Student Saving Tips

University students not on a meal plan can face some big grocery bills if they don’t plan.  The first step is to write a menu or a least a list of the meals you plan to make for the week and then your grocery list.  Try to cook once and eat twice by making extras for another meal.  Don’t over purchase and use the first in first out principle.  The less you waste the more money you save. 

Stick to unprepared/unprocessed rice, grains, pasta and cereals (brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal). The flavoured rice and frozen meals might be convenient but cost more.  If you can’t get through a loaf of bread in 5 days store it in the freezer to prevent mold growth.  Tortillas can be kept fresh in the fridge or freezer.

You can also save money by eating more beans and lentils for protein.  Black beans, chickpeas, lentils are perfect replacements for more expensive cuts of meat and poultry.  Include nut butters, canned fish and eggs for other easy protein options. 

Check for in-store deals and coupons.  Often grocery stores near universities offer student discounts certain days of the week.  Try to plan meals based on weekly specials.  Check the store website before you go.

Buy family packs of meat and divide and freeze rather than single servings which may be more expensive per kg.  Buy in bulk and share with a friend or roommate.

Canned and frozen fruits, vegetables and fish are less expensive than fresh and last longer so they won’t go bad. They are also very convenient as they are already washed and cut.  Canned beans can be rinsed and are ready to heat or toss on a salad or in a soup.  Try to buy fresh fruit and vegetables in season.  Some less expensive vegetables include carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes and sweet potatoes, onions, kale, frozen peas and corn, field tomatoes, canned tomatoes, garlic, cucumber and peppers.  Some less expensive fruit include oranges, apples, pears, melon, bananas, kiwi, frozen berries, canned fruit and raisins.

Dairy: Milk, cheese, Greek yogurt and some milk alternatives are excellent ways to get the calcium you need and additional protein.  Be sure to check the date before you buy and get the freshest one.  Once open, try to consume milk and yogurt within 5 days.  You may want to buy smaller jugs of milk if you can’t get through it all in 5 days.

Here are some simple meal ideas to get your started in planning. 

Simple Meal Ideas:

  • Breakfasts
  • Oatmeal, banana, peanut butter
  • Smoothie with Frozen fruit, banana, milk and Greek yogurt
  • Egg omelet with cheddar, onion and peppers
  • Egg wrap with tomato, spinach and cheddar
  • Museli: Oats, yogurt, canned fruit, raisins, nuts


  • Apple slices and peanut butter
  • Cucumber, peppers and carrots with hummus
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cantaloupe and Greek yogurt


  • Bowl: Black bean, sweet potato, kale, peppers, tomato and avocado
  • Quinoa Greek salad with chickpeas
  • Quesadilla with chicken, cheese, spinach and tomato salsa


  • Rotini, diced baked chicken breast, tomato sauce, broccoli
  • Rice and bean bowl with tomato, avocado, peppers, spinach
  • Chicken fajitas with onion, peppers and cheese
  • Baked potato with broccoli and cheese
  • Chili and salad



Student Saving Tips Student Saving Tips Student Saving Tips Student Saving Tips