How Much Does a College Student Spend on Groceries?

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A typical college student’s grocery costs range from $80 to $200 a month. Within this range, there are a couple of factors to consider when predicting a college student’s grocery costs. The first is whether or not she uses a meal plan through the college and the second factor to consider is how much she eat outs.

Other important factors to consider are time and cooking ability. If a student is short on time or doesn’t know how to cook, prepackaged foods are quick and easy, and items such as ramen noodles are very cheap. However, other more expensive prepackaged foods can push a college student’s spending closer to the $200 end of the budget. Prepackaged foods are high in fat and sodium.

If the student has decided against a meal plan, doesn’t eat out frequently and has the time and ability to cook simple homemade meals with fresh ingredients, a budget of $80-$100 a month is sufficient. It also helps if she isn’t afraid of leftovers. Fixing a casserole or soup she can enjoy for a couple of days stretches her budget and free time. A small grocery budget may provide healthier options and cost less in the long run than a meal plan through the college.