Thrive On A Budget & Eat Like The King

College Life and Food

When I think of college students and food, I think of cheap instant noodles being heated in a dorm room microwave. Chances are this diet is no stranger to most service members from their E-1 thru E-3 days.

Well that was then and this is now. The goal is not to just survive college we want to thrive in college. To accomplish this feat, we are going to need more than instant noodles to power our brain and body. Although instant noodles are one of my favorite instant meals they should not be a staple in your college diet. College is a marathon like no other that requires more than processed carbohydrates. We need simple and complex carbs like those found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy that can be broken down by the body and used as energy.

If you are a fan of fast food and enjoy the convenience it offers; especially with the busy college and adult life schedule, that is understandable. Fast food is not bad for you or your pocket book when moderation is put in place. The average cost of a value meal at a fast food restaurant ranges from $5.00 to $7.00. If you ate at fast food restaurants for two meals a day for two weeks there is a potential for your pocket book to take a whopping $196.00 hit on average.

Now take your $196.00 fast food budget to your local Wal-Mart grocery and you can feed yourself for two weeks three times a day for $93.21, leaving $102.79 in your pocket for other college expenses and that once a week drive thru treat. To good to be true you say? Give it a try and go to and build a shopping cart. They’ll even do the shopping and bring your groceries to you.

These are some of my favorite items that I purchase on a regular basis.

  • Blue Diamond Almonds $6.72
  • Eggs 60ct $6.21
  • String Cheese 36ct $7.96
  • Nature Value Protein Bar 15ct $8.24
  • Clementine Oranges 5lb $5.64
  • Oscar Meyer sub kit 28oz $6.98
  • Nature’s Own bread 20oz $2.88 (2)
  • Slice Cheese 48oz 72ct $9.98
  • Mayo 30oz $2.98
  • Mustard 20oz $1.97
  • Milk $2.78
  • Yogurt variety pack 12ct $3.96
  • Apples 3lb bag $4.77
  • Peanut Butter 40oz $3.62
  • Fruit preserves 32oz $3.28
  • Honey Bunches of Oats $3.28 (2)
  • Honey 16oz $4.48
  • Bananas 2lb $0.68lb

Total: $93.21

My favorite anytime sandwiches that even Elvis would like is peanut butter, banana, and honey. Would you like to learn more ways to save money on everyday life expenses to make college life less financially stressful? Or just learn how to make my favorite sandwich call Veterans Upward Bound at (405) 974-3686 or email us at to schedule an appointment.

Submitted By: Shane Braig, CPO, USN (Ret) and STRIPES-VUB Outreach Specialist