College Student struggling with managing her money?

I'm a sophomore in college and I'm having a hard time managing my money. My freshman year I had a meal plan in order to eat at the campus' caf. But the food's really bad and also this year, none of my friends eat there (They just go grocery shopping and make their own food) I didn't have to worry about food last year because it was already taken care of. But this Fall I took it upon myself not to get a meal plan with the money that my parents gave me and kept it to buy food myself. But I'm terrible at it. I just spend it on random things online, eat junk food from the vending machines, or buy meals like subway which in the long run is pricey. Plus when I go grocery shopping I have no have no idea what to buy and what I do buy never last me more than a week. Please help, What should I do? I want to do this right next semester.

Also, approximately how much money should I ask my parents for food from January-April?

3 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    If your friends seem to be managing okay, why don't you ask them how they do it? Maybe you and your friends can plan some group meals a few times a week, which is often cheaper than cooking for one person because food is often cheaper in larger quantities. You might have trouble getting through a 5 lb bag of potatoes before they spoil, but 6 people will make a pretty good dent in it.

    Most people have to go grocery shopping once a week, if only to stock up on fresh stuff like milk, bread, fruit, fresh meat and vegetables, some of which don't even last a week in the fridge. That is perfectly normal.

    The way to figure out what to buy is to figure out ahead of time, before you even set foot in the store, what you want to eat in the coming week or even the next few days. Make a chart, 7 days in the week, 3 meals in a day if that's what you want to prepare at home, and something for snacks.

    Most grocery stores have online flyers these days, and you can use those to figure out what prices usually are, and some people check the flyers before they plan their week's meals. If chicken is on sale, they plan to have chicken a couple of times that week.

    Make another list on the side of what you need to make each meal, and how much of it. If you want to have fried eggs and toast 3 days next week you need 6 eggs, 6 pieces of bread, some butter. Add all that up. After you check what you already have and won't need to buy on this trip, you make a list of what to buy and how much of it. Take the list to the store, and a pen so you can mark off things as you buy them.

    Some foods are what are called staple foods. They are things that you always want to have around because they can either be the basis of a meal or they can round out a meal. They are often, but not always, things that keep well. Rice and pasta, for example. Exactly what staple foods are to you depends what you like to eat, but they are the kind of thing that you can get a meal out of if you forget to shop or don't have time that day. I bake bread, so flour and yeast are things that are always in my cupboard. I like pasta, so I always have some of that around and I always have some canned tomatoes and garlic so if worst comes to worst I can make pasta and sauce. Most people keep eggs around. They are cheap and versatile. Same with potatoes. You may not buy them often but you also never want to run out of them. I always keep popcorn in the house. Gives me no excuse for running out and buying much more expensive potato chips. Don't rush out and buy all the staples at once. When you plan a meal that calls for rice, buy a bag of rice that week. You'll have some left to use for the next 3 weeks.

  • 8 years ago

    Well with food so high, it can be a struggle for sure but one way to manage it is to make a list. I don't know what you like but here are some ideas: Check when your grocery store is having a sale on meat, that is where a lot of food costs are, buy a family pack of Hamburger Meat and split it, wrap in foil,date and freeze, you can make spaghetti ( I can find noodles for 69 cents and Sauce for 98cents), a boxed hamburger meal, hamburgers etc then buy a whole chicken instead of precut (cheaper) you can bake a chicken ( with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little onion powder or a cajun seasoning of your choice) bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hr.......then use chicken for salad sandwiches, or even put in a chicken noodle soup, if you want to buy cut chicken, pick drumsticks and thighs and just bake in the oven or fry...(spit them into individual servings) if you like salad, get a head of lettuce instead of pre-shredded, I top mine with Budwig sandwich meat (50 cents each) cheese and dressing, ramen noodles are always cheap but add chicken to it or something to change it up, stock up on beans buy a couple of ham hocks (usually less than 2.00) throw pinto beans and hocks in a crock pot and cook all day on low, mac and cheese and you can find veggies on sale for 69 cents a can......if you want , visit under the "recipe" tab you will see "everyday cooking" click on that and go to Budget Cooking, great ideas for cheap and quick......for breakfast you can get eggs and boil them or make scrambled or maybe oatmeal.......Soups and Stews are cheap and easy and last awhile as well :)

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    problematic matter. seek on google or bing. that will can assist!

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