Starving student? Budget food ideas

So you have managed to do it yet again. You are two weeks away from receiving your part-time job pay cheque (or your money transfer from dad), and you are almost completely broke. What are you going to do about food for the next few days?

What went wrong? Was it all the boozing and partying? Or maybe it was because you bought that new game you just had to have. Well whatever the reason, you are totally screwed. Or are you?

Most students live a life of meagre means, due to the high cost of studies (including books), student accommodation and living the general “party every night” existence. But this does not mean you have to starve or sing on the streets hoping people throw food at you. There are many low budget options out there guaranteed to fill you. Just don’t expect any champagne and fine dining.

Some of your options include:

1. Instant noodles – This option is very versatile (and wallet friendly). You can rev it up with canned peas, beans, corn or bits of sausage. You can even turn it into a soup. The options are endless. I love the cheese flavoured variety (on which I eat extra grated cheese), but the beef and chicken flavours are probably the most versatile ones (since they can be made into soups and other dishes).

2. Vienna sausages – One of South Africa’s much loved instant meals. Very versatile as well since you can make hot dogs, viennas and chips, enhanced instant noodles or scrambled eggs using them.

3. Bread – A MUST have. Can be used to make toast, sandwiches, pizza bread (bread with melted cheese and bits of sausage on top) and jaffle’s (filled toast). When you are on an extremely tight budget all you need each week is bread, margarine and jam (jelly), and you’ll survive.

4. Instant soup packets – Another winner since it’s cheap and you can eat it on the go or whilst learning. They (the soup packets) can also be used to make a gravy for potatoes or meat (not that you will be able to afford meat mind you).

5. Eggs – Love them or hate them, eggs are a nutritious winner. Not only are they filled with protein, they are also very versatile. You can fry them, bake them, boil them, poach them or scramble them. They can be eaten with bread (or toast), tomato’s, beans et cetera.

6. Potatoes – Cheaper if bought in larger bags. Can be used to make chips (fries), mash, soups, stews, hash browns or baked potatoes.

7. Corn on the cob – Relatively cheap and easy to make. Just boil them until the kernels are soft and you are ready to eat.

The top list should get you by until your next pay day. However if you only have a few cents or rands/dollars left to your name, try hosting a board games or puzzle building evening at your house/flat for your friends (or any activity that won’t cost you money to host). Make each person bring a food stuff such as chips, peanuts, pizza or sandwiches (any food that can be stored afterwards will do). You can then freeze the left over pizza, vacuum seal (or seal in a bag) the chips and peanuts, and toast the sandwiches. This should ensure a supply of food for the next few days.

My tip for you for next month however, would be to first put aside some food money before splurging on booze and other non-necessities (even though many students will argue that booze are the main priority and a general necessity).

Keep well and happy budgeting (yeah right)!


Academics Can Kill Your Sanity 2016

Edit: Just thought I would share a little tip with you. As a student even when you have money, you don’t really have money (well enough of it anyway). I am sure you all know what I am talking about. So why pay full price for take-out or cafe food if you don’t need to? What many students don’t realise is that there are often Groupons for foodstuffs available on the Groupon website. Just look under the “Food and Drink” category and/or the recently added “Delivery and Takeout” category (added on only). This way, even your little “treats” can become budget food items (providing there are coupons actually available in your area that is).

5 thoughts on “Starving student? Budget food ideas

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