April 2, 2012

THE STINGY GOURMET’s Top Money-Saving Tips

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We’re all trying to save money — who doesn’t love a good bargain? — but our food expenditures are constantly weighing us down. Nevertheless, we definitely need to keep a full belly, so smaller and fewer meals aren’t the solution. Here are some more suggestions for keeping your wallet and your stomach happy.

1. Always carry a water bottle. I know bottled water is the commodity, but reusable water bottles have gained their popularity with the “eco” trend.  Imagine never having to pay for your water again? Well, you really don’t have to. It’s 100 percent free and clean and all you need is a container to put it in. Plus, you get to use those fancy bottle filler-uppers at the libraries while feeling good about how many bottles you’re saving.

2. Save your leftovers. It could be from anywhere, but if you’re in a sorority (or fraternity), save the leftovers from dinner and bring it in Tupperware to class. If you have a chef at your house and are eating on your house meal plan, you might as well reap all the benefits. And don’t forget the snack cupboard!

3. If you’re on a meal plan, actually use it. I understand that few people want to eat at the same dining halls every day of every week of every semester. However, try to use your meal plan to its fullest extent and change up your options: take the ingredients of the dining hall and make your own meal there. Take several pieces of fruit on the way out (shhh) — no more paying for individual bananas at library cafés.

4. Read the emails from Denise Cassaro. Although there may be an overwhelming list of social and cultural events, frequently there are delicious, food-related gatherings mixed in. I myself have benefited from Ms. Cassaro’s all-seeing eye, journeying to Akwe: kon for an all-organic, all-local meal and Willard Straight for an evening of cross-cultural plates.

5. Buy your foods in bulk. If there’s something you eat daily, or even once in a little while, head to Wegmans and buy it in larger quantities. I buy my Luna Bars in packs of 15, and instead of purchasing my daily mid-afternoon snack at Libe Café, I munch on the  bar I slipped into my backpack that morning. Not only do I save money, but also I have a snack whenever those hunger cravings set in during my 2:55 class.

6. Care packages. Parents and grandparents love sending packages. Especially if you’re the last child out of the house, moms and dads (though they may not admit to it) want nothing more than to bother their children. And, it’s easier to hint at a package than to beg for money!

There are lots of small ways to eliminate superfluous costs; it just takes a little bit of effort and strategic meal-planning. Also, the money you save during your daily routines will only add to your late-night-eating fund and further your ultimate happiness!

Original Author: Carolyn Scheinberg