How to Survive Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner on a Budget

By Denise Gibson on August 21, 2017

Every college student knows how hard it is to eat without breaking the bank. When I first went to college, I had to make big meals with a small amount of money.

Now, I am about to finish up my senior year, living off-campus, and I have picked up a few tips and tricks on how you can survive breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a budget.

1. Buy in bulk. You do not have to go to Sam’s to get all your food in bulk. Instead look for family-sized meals or get the item you want the most in a higher quantity. This way, you save a lot of money and very few trips to the store.

2. Do not be so quick to turn down off-brands. Look, unless you are buying cereal, do not be so quick to turn down off-brands. A lot of times they have the same quality ingredients and they cost at least $1 to $2 less than the name-brand. Thus, leaving you with more money in your pocket for the next trip.

3. Size = quantity. If you are so desperate to purchase name brand food products, make sure you look out for the biggest size of the name brand. It will cost more, but it will save you a few trips. For example, if you want some waffles, go for the family size instead of the regular size. The family size has at least double the number of waffles in the box. Meaning you won’t have to buy more waffles for a few weeks.

4. TV dinners/Snack sized packages. If you don’t know what TV dinners are, they are dinners that are individually packaged for one person. If you have an on or off-campus job, TV dinners will serve as your lunch and dinner for the week. They are pre-portioned to satisfy your hunger long enough to last you until the next meal.

Snack-sized packages are great for on-the-go or if you need an afternoon pick-me-up. Lunchables are also a great and cheap way for you to get your lunch in on-the-go and are lower in calories. I mainly use TV dinners for when I am at work and snack-sized packages and Lunchables after workouts.

Ok, now that we have established the basics of buying breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we will talk more about which foods you should be looking for in the grocery store to save you money.

•Breakfast: It is the most important meal of the day. Plus nothing says good morning like a good hearty breakfast. So how can I have a great breakfast with such a small budget? I’m glad you asked. Here are the cheapest breakfast items you can buy: eggs, bacon, sausage, breakfast bowls, and breakfast sandwiches (2-4 pack, price depends on brand).

Lunch: While breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, lunch is everyone’s favorite meal of the day. Some of the cheapest lunch items are Lunchables (snack sized), Ramen noodles in any flavor, any soups, any snack sized mac and cheese, any canned pasta with sauce. Tip: To make Ramen Noodles more appealing try adding any of your favorite vegetables to a big pot and top it off with a fried egg. And if you are still hungry, try adding a sandwich to your mac and cheese, canned pasta, or soup.

Dinner: Ahhh, finally it is dinner time. What a perfect way to end the day. Here are some penny-pinching dinner ideas: any of the lunch items would be perfect for dinner; there is also no shame in having breakfast again; TV dinners would also work as well; and any of your childhood favorite foods.

Hello, My name is Denise and I love writing. I have loved writing ever since I was in 5th grade and just fell more in love with it as I got older. I started off writing songs and short stories, which then lead to poetry and novel writing. Now I am a playwright in progress and hopefully I can add more to the list as I learn more from this website.

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