Using the “c” word

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Five tips for saving change at the checkout

By Caitlin Van Den Brink, Contributor

Let’s face it: as students, we need to count our pennies, search clearance sections, and seek out sales like a chinchilla hunting down a stalk of celery. We need to be cheap.

Unfortunately, this is difficult when the prices of everything from housing to bread are rising faster than you can say, “Shish kebab.”  Fortunately, you now have five tips that will help you eat healthy and keep your food costs low.

1. Make a list. Sometimes, finding the time to make a big shopping list, and then doing the aforementioned shopping, seems impossible. Find it anyway. Making a list of what you need will help you keep track of what’s in your fridge, so that you can plan meals easily and so that half of your fridge’s contents don’t end up in the garbage.

2. Check it twice. Do you really need that bag of chips? That can of salsa? That box of chicken strips? Checking over your grocery list helps in a few ways. You can weed out those food items that you don’t actually need while investing in healthier, cheaper alternatives.

3. Make meat a treat. It shouldn’t be a big surprise that, pound for pound, meat is one of the most expensive things you can buy at a grocery store. Also, no, vegetarian meals don’t have to taste like cardboard. Beans, nuts, and many dairy products have plenty of protein in them, and there are countless ways to cook these alternatives so that they whet any palette. Need more proof? Check out any of our past issues with College Cooking by our Staff Writer, Joel MacKenzie.

4. Get veggies from the freezer aisle. The common opinion out there is that fresh vegetables are healthier because, well, they’re fresh. However, this isn’t always the case. While some nutrients like vitamin B and C can be lost in the freezing process, a lot of the healthy stuff in vegetables remains intact.  Plus, frozen veggies can be cheaper and are quicker to cook.

5. Fly solo. While buying the groceries might be less tedious with someone else helping, that can be part of the problem. A shopping companion can slow down the process and veer you off course. You’ll be more likely to neglect your handy list, wander down aisles that don’t need to be wandered down, and, let’s admit: it’s always easier to give in to that package of cookies when a partner in crime is egging you on.

Now put the tips to use and reap the benefits! Check out this delicious, autumn-approved recipe for the most kickin’ chili you can imagine.