Sunday, March 14, 2010

the cost of cooking

College is expensive. I can empathize with money problems more than most. I have three jobs just to keep up with my expenses. Groceries can be a huge expense, but we all have to eat.

In a survey of 40 Ohio University students I took (yes, I used Facebook), I found that the average amount spent on groceries is about 25 dollars a week. That's 100 dollars a month, and 900 for the school year. Just thinking about that makes my head spin. It adds up quickly. But there are several things that can be done to help save money.

This one may be obvious, but the easiest way to save money on food is to not eat out as much. Paying 10 dollars for a meal is ridiculous. Not to mention the two dollars you're paying for a soda. It's unbelievable. Cooking your own food will save you a ton of money. After spending the quarter with me learning to cook a few a few meals, Alli J is hooked. "It's not too hard to cook a few times a week and eat the leftovers," she said. "It's saved me some money and I still get to eat good food."

Make a list
The most important thing about making that list is to actually stick to it. Don't venture away from your list. A lot of times I go to the store for a few things and end up getting a lot more than I had anticipated. This kills the budget. Also, never EVER shop when you're hungry. It always turns out disastrous. Everything in the store looks good when you're hungry.

Look for a sale
There are always sales going on. Kroger does a lot of great 10 for $10 sales. But look around elsewhere, too. There are plenty of stores around Athens to check out, so take a look around and figure out which stores have the best sales. Senior Brett Strickland shops at ALDI. "They always have cheap stuff," Strickland said. "It's really nice to save a little bit of money."

Go generic
Sometimes generic brands suck. But usually, they offer the same value product for a couple dollars cheaper. Saving a couple dollars on several items on your shopping list will really add up.

Look at the top and bottom of the shelf
This is one of the many tricky little things stores to do. The "nicer," more expensive product will be found at waist to eye level on the shelf. The less expensive items will be located at the top and bottom of the shelf. Tricky, I know.

Cut Coupons

Coupons are easy to find, so why wouldn't you use them? Pick up a copy of the Athens Messenger on Sunday and get coupons for local stores. Junior Brittany Brunty cuts coupons every week to keep her costs down. "You'd be surprised at how much cutting coupons really helps," she said. "I usually save 10 to 15 dollars each time I go to the store."

WLWT did a story about grocery shopping on a budget. They targeted women for this story but I believe it applies to anyone looking to save some money on food.

Eating on a college student's budget can be hard. It takes a little more work but it is definitely manageable with these tips in mind.

Have fun and good luck.

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