All my years of studentship have taught me many things, and one such thing is that food expenses are tough to manage. Much of our student life is about erratic schedules, prolonged study hours for exams, irregular hunger pangs, increased inclination towards junk food, and whatnot. It is not easy to manage food expenses but certainly not impossible. However, what is needed from you is the determination to regulate it. Regulation of anything, unfortunately, takes efforts and perseverance—and this is, especially, true for students who are usually very vulnerable to moody decisions.
Bringing to you all the wisdom I had gained during my studentship and from my friends, I will guide you in the matter of food expenses. There are a handful of things which, if implemented, can really help you cut down your expenses on food. Most of these suggestions are quite out there in the open but needed to be emphasized again. So, let us take a look at what you should do.
- Choose your meal plan right
Much of our money goes into paying for meal plans. Usually, meal plans are available for three slots: morning, afternoon, and evening. As I said, students often have erratic schedules so there is a likelihood that you might be skipping meals (which you should not) or eating less of what you should ordinarily take. Instead, choose the meal plan which you are certain to consume. For rest, you should consider cooking. It is a one-time investment in cooking appliances, but they will end up helping you save a ton on food. Monitor your eating habits and purchase meal plans accordingly.
- Keep a track of discounts and offers
Cooking at home is the best course, and if you are opting for it, then make sure you learn the art of shopping right. Grocery shopping will take a lot of space in your accounts. One way to reduce your expenses on grocery shopping is by keeping yourself informed about discounts and offers in supermarkets and shops. Sign up for receiving notifications on discounts and offers at the supermarket. Keep flyers at home. The idea is to gain as much as you can without shelling out more than you want.
- Split bills
It is highly advised that you should get a flatmate/roommate for yourself. This is, particularly, useful when you are studying abroad. I don’t think I have to tell you the math to prove that this would significantly cut down costs. Divide the bill as per your share; even if your share is more than your flatmate’s, you will still be spending less than what you ordinarily would have.
- Correct your eating habits
Basically, I am asking you to eat on time. Breakfast should happen in the morning, supper in the afternoon, and dinner in the evening. Yeah, I know you know but most of you do the opposite of what you have been told. Many students skip breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day, and this results in fatigue. Due to this, you eat more than you should during later meal times. Erratic eating habits will, also, impact your weight and can cause lethargy. Moreover, the more irregular you are, the hungrier you will be, and the more you will spend.
- Junk food must be regulated
Junk food or fast food is easy and usually cheap. Plus, the taste is quite delectable. However, the consequences of over-eating them are fatal, both health-wise and money-wise. We will stick to the latter for today. You might not notice that the cheaper costs of junk food eventually add up, and ultimately, the total you had spent would be quite high. Students tend to spend away a lot of money on café, restaurants, and street-side kiosks. I am not asking you to stop eating from them completely (I know that won’t happen even if I did) but regulate it.
- Keep a budget for food
Yes, the last tip I have may sound boring but it is most useful. You must try to keep a monthly or weekly budget for food. In your budget, you should consider expenses for groceries, junk food, and unforeseeable situations. With a budget in place, you might experience a self-directed restraint that can effectively stop you from making bad financial choices.