Spring at last! For many students, the return of warm weather often marks a heartbreaking separation from beloved loans and bursaries. The end of the semester and the arrival of summer may bring more work and friends and less income, but remember: it’s always less expensive to eat well than to eat junk food. In fact, there are many ways to stick to a tight budget while eating healthy foods that everyone can enjoy.
Plan your saving
- First, even though it’s fun to have surprises, plan your weekly menu, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
- Try to eat vegetarian at least once a week. Meat is often very expensive and you can easily replace those important proteins with legumes, nuts and tofu.
- Make a habit of writing out your list in advance based on your menu.
- Websites and virtual coupon applications like Zweet and Snap are veritable gold mines. You can download hundreds of coupons and redeem them in any grocery store in Québec or Canada.
- Don’t buy anything at convenience stores: prices are almost always wildly inflated. Plus, the quality and freshness of products are always doubtful. Stay away!
Save at the grocery store
- Broaden your horizons, even if means seeing less of that friendly bagger you like to chat with at the supermarket. In many neighbourhoods, ethnic food stores offer products that are nearly impossible to find at large grocery chains, and at great prices, too.
- The SOS-CUISINE website, in addition to comparing specials in circulars, tells you which stores offer the best prices for products on your list. It’s worth the trip!
- As much as possible, avoid processed food and items you don’t really need. Frozen pizza, soft drinks, and dairy products like grated mozzarella are really expensive and don’t offer much nutritional value.
- Above all, don’t shop on an empty stomach: the temptation to buy all sorts of things you don’t need will be overwhelming!
Save at home
- Always have staples on hand like pasta, rice, tomato sauce and butter. You’ll be much less tempted to order a pizza if your cupboards and fridge are full.
- When you cook, always make a little extra to freeze as leftovers. The next day, you and your roommates will be happy to have a delicious home-made lunch to savour. The days of going broke at Starbucks are over!
And don’t forget: healthy eating keeps the doctor away … Bon appétit!