Let’s face it: college is super expensive.

 If you’re graduating, you might already be thinking about how to get by during your first semester of college. Many students try to save money by eating ramen every day, but trust me: that’s no way to live!

So, this article is aimed at giving you actionable tips to eat healthy and nutritious meals without breaking the bank. 

Here are 10 money-saving tips that’ll keep your wallet and belly happy! 🥗💸

Tip #1 | Plan Your Meals 🗒️

Make a list and stick to it! Before you hit the grocery store, take a few minutes to plan your meals for the week. This will help you avoid impulse buying and ensure that you only purchase what you need. Otherwise, you might end up wasting money on food you don’t really want, or which isn’t worth the money.

Tip #2 | Shop Smart 🛒

Look for sales and discounts at your local grocery store, and make use of coupons whenever you can. Check out the store’s weekly promos online, and take advantage of BOGOs and other promos. Also, consider buying store-brand products, as they are usually more affordable than name-brand items, while still being of similar quality.

Tip #3 | Buy in Bulk 📦

When you buy prepackaged rice… you’re mostly just paying for the packaging. Instead, purchasing common staples like rice, pasta, and dry beans in bulk can save you a ton of money. Just be sure to store them properly in airtight containers to keep them fresh.

Tip #4. Choose Versatile Ingredients 🌶️ 

Opt for ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes. Proteins like chicken breast can be used in a thousand different ways. The same applies for staple veggies like bell peppers and onions. Picking these adaptable, commonplace ingredients will give you more “bang for your buck,” and also help prevent food waste.

Tip #5. Embrace Leftovers 🍱

Aim to prep and cook large portions, and save leftovers for later meals. Store them in airtight containers and label them with the date so you know how long they will stay fresh. This will allow you to save both time and money.

Tip #6. Learn to Cook 👩‍🍳

The more you can cook from scratch, the less you’ll spend on pre-packaged meals and takeout. Start with simple recipes and gradually build your culinary skills. YouTube and cooking blogs are great resources to learn from.

Tip #7. Make Friends With Your Freezer ❄️ 

When you find good deals on meats, veggies, or fruits, buy extra and freeze them for later use. However, remember that even frozen items won’t stay good forever; make sure to label and date everything to avoid freezer burn or spoilage.

Tip #8. Go Veggie 🥦

Incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet. Vegetarian and vegan dishes can be delicious, nutritious, and very budget-friendly. You don’t have to swear off animal products forever; making a simple resolution to eat vegetarian two or three times a week will have a big impact.

Tip #9. Portion Control 🍽️

The average American tends to consume far more calories than they actually need. You may need to retrain yourself on proper portion sizes to prevent overeating and wasting food. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save by simply eating the right amount!

Tip #10. Share With Friends 👭

Consider cooking with roommates or friends a few nights each week. Cook a bigger meal to share, and simply split the cost of ingredients. This is also a fun way to bond and learn new recipes together.