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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Avoiding eating on campus.

Eating will be an important part of your budget in college and university.  Of course, wanting to do it on a strict budget may be difficult with all the opportunities to pay for prepared food around you: coffee shops, fast-food restaurants, junk food coin machines, cafeteria, friends wanting to go out at night, etc.  How can you resist temptation? here are a few tricks:

-       Figure out what makes you ‘crack’ for convenient foods: granola bars? Gourmet coffees? Soft drink at lunch? Buy the same from the grocery store and have available at home.

-       Make yourself a great lunch you love and take with you when heading towards campus – do not buy any food on site until your lunch is eaten; if you are not hungry, you will be more levelled-headed and be able to say ‘no’ to convenient food.  If you are a snacker, bring a variety of snacks.

-       Always have emergency food in your bag – in case you are held up before you can make it back home.

-       Go to school with cash only – you are less likely to buy something if you do not have a debit card but have to pay with cash.

-       Make yourself a large cup of coffee, hot chocolate or tea in a thermal mug before you leave home to go to class – bring extra tea bags, hot chocolate mix or instant coffee with you so you can ‘refill’ later – most cafeteria give boiling water for free.

-       Most residence meal plans are now flex-plans – you have a ‘debit’ card loaded with the amount from your plan and the card is debited every time you use it.  Buy the smallest possible plan and buy food from the grocery store to supplement – it WILL be cheaper.

-       In the same idea, reserve your meal plan for lunch and dinner – not breakfast.  Breakfast food is the cheapest so you don’t want to pay someone to prepare it for you.  Buy cold cereal and milk (in your bar fridge in your room) and fresh food – you can eat while putting on your clothes or packing your back-pack.

Overall, eating prepared food on campus is the equivalent of eating out for EVERY MEAL – it’s a lot more expensive than making your own food, and often less healthy.  Therefore, make sure you have healthy food around so you don’t have the urge to eat out too much during the day.  An apple a day keeps the doctor (and your debt!) away!

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