant.com for coupons or other deals at local restaurants. At the restaurant, order an appetizer instead of an actual entree. It’s often a large enough portion to get by. Throw in a salad or a side if you’re still hungry. And get to that grocery store & stock up on ramen already. It’s only your life at stake here.

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