You’re on a roll! This back-to-school thing isn’t so bad, is it? I’ve got to ask, though: does it taste bad? I mean, food options on college campuses can be pretty hit or miss, and when every day is pizza day in the cafeteria, sometimes you just need a change. I have a few suggestions for making sure you don’t get especially homesick when it’s time to eat.
Good news: college towns typically know what college students are into. They also know that ballin’ on a budget is your new norm. Check out the local newspaper or even your campus newspaper to find out who has good deals going on. My favorite sushi spot close to campus does a lunch special: two sushi rolls plus a salad for 9 bucks. I’ll eat half for lunch and save the other roll for later. You get that around dinner time at any other place, you’re paying double. There are always the $5 pizza options and the dollar menu choices, but if you search a little closer, you might find some good food for less. Local businesses know college students are typically tight on cash, so during slow times (lunch) or off days (I don’t know, Monday nights?) they might make it worth your while to check them out.
You know what else you might find in that newspaper? Coupons! I know only your great aunt Sue cuts coupons and she probably keeps them in her fanny-pack that’s covered in cat hair … but look at coupons as dollars. Don’t throw money away. Don’t put coupons in your fanny-pack either, but believe me, they’re worth your time!
Another option: split. Most restaurants serve ginormous portions. Yeah, you might be able to put it all away in one sitting, but eating half is probably going to be just as satisfying and keep the food baby away. Split meals with friends. Order take-out together. You can get the bill down really low this way.
Best advice – listen close: if you’re really looking to make the money stretch and even earn a few bucks at the same time, think about working at a local grocery store. Make sure to ask if they provide discounts to employees. If they do, you could be taking home a paycheck and groceries on the cheap.
You know what else works? Student organizations and campus groups have events going on all the time. You know what they have at events? Food. The best food is free food. I can’t tell you how many times posters pop up around campus advertising an event and bribing you to come with food. It’s OK. They know lots of people just come for the pizza. You won’t be alone.
Good luck and good eats!