Food can be one of the principle expenses for college students. Between grocery shopping and constantly wanting to go out to eat, it's a huge drain on income, especially for those who can't cook. Here are ways to save money on food that don't involve snacking for dinner. 

1. Only buy staples in bulk

Eleanor Shaw

When grocery shopping, people assume buying in bulk is the way to save money, but as college students who are often only buying for ourselves, this is actually an easy way to assure your produce will go bad before you finish it. Who can finish two pounds of Costco spinach before it spoils? 

2. Make tip money the "food fund"

date, coffee
Becky Hughes

If you have a job that provides cash tips, accumulating and saving these for solely food purchases can be a great way to budget and make sure your actual paycheck is going to other expenses. 

3. Store hop for the best prices and quality

shop local, farmer's market, local carrots, local farm, Farm Fresh, local vegetables, carrot, vegetable
Sam Jesner

Find the grocery stores that sell the cheapest version of the product you need. Some stores sell cheaper produce, while others sell cheaper meat. Make sure to be a savvy grocery shopper and still check for quality to ensure you get the best prices. 

4. Take leftovers home from restaurants

sauce, meat, pork, vegetable, chicken, rice
Florence Ma

Instead of forcing yourself to finish that sandwich on the spot, ask for a box and take leftovers home for another meal later in the day or week. Think leftovers are boring? There are actually a lot ways to repurpose them. 

5. Cook with friends

decor, China, Shanghai, coffee, cafe, people, Friends, Interior, interiors
Denise Uy

Sharing the food expenses that go into one meal can be a win-win for multiple people. Have someone buy the pasta and someone else buy the chicken! It helps even more if you have friends willing to show you how to cook the meal. 

6. Set a number of days you can eat out

lunch, Meal, overhead, sandwich, fries, avocado toast, brunch, avocado, pasta, meat, sauce, tomato, salad, vegetable
Denise Uy

If you try to eat out only three meals a week, try to stick to that figure as best you can. This can assure you know almost exactly how much you're spending on food a week. 

7. Find your go-to homemade meal

macaroni, pasta, spaghetti
Alex Frank

If there is only one thing you know how to cook, roll with it and make sure it's something you won't get tired of. You'll always know that if you have enough ingredients you have at least a few of your meals that week. 

8. Minimize snack foods

cereal, tortilla chips, chips, salt, sweet, cornflakes, corn
Aakanksha Joshi

It can be tempting to stock up on snack foods like chips or crackers, but these do not make a meal, and can cause a surge in your total grocery costs. 

9. Prioritize quality, simple ingredients

organic fruit, shop local, farmer's market, local farm, local fruit, strawberry, sweet, berry
Sam Jesner

It might not be worth it to break the bank to make one recipe you saw online and then eat stale crackers for the rest of the week. Instead, spread out the ingredients you buy and make sure each meal is enough to carry you through. 

Budgeting for food can be difficult, especially when restaurants are so readily available and the best foods are often the most expensive. Saving money can be made easier if you make effort to be aware of how much you spend on food every week, and don't forget to treat yourself occasionally.