College Students: Avoid the Ramen Noodle Diet

by Kelly McLendon

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With food prices expected to increase this year according to the USDA's predictions, the reality of eating Ramen Noodles for every meal and scouring the grocery store's reduced foods aisle may be too close of a reality for comfort. This is especially true if you're a college student who lives on a meager income but still wants to maintain a little bit of the "high-life." A few tricks for staying economical, while still being able to eat delicious meals, are much simpler than you might think.

  1. Buy cheaper coffee. Sure, you might be so exhausted that it seems like an extra large latte will get the day going properly. But, you'll also be wasting a few dollars you could put towards something more substantial. Instead of getting a Venti cappuccino, order a tall one. That way, you can still get your "designer" coffee fix, but for less. Or, start brewing your own. Buy a cheap coffeemaker from the local Target and start making your own and save more than $800 a year, according to Women's Health Magazine.
  2. Skip the meal plans. Skip the cafeteria. Take a few hours to actually venture off campus and buy some food you can cook. Even food from the grocery that can be easily prepared could save you more money than loading up on double plates in the university dining hall, using a pricey meal plan. Your skinny jeans, as well as your bank statement, will be appreciative.
  3. Get free food. Many restaurants give coupons, or even free drinks and sandwiches, if you fill-out surveys over the phone or on-line through their websites. It may take a little bit of searching, but getting a free lunch for your time is well worth it.
  4. Send away for samples. Many snack companies offer free samples of their products. For example, every so often Kashi® sends free cookies and granola bars to customers who fill out a form on their website. Simply Google® "free food" and the food choices are endless.
  5. Stop buying from the vending machines. Plan ahead and bring your own snacks. Instead of spending $1 each time you want a bag of chips, go to the grocery and buy a giant bag and save more money overall by divvying up the chips into individual portions to take on-the-go.

Take the Next Step:

  • Get cash back on the groceries you buy. Checkout 51 can show you how!
  • Continue to trim food costs by visiting our food & groceries section to get tips and tools for keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.
  • Better than coupons. Shop smart with great cash back offers on your favorite brands at your favorite grocers. Join Ibotta today.

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