You’re broke and food ain’t cheap, so listen up first-years

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So you’ve moved into your new residence or your off-campus house and you’ve come to the realization that you no longer have your parents around to put food on your plate.

For those lucky enough to have a full meal plan, you ungrateful bastards better be appreciative of this. You or your parents had to spend a stupid amount of money on it. You live life like a king with a full meal plan. You don’t have to cook anything, and food is available to you almost 24/7.

Don’t worry, folks without a meal plan. The playing field will even out after first year and by then you will be an experienced cook who can make things outside of Kraft Dinner and Uncle Ben’s rice (shout out to Uncle Ben, homie makes good rice, and this is coming from an Asian kid). Plus, you’ll be eating healthier food and you won’t have a first-year Quest bill of $20,000.

Anyway, here are a few tips to help you save some money when it comes to buying food. To those with a meal plan, this will help you out too ‘cause that meal plan fountain will have to run dry eventually.

Do not ever drink pop. As you might already know, pop is terrible for you and it costs more than water, WHICH IS FREE. You should treat pop like a dessert; only have it once in a while. Always carry around a water bottle with you, you’re a tool if you don’t.

Do not buy tea from Tim Hortons or anywhere else. Carry around a travel mug and tea bags. Tea bags take up little space and weigh nothing. Unless you’re one of those people that only drinks loose-leaf tea, then a pack of Tetley tea should cost you around $4. The travel mug can double as a water bottle when rinsed and you can get hot water for free from International News as long as you use your own mug. For those who drink coffee, unfortunately you’re stuck making coffee before you leave your house, bringing instant coffee packets with you, or buying it from Tim Hortons. The latter I do not oppose at all because double-doubles are a national treasure.

Try not to go out for meals too often. It will always be cheaper to make your own food than to buy it from a fast food joint or restaurant. Go out around once a week and only do it when it’s a social gathering. You don’t want to buy yourself McDonalds for lunch, only to have your friends invite you out for dinner but you feel bad cause you already spent $10 on a 10-nugget meal (damn, I’m hungry now).

But when you do go out to a restaurant, don’t forget that you have to factor in tax and tips when paying your bill (Try to tip 10-15 per cent if it’s good service. You’re trying to be frugal, not cheap). If you feel like your entree will fill you up on its own, don’t get an appetizer. If you really want an appetizer, try to split it with someone. Very rarely should you ever get pop or a dessert.

If you do want fast food, then look for places that have specials on that day or look out for coupons. Google is your best friend in this case. Additionally, a lot of the large fast food chains, like McDonalds, have mobile apps that have coupons on them, so get to downloading.

Do your grocery shopping on Tuesdays. Zehrs going up, on a Tueeesssday. Every Tuesday, Zehrs and Sobeys have 10 per cent off for students. I would suggest you go to Zehrs, ‘cause Sobeys is a little more expensive. Try to avoid things like chips and ice cream, they are not cheap and do not fill you up.

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