Are you a married college student? These money saving tips range from theme nights to enjoying eggs.
They’ll make college life easier — and they’ll help with rent or mortgage payments, college tuition, and future financial goals.
Before the money saving tips, a quip:
“Marriage is like a bank account. You put it in, you take it out, you lose interest.” ~ Irwin Corey.
Not all married couples lose interest in each other or their love relationship. In fact, many marriages grow and get healthier over time — especially if the couple stays focused on the same goals.
If you and your spouse decide that your financial goals involve saving money on food, read Eat Well Spend Less: Over 250 Healthy Recipes for Busy Cooks Who Want to Save Money. Cook the recipes together, as a couple — and have fun!
And, check out these ten money tips for married college students…
10 Money Saving Tips for Married College Students
1. Have fun cooking a weekly ”theme” food. For Mexican Fiesta night, my hubby makes bean dip (cheap and healthy), and I make pea guacamole (avocado, canned or frozen peas, corn, tomatos, garlic, onions — it’s my favorite dish). Having a planned food night — Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Middle Eastern — is a great way to save money on groceries, especially if you experiment with different (cheaper) ingredients. In fact, pre-planning your entire week’s menu can help you save money on food by reducing impulse meals in restaurants.
2. Activate two money tips a month. We see smart ways to save money everywhere – the internet, budget books, our rich old aunts, on placemats at funky restaurants. But, do we actually apply them to our lives? Nope. It’s too much. So we need to be strategic about money matters. For instance, couples shouldn’t try to implement all these ways to save money on food at once. Instead, pick one two a month. Focus on making those two money tips a habit. In four or six weeks, find one two more money tips to work on. This way, you’re not overwhelmed with a million ways to save money on food – and you’re steadily progressing towards your financial goals.
3. Stay focused on your money matters. Why do you want to save your buckeroos — what are your long-term financial goals? Keep your goals front and center: write them on your forehead if you have to. It’s much easier to survive as married college students if you stay focused on why you’re working hard to save money on food. If you keep your goals right in front of you, you won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself of “fun” stuff like eating in restaurants (which isn’t nearly as adventurous as making sushi at home!).
Okay, here are eight specific food and money money matters for married college students…
4. Rotisserie or bake a chicken or pot roast on Sunday night. We’ll rotisserie a chicken or roast on the BBQ, and then use the meat for meals all week: sandwiches for lunch, stir fries for dinner, etc. Meat can be a very expensive way to feed your family — and shopping for sales and cutting coupons can be time-consuming. Instead, save money on food by reducing the amount of meat you eat. And remember that a normal food portion can fit into the palm of your hand — it’s the size of a deck of cards.
5. Halve the amount of meat you use. Add filler (oats, crackers, rice, mashed potatoes) to your burgers, meatballs, or meat loave. This way, you’ll half the amount of ground beef, chicken, or pork. Instead of bbq’ing a steak or chicken breast, cut half of one portion into strips and put it into a stirfry. You’ll never notice there’s not a full portion of meat in the stirfry (but you will notice a half portion of meat on a plate!).
Are college loans affecting your relationship? Read 5 Ways to Stop Debt From Ruining Your Marriage.
6. Buy and cook bulk foods — it’s both cheap and healthy! “Joining a bulk shopping club, like Sam’s, Costco, or BJ’s, can be cost-effective if you frequent the club regularly,” writes Kathleen Zelman in 10 Ways to Save Money on Food Shopping. “Bulk purchases can be a great way to save money — as long as they get used. You might also look in your community for shopping cooperatives that sell food in bulk at a substantial savings.” Cooking in bulk can save both money and time, if you prepare huge pots of, say, spaghetti sauce, and freeze it in individual portions.
7. Savor your leftovers. Most of the time, leftover food is tastier than when it was first cooked. The flavors have had a chance to meld into a sweet symphony of music in your mouth! To ease money matters as married college students, make a pact not to throw anything away (unless it’s so old it doesn’t look like food anymore). I use my leftover rice, mashed potatoes, or stir fry veggies in soups or stews. I eat leftover pizza and potato salad for breakfast. I refuse to cook new dishes until we’ve eaten our leftovers. These little things don’t just help you save money on food, they teach you to be creative in the kitchen!
8. Freeze your leftovers — even your milk and cookies. My husband travels on business regularly, and he’s the primary consumer of coffee cream, cookies, and meat in our house. When he leaves, I freeze his cream, cheddar cheese, leftover meat, etc., until he gets home. Anything can be frozen! If the food doesn’t thaw well — such as rice — it can be added to soups or stews. It’s just as good and tasty as the original meal.
9. Make your own dressings and sauces. We don’t use dressings on our salads; instead, we sprinkle sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and raisons on top. It’s cheap, healthy, and tasty! I make my own BBQ sauce — much more delicious than store bought — and my hubby makes cocktail sauce for shrimp and bean dip for our weekly Mexican Fiesta night. Have fun making your own dips and sauces – it’s a great way to save money on food.
10. Experiment with eggs — omelettes, fritattas, quiches. There’s no need to fear the cholesterol in eggs — as long as you don’t eat them every day. Eggs are a great source of protein, and much cheaper than meat. Plus, Canadian researchers say eggs may reduce high blood pressure. So, make it a habit to cook an eggy dinner once a week: frittatas, lazy man’s quiches, omelettes, French Toast with Canadian bacon (can you tell I’m a Canuck?). Eggs are cheap, healthy, and delicious.
Do you and your spouse fight about your finances? Read Couples Fighting About Money – 4 Tips for Talking Finances.