How to Save on Food Costs at University

After tuition and housing, food is your biggest expense at university. However, you are still in control of how much you spend. By making the right choices, you can save money and eat a balanced diet. Here are some tips to consider.

1. Cook Your Own Meals

You’ll spend much more if you eat out than if you prepare your own meals. If you don’t know how to cook already, the first step is to learn the basics. Once you’re able to prepare staples like rice, pasta, and potatoes, you can add vegetables and seasoning to create a variety of meals. Also bear in mind that substituting meat in recipes for more vegetables can make meals much cheaper — and often more nutritious.

2. Figure Out Your Meals in Advance

Decide what you’ll eat a week in advance to ensure you always have the ingredients you need at home and never feel the need to order food. Use this to make a shopping list — and stick to your list when you’re at the grocery store, rather than purchasing whatever catches your eye. It’s best to go shopping when you’re not hungry to avoid temptations that are not on your list.

3. Shop Smart

When choosing products in the grocery store, compare prices — remember, brand-name items are not necessarily better than generics. Look for deals on products you’d buy anyway as well as on healthy foods. You can also save money by shopping at the same store each week to collect loyalty points. Finally, find out if there are any discounts available for students.

4. Prepare Meals from Leftovers

You may often find you cook more than you need for one meal, especially when you’re just cooking for yourself. Save all your leftovers and combine them into a new meal to prevent wasting money on food you’d otherwise throw away.

5. Eat for Free

Sometimes you may be able to eat for completely free on campus. There are sure to be at least a couple clubs that match your interests — and there’s a good chance their meetings will involve free food like pizza and sandwiches. Other events on campus like student mixers and job fairs may also have free food.

Outside of campus, you can find free samples at the grocery store. Sometimes, there’s enough on offer for a light lunch.

6. Opt for Water

Many students are in the habit of drinking anything but water before they start university. However, you’ll find that buying large amounts of sports drinks, juice, and soda becomes expensive. As much as possible, drink water when you’re thirsty. If you need some flavour, add a couple of slices of citrus fruit to a pitcher of water or brew some tea and put it in your refrigerator.

It’s impossible to save on food costs if you’re stuck with a meal plan. The good news is this is only a requirement if you live in residence. You can find UWaterloo off-campus housing with no meal plan at Preston House and Bridgeport House. Your five-bedroom apartment will come with a spacious kitchen and there’s a communal kitchen on site. Best of all, rent is affordable and all inclusive — helping you to save even more money. Book a tour of your preferred property today.