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9 Cheap Food Options For College Students Who Don’t Have A Meal Plan

9 Cheap Food Options For College Students Who Don’t Have A Meal Plan

Cheap food options are hard to come by when your crippling debt is sucker punching you in your nether regions. These items can replace a whole host of other foods. While they won’t help you avoid scurvy, you’re on a budget, darn it! Who needs a savings account when I’ve got your back with cheap food options like these!

1.  Baguettes (AKA Freedom Bread)

These things can be found for as low as $1. I learned about how cheap these were in college when a friend was eating one by using it as a spoon for his Nutella. He said he’d gotten them at our campus’s Walmart. Like a night-blooming flower, these are good for around one day. If you keep it longer, you’re asking for mold. France practically runs on these, and so can you.


2. Dried Beans

While not ready to serve, they do have the appeal of being cheaper than the moist option. Of the cheap food options, beans come in a lot of varieties and have a nearly endless supply of recipes. These are a great vegan option for those who find abattoirs abhorrent. You have to soak them overnight. Throw them in a crockpot and come back to a nice meal. 

3. Discount Meats

Cheap food options are hard to come by with meats. You need to be on the prowl for deals (expiration dates) that pop up. Who doesn’t love playing roulette with 10 meters of digestive tract? You’re on a budget: freeze that stuff ASAP to get some extra mileage out of it. About-to-expire meats become semi-affordable delicacies. The hunt for discount meats is like a neverending game of Monopoly.


4. Rice 

It is a staple of my diet. Brown rice is better for you. White rice goes with more spices and foods. Get a rice cooker. It makes it so much easier. Add Sriracha and soy sauce for flavor. Or, get some curry and call it a day.

5. Eggs

Eggs are the most versatile of the cheap food options. There’re multiple ways to make an egg: omelets, poached, boiled, pickled, scrambled, over easy, over medium (dippy eggs), etc. Add it to a number of other dishes to beef up the feeling-full factor. You can have a breakfast of champions while those runners-up saps spend money on delicious fast food (that you secretly wish you could have but justify your decision as a health reason).


6. Marmite

The best of the British cheap food options: there’s enough in one jar to last for months. I got mine off of Amazon. The per ounce cost—coupled with how potent this solidified soy sauce is—could spread across a piece of toast the size of a minivan. Stave off that lethargy with all of its B-vitamins. It’s a very, very acquired taste. I mean very. I added it to water to make—what tastes like—dog food (I’m not kidding, it took me 15 minutes to figure out that it tastes like the smell of dog food when diluted). So, start acquiring some different taste buds. Just spread it on some toast with butter.

7. Peanut Butter

A great substitute for someone who can afford one of those fancy pants dinners. Add this brown-magic to bread and you’ve found a great (temporary) meal replacement. If you’re allergic to peanut butter, there are tolerable substitutes like sunflower butter.

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8. Dried Milk

Technically not under cheap food options—but also not a liquid—add water.  Then add that amalgam of glory to your bowl of cheap cereal that comes in a giant bag. No need to get those dreaded gallons of milk, just to waste the last bit. Mix this as you go.


9. Potatoes

There’s no reason not to have a bag of these at all times. This is the only food you can truly take out your day on with a kitchen knife and not have the police involved. Throw it in the microwave and voila. Side note: your microwave may have a potato button. Add some butter and salt for a better experience.

This list of cheap food options isn’t comprehensive, but you get the idea. If you live in a food desert, bless your soul and do the best you can. 


Did I leave anything out? Probably! Help us add to our list of cheap food options in the comments below!

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