“It’s too expensive to eat healthy,” seems like the college student’s biggest reason against eating the things that are good for them. Honestly, I don’t blame them. On my campus, it costs $9 for a salad and $5 for a burger. So here’s where I apply concepts I learned in class: Opportunity cost is basically the cost of doing one thing over another. The extra $4 to buy is considered an opportunity cost in this situation. It is what it costs to avoid feeling bloated and tired or having an acne breakout.
Since you aren’t looking for an Econ lecture or to pay $9 for a salad right now, here is what I do to save money while eating healthy:
- Grocery shop once a week. After about a week or so, fruits and vegetables begin to rot. To prevent waste, buy just enough fruit to last one week. Take a salad for lunch. Make a small fruit bowl for a midday snack. If you have something left over at the end of the week, consider freezing it. Berries are great to add to yogurt or water frozen! Whatever you freeze do not buy the next week so you do not waster it again.
- Sometimes skip on buying organic. Don’t get me wrong, organic is great but as college students (or people on a budget), organic is expensive. If you aren’t eating the skin on the fruit or vegetable, it being organic doesn’t make a significant difference.
- Buy snacks off campus. I try not to eat on campus. (Depending on what your campus offers, this may not apply to you.) The University of Arizona came up with a brilliant way to make more money off of us: meal plans. In our union, they own most of the restaurants and the food is weighed. I literally paid $6 for a sandwich on lunch bread, once. Can you relate? If I have the time, I go to the CVS or subway that is about a quarter of a mile off of campus. I also buy my snacks at the grocery store and divide it for the week myself (bulk is better). Sometimes it’s even okay to stop at the gas station (I would’ve never said this before college).
- Use coupons. Before college, I never used coupons and dropped pennies on the ground. I still hate pennies. Coupons, however, are great! Become a member of the grocery store you shop at to save money. I shop at Fry’s (Kroger, Ralph’s, Food for less). Occasionally they mail coupons to be used at the store. They also has an app with digital coupons. Coupons have saved me so much money this semester, it’s unbelievable.
- Avoid buying salads. I don’t know why I hate this so much. Don’t buy a salad when you go out to eat (obviously, eat it if the price is included in the meal). Most of the time, it seems like, you get over-charged for rotting lettuce. Instead, try something new but still healthy.
What’s your favorite thing to eat? How do (did) you save money in college?