As I wrap up my final year of undergrad, I thought I would share   10 budgeting tips I picked up throughout college for one of the greatest expenses we all know too well: food. 

1. Learn How To Cook

I promise, it's really NOT that hard. The plethora of online resources are available at your finger tips, YouTube, Tasty and platforms like Aisle Mine (virtual cooking experiences at your finger tips!) are great ways you can begin. 

2. Make Your Own Coffee 

As easy and addicting as it is to buy those $5 cold brews, iced oat milk lattes or just stop by your local coffee chain, it can add up (especially as a college student who needs more than just 1 coffee to get through the day). You can save a good amount by making your own coffee every morning! 

I'd strongly recommend the Ninja Coffee Machines to kick start off your day BREW-tifully. 

3. Never Go Food Shopping When Hungry 

That being said, the old-fashioned grocery lists really help you keep track of what you really need from the grocery store.

Another part of my personal grocery lists include listing what meals/recipes I want to cook that week, so I'm held accountable of why I need this ingredient... that may be a little too extra, though! 

4. Take Advantage of Free Food 

What better way is there to lure a group of college students (or people, in general) to a particular event? You name it, free food. Be sure to be on the look out for events around campus, academic meetings, and really, any emails that really include "free food" in them.

Sometimes, there's a ton of free food like pizza or Dunkin Donuts left over, so you basically have your meals for the next few days. 

5. (Mentally) Compare Grocery Store Prices

No need to make a complex Excel spreadsheet entailing the price of milk across all the grocery stores in town, but it's important to keep in mind how grocery stores don't all have the same price ranges. 

Perhaps you want to buy your fish or meat from a more high-end grocery store like Whole Foods, but if you just need basic items such as milk, eggs, peanut butter, Trader Joes is always a good place to start - especially for college students! 

6. Meal Prep

I only got into the habit of doing this during my last year of college, but meal preps are a great way to stay organized and save time. When you come home and you're starving, being able to microwave or heat up your meal prepped food is honestly one of the best feelings! 

I like to switch up my meal prep every week, just because I know how tiring it gets eating the same thing over and over again. Tasty is a good way to start meal prepping, and Pat The Spatula also has some great inspirations. 

7. Get Your Produce From Farmers' Markets (While In Season)

I go to the Farmers Market every Saturday morning, because it truly is the best way to start my weekend! Besides the fact that you're supporting small and local businesses, you can get a TON of extremely fresh produce for a super cheap price (and everything is in season, too!). Be sure to carry cash and some reusable grocery bags while you're doing your weekly farmers market haul.

Boston Folks - my favorite farmers market has to be the one down by Haymarket. Step right off the Orange or Green line, and you're greeted by a ton of friendly vendors and their wonderfully fresh produce.

8. Limit Food Delivery

With all those unnecessary additional fees included in food delivery services, you end up spending way more than you actually need to.

Of course, getting food delivered once in a while is fine, but to reduce fees I'd recommend doing store pick-up instead.

9. Learn To Make What You Like To Eat 

I got this one from my mom, who told me how she began making her favorite dishes to understand what goes into them to make them so delicious. For example, how does cheesecake always taste SO good? Obviously, looking at the ingredients that go in there should help.

This tip also helped me because instead of going to the store to buy my favorite foods such as banana bread, dumplings, and pesto pasta, I was able to make them myself at my own convenience.

10. Find A Friend! 

You're not the only one in college who struggles or wants to improve their food budgeting skills. So, to begin this journey of food budgeting your way through college, find a friend to do it with you! 

Joining Spoon University is a great way to get started and find a community of supportive foodies to do this with you. Sign up here to join your campus' Spoon chapter. 

Jenny Tungsubutra