College age male: How much money for food?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
Kennedy
Posts: 589
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:47 pm

College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Kennedy »

I am paying for my son's college expenses, including his apartment and food. I'm looking for input as to how much money to provide him each month for food.

This money should allow moderately priced food for breakfast and dinner six days/week plus lunch two days/week (prepared in his apartment) in a medium cost of living city. (Think ground beef, chicken, pork chops and vegetables and not the extremes of steak or ramen.) He will not be shopping at Whole Foods or farmers' markets, just the regular old grocery store.

I consider him a moderate eater for a young adult male. (He's not a body builder massive protein eater, and nor is he a light eater.)

He will be eating lunch on campus Monday-Friday (separate lot of money), plus most likely eating out (on his dime) for the remainder of his meals.

I have an amount in mind, but I would like some feedback.
fru-gal
Posts: 1590
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:48 pm
Location: New England

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by fru-gal »

You may just need to see what he spends for 2-3 weeks.
CoastalWinds
Posts: 1063
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:28 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by CoastalWinds »

$400/mo

That’s considerate of you to make sure he is eating healthy and providing the means to do so. My folks encouraged me to eat ramen and macaroni to save $. Obviously, 15 years later, I’m a little bitter about it (as it has impacted my health).
Last edited by CoastalWinds on Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Ready3Retire
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:15 am
Location: Midwest

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Ready3Retire »

I ACH auto transfer $130 every 2 wks during the school year to my college student son’s bank account.
Trader Joe
Posts: 1997
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Trader Joe »

Kennedy wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:30 pm I am paying for my son's college expenses, including his apartment and food. I'm looking for input as to how much money to provide him each month for food.

This money should allow moderately priced food for breakfast and dinner six days/week plus lunch two days/week (prepared in his apartment) in a medium cost of living city. (Think ground beef, chicken, pork chops and vegetables and not the extremes of steak or ramen.) He will not be shopping at Whole Foods or farmers' markets, just the regular old grocery store.

I consider him a moderate eater for a young adult male. (He's not a body builder massive protein eater, and nor is he a light eater.)

He will be eating lunch on campus Monday-Friday (separate lot of money), plus most likely eating out (on his dime) for the remainder of his meals.

I have an amount in mind, but I would like some feedback.
Whatever he wants/requests is the correct answer. Talk to your son.
livesoft
Posts: 73369
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by livesoft »

We give our male college student $430 a month for his allowance to pay for all food, gas, clothes, booze, entertainment, whatever, etc. No extra money for any meal plans since he lives off-campus. Apartment rent is separate.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.
petulant
Posts: 1901
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:09 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by petulant »

So much depends, but he should be able to do all that for something like $150-200 per month.
Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 23056
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

$400 a month. If you want an idea of what food costs, look up the neighborhood where he will be residing, find the grocery store online and see if they show what's in the weekly circular. You'll quickly get an idea of what costs. I'll tell you since I do most of the grocery shopping for my household - fresh produce is costly, cow's milk by the gallon runs close to $4 for the un-organic stuff, he can eat pork and chicken and even buy some cuts of meat rather inexpensively. It's the toiletries that are costly - literally...toilet paper, laundry soap, shaving stuff, etc. Tomato sauce can be expensive, while pasta is not. Refrigerated unprocessed goods like butter are moderately priced, eggs are cheap, especially if on sale. Yogurt is cheap, but not super cheap. Processed foods are the most expensive things in the grocery store, especially if not on sale. If it were me, I'd give that amount and say, what you don't spend in one month, save for the next while continuing to receive the same amount each month with the caveat to use it wisely. Shop the sales, see if he can get on the stores mailing list for weekly circular and obtain their customer card to get the specials price.
Last edited by Grt2bOutdoors on Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions
Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 23056
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

petulant wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:40 pm So much depends, but he should be able to do all that for something like $150-200 per month.
Really? A young moderate eating male? Perhaps if he's into eating legumes and rice every day.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions
7eight9
Posts: 1451
Joined: Fri May 17, 2019 7:11 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by 7eight9 »

My wife and I spend less than $300/month for food (and beverage). We are early 50s and not active. How much would a college student need? I think $250 would be generous (with enough left over for a few cases of Natty Light).
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.
User avatar
galving
Posts: 189
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:47 pm
Location: US Gulf Coast

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by galving »

Retail cost of a case of Natural Light Lager is 11.49 USD x 4 weeks/month = $45.96/month.
Jags4186
Posts: 5129
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Jags4186 »

I got $400/mo 13 years ago to cover my out of pocket expenses. Not sure if you’re giving your son extra money for other stuff. But I would think $400 is the minimum.
Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 23056
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

7eight9 wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:57 pm My wife and I spend less than $300/month for food (and beverage). We are early 50s and not active. How much would a college student need? I think $250 would be generous (with enough left over for a few cases of Natty Light).
The OP's kid is going to come back home more than a few pounds lighter.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions
stoptothink
Posts: 8361
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by stoptothink »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:50 pm
petulant wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:40 pm So much depends, but he should be able to do all that for something like $150-200 per month.
Really? A young moderate eating male? Perhaps if he's into eating legumes and rice every day.
Location and eating habit dependent. As has been discussed countless times on this board, my family of 4 eats for <300/month and I am a large man who is extremely physically active. I could very easily do with <$150/month myself and there is no way I'd stretch to over $200 for a single individual where I live; that would just encourage a lot of eating out...which we do virtually none of.
Starfish
Posts: 2002
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:33 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Starfish »

For me was 50$/week in NY, but 15 years ago.
No eating out and no horrible campus cafeteria.
I was 180lbs and reasonably active (not an athlete, but long hikes, walks, biking etc) if that matters.
Last edited by Starfish on Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
bubbadog
Posts: 920
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:17 pm
Location: Cincinnati,Ohio

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by bubbadog »

We give our son $500/month to cover groceries and his portion (1/4) of apartment utilities. It seems to be enough.
KevinC
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:39 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by KevinC »

Interesting topic...

Our daughters in college live off campus in FL & CO.
In addition to rent they get $300 per month for food & misc items. They both also work 6 to 10 hours a week for extra cash.
randomguy
Posts: 9206
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by randomguy »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:50 pm
petulant wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:40 pm So much depends, but he should be able to do all that for something like $150-200 per month.
Really? A young moderate eating male? Perhaps if he's into eating legumes and rice every day.
1 lb of pasta is like .79 on sale right? A jar of sauce is like 8 servings for 2 bucks. Kid should be able to eat all the calories they want for under 100/month:)

To some extent we are all just making up numbers and a lot will depend on the kid and eating habits. Go shopping for him and see what a 50 bucks of groceries look like. You can get a lot of rice, beans, pasta, oat meal,... type stuff. You can get a decent amount of meat (1.99 chick thighs, ground beef) as that stuff is always on sale. Some veggies and fruit and so on aren't. But it is easy to blow out the budget with 1 or 2 purchases. Tough to balance the budget when you start doing 7 dollar frozen pizzas and 11 bucks on drinks when you are trying to keep it under 50/week.
Scrapr
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 9:19 am

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Scrapr »

how much money do you have? It will be $100 more than that.

the food/beer will expand/contract according to resources on hand. You ever turn in bottles at the end of the term to get....wait for it....more beer
123
Posts: 6422
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by 123 »

What does it cost to feed him incrementally at home as part of the family food expenses? Double that for various inefficiencies of cooking for one and you will be close.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
HereToLearn
Posts: 676
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:53 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by HereToLearn »

I would look at the cost of the college dining plan as a starting point. Subtract the amount you are allowing for the five lunches on campus per week, and then keep spending below the balance.

My son charged all of his groceries, local sandwich shop/burger purchases, and on-campus lunches. I reimbursed him for all of that, as long as his spending remained below what I was paying when he was on the meal plan.
123
Posts: 6422
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by 123 »

HereToLearn wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:21 pm I would look at the cost of the college dining plan as a starting point....
+1 Excellent answer. When I went to college and moved out of the dorm my parents used the dorm expense (room and meals) as a budget starting point for a shared housing and food budget. I was okay with that and it worked out well.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
User avatar
leeks
Posts: 871
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:33 pm
Location: new york

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by leeks »

I'd guess $200 if you want him to be careful and frugal with food money (or he can supplement with his own earnings) and $400 if you want him to just buy food without worrying about the money too much (and you can afford it). Also more like $400 if you want him to eat mostly organic or whole foods kinds of groceries.

One option is to ask him to come up with a proposal - try to get him to do the research and think through meal planning and such and see what he comes up with. If it were $300 or less (and you can afford it), I would just go with his request. If he comes up with $600....

If you'd like some kind of data on which to base your amount, take a look at the USDA cost of food resources:
https://www.fns.usda.gov/cnpp/usda-food ... ly-reports
msk
Posts: 1470
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:40 am

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by msk »

Just check the college's meal plan. My kids' a couple of years ago came to $500 each per month in a MCOL city. The meal plan is often designed to be balanced and nutritious and is basically "eating out" for all meals. Hence it is generous and most kids opt out of it as soon as they can to save money. This particular college had a reputation for excellent food in its cafeterias. Ditching the meal plan means they eat a lot of junk or spend time cooking. Presumably also depends on how challenging the course work is. I would treat the meal plan as the upper, generous bound.
Momus
Posts: 1023
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Momus »

Food is cheap $150-200 if you cook. If he eats out all the time, triple that number. I would not give him money for that luxury.
User avatar
permport
Posts: 215
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:20 am

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by permport »

A lot.
Buy right and hold tight.
Goal33
Posts: 1477
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:30 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Goal33 »

Wow I spent way way way more back in 2013 as a male college student in San Diego than these prices quoted.

Here’s some advice you didn’t ask for. Give him a chunk of money instead of separate buckets. Let him budget it himself. And if you can afford it, be generous. Not the worst thing in the world to graduate with some savings.
User avatar
ReformedSpender
Posts: 537
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:24 pm
Location: Stone's Throw from Vanguard

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by ReformedSpender »

Goal33 wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:07 am Wow I spent way way way more back in 2013 as a male college student in San Diego than these prices quoted.

Here’s some advice you didn’t ask for. Give him a chunk of money instead of separate buckets. Let him budget it himself. And if you can afford it, be generous. Not the worst thing in the world to graduate with some savings.
Agree with this approach. Never a bad time to start self-discipline.

:beer
Market history shows that when there's economic blue sky, future returns are low, and when the economy is on the skids, future returns are high. The best fishing is done in the most stormy waters.
msk
Posts: 1470
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:40 am

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by msk »

123 wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:27 pm
HereToLearn wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:21 pm I would look at the cost of the college dining plan as a starting point....
+1 Excellent answer. When I went to college and moved out of the dorm my parents used the dorm expense (room and meals) as a budget starting point for a shared housing and food budget. I was okay with that and it worked out well.
I followed the college's recommendations to the letter, and it was very generous! Not recommended if the parent is stretched for $. This was the recipe provided by the college (elite college downtown in a major city, MCOL) so most kids are probably already thoroughly spoilt when they arrive:

Meal Plan $500 pm
Accommodation in residence: $1000 pm
Books/clothes: $250 pm
Phone/incidentals/entertainment: $750 pm (skiing is expensive...)

Obviously the total $2500 pm tax free is IMHO rather generous! But perhaps the major quibble is probably on the last item. My kids managed to squeeze a number of overseas college trips within that budget, so no complaints from me. Swings and roundabouts. I had spent several years at the same college decades ago as a grad student and had to survive on less than half that (adjusted for inflation). My memories of how much attention I had to pay to every penny steered me to being more generous for the kids. Each family has its own baggage :happy
petulant
Posts: 1901
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:09 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by petulant »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:50 pm
petulant wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:40 pm So much depends, but he should be able to do all that for something like $150-200 per month.
Really? A young moderate eating male? Perhaps if he's into eating legumes and rice every day.
Well, I eat plenty of rice, legumes, chicken breast (about .7 lbs per day), eggs, vegetables, Greek yogurt, etc. on about $100/mo for breakfasts and lunches, which is similar to OP's breakfast/dinner need. Granted, I am in a LCOL, but then again I multiplied it by 1.5-2. If OP's child can't make it work on $150-$200, I would blame the habits, not the money or nutritional value.
MDfan
Posts: 383
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:32 am

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by MDfan »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:49 pm $400 a month. If you want an idea of what food costs, look up the neighborhood where he will be residing, find the grocery store online and see if they show what's in the weekly circular. You'll quickly get an idea of what costs. I'll tell you since I do most of the grocery shopping for my household - fresh produce is costly, cow's milk by the gallon runs close to $4 for the un-organic stuff, he can eat pork and chicken and even buy some cuts of meat rather inexpensively. It's the toiletries that are costly - literally...toilet paper, laundry soap, shaving stuff, etc. Tomato sauce can be expensive, while pasta is not. Refrigerated unprocessed goods like butter are moderately priced, eggs are cheap, especially if on sale. Yogurt is cheap, but not super cheap. Processed foods are the most expensive things in the grocery store, especially if not on sale. If it were me, I'd give that amount and say, what you don't spend in one month, save for the next while continuing to receive the same amount each month with the caveat to use it wisely. Shop the sales, see if he can get on the stores mailing list for weekly circular and obtain their customer card to get the specials price.

$400 sounds about right. That's what we've given each of our kids when they lived off-campus.
BBQ Nut
Posts: 173
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:19 am

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by BBQ Nut »

I'm putting two boys thru college.

$100/month per kid is a good estimate. They are like human vacuum cleaners for food. But then biking to school, walking campus, climbing stairs to classrooms, odd hours between meals, intramural sports - you know the normal things college kids do.

Sometimes it's a bit more, sometimes it's a bit less.

That doesn't include party money, fast food, meals out.

Do people in this thread actually have boys? :confused
BBQ Nut
Posts: 173
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:19 am

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by BBQ Nut »

BBQ Nut wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:26 am I'm putting two boys thru college.

$100/month per kid is a good estimate. They are like human vacuum cleaners for food. But then biking to school, walking campus, climbing stairs to classrooms, odd hours between meals, intramural sports - you know the normal things college kids do.

Sometimes it's a bit more, sometimes it's a bit less. And that is for all meals. We taught both our boys how to cook meals from scratch for themselves.

That doesn't include party money, fast food, meals out.

Do people in this thread actually have boys? :confused
researcher
Posts: 1294
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by researcher »

Kennedy wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:30 pm This money should allow moderately priced food for breakfast and dinner six days/week plus lunch two days/week (prepared in his apartment) in a medium cost of living city. (Think ground beef, chicken, pork chops and vegetables and not the extremes of steak or ramen.)
Do you really expect your male college student to prepare dinners at home 6 out of 7 days/week???
When I was in college, I probably ate dinner at home 1-2 times/week at most.
And when I did eat dinner at home, the most involved it got was a grilled cheese, frozen pizza or can of soup.
fru-gal
Posts: 1590
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:48 pm
Location: New England

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by fru-gal »

I've been tracking my expenses for about two months. I am spending about $100 a week at the grocery store, i.e. peapod. This includes food, stuff like toilet paper, kleenex, laundry detergent, kitty litter. Not cat food as I buy that at the vet's.

I live in a MCOL area, and with peapod I can look carefully at prices per unit, etc. I rarely eat out. I'm a vegetarian, so there's no cost for meat items, which I understand can be expensive.
mak1277
Posts: 1572
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:26 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by mak1277 »

Not knowing your son specifically, I'll say this. Odds are, the amount of money you give will not influence what your son eats. If you give $200 or $400 a month, he'll spend the same amount on food and the remainder on other pursuits (beer, girls, etc.).

Assuming you have the means, it might be nice to throw a little extra in over the bare minimum so he can take a girl out on a nice date at least once a week.
researcher
Posts: 1294
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by researcher »

mak1277 wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:54 am Assuming you have the means, it might be nice to throw a little extra in over the bare minimum so he can take a girl out on a nice date at least once a week.
Another novel idea is for him to GET A JOB and earn his own beer/date money, instead of relying on handouts from daddy.
User avatar
RickBoglehead
Posts: 5608
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am
Location: In a house

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by RickBoglehead »

Start with $200 a month, or see what the college meal plan is for the same meals. $400 per month is excessive.

Most college meal plans are unlimited food. Our sons both did the college meal plan for 2 years. Older son would eat dinner at 5:15, then eat again just before they closed for the evening.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.
Bacchus01
Posts: 3182
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Bacchus01 »

Our son is heading to college as a FR tomorrow. We haven't figured this out either.

His meal plan at the school has several different options, and we were strongly advised by others who have kids there to go for the bottom tier. That is $700/semester, or a little under $200/mo.

I suspect we will give him another $200/mo. for incidentals and other meals. He also has saved up money from his summer job and his graduation gifts. We expect him to use that as part of his living expense.

We expect him to get a part-time job while on campus starting next Spring (second semester FR) and to also have a job in the summer time. We are working on internships for him already following his FR year.

I'm not sure if that helps, but it's our current approach. Since we are at day zero minus one, we'll see how that goes!
Dottie57
Posts: 9203
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm
Location: Earth Northern Hemisphere

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Dottie57 »

fru-gal wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:47 am I've been tracking my expenses for about two months. I am spending about $100 a week at the grocery store, i.e. peapod. This includes food, stuff like toilet paper, kleenex, laundry detergent, kitty litter. Not cat food as I buy that at the vet's.

I live in a MCOL area, and with peapod I can look carefully at prices per unit, etc. I rarely eat out. I'm a vegetarian, so there's no cost for meat items, which I understand can be expensive.
I spend the same amount per week. Not sure whether the Twin Cities is Medium or High Cost of living.
Goal33
Posts: 1477
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:30 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Goal33 »

researcher wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:12 am
mak1277 wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:54 am Assuming you have the means, it might be nice to throw a little extra in over the bare minimum so he can take a girl out on a nice date at least once a week.
Another novel idea is for him to GET A JOB and earn his own beer/date money, instead of relying on handouts from daddy.
Or he can get a handout, be selective with his job, get relevant experience (instead of purely working for money needs) and graduate with some savings. As I mentioned in my earlier post it’s not the worst thing in the world to graduate with savings.
FireProof
Posts: 765
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 12:15 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by FireProof »

Cooking balanced meals (i.e. starch + vegetables + meat) should be cheaper than eating processed ramen - never understood that concept. Ridiculous how cheap food is nowadays.
HomeStretch
Posts: 4991
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by HomeStretch »

Just finished going through this for student in an apartment. Did not buy the school meal plan as it was a lot more expensive and # of plan meals was not unlimited.

$500/month covered all breakfast, lunch and dinner (cooked at home). Another $50/mo for personal care and household items plus an occasional apt item like a towel. Student paid for meals out, beer or entertainment.

Adjusted amount over 2 years as needed - funded by CC or PayPal xfr. Be flexible, you’ll figure out right amount after a couple months.

Surprisingly, a small George Foreman counter grill (very inexpensive online) got a lot of use as did roommate’s slow cooker.
ncbill
Posts: 880
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 4:03 pm
Location: Western NC

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by ncbill »

Kid is on a ROTC scholarship for tuition/fees, I pay the apartment rent/university gold-level ACA health plan.

So I told the kid to use the $2,500/semester grant they get from their university (as a ROTC scholarship recipient) to pay for food, etc.

That grant is separate from their monthly ROTC stipend.
livesoft
Posts: 73369
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by livesoft »

HomeStretch wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:52 amSurprisingly, a small George Foreman counter grill (very inexpensive online) got a lot of use as did roommate’s slow cooker.
Ha! Ha! My son brings home his Foreman grill and also his slow cooker to cook for us when he comes home to visit. So I am not surprised by these must-haves for millennials.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.
User avatar
JPH
Posts: 1055
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:56 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by JPH »

Brings back many memories. BP&J on white bread, beef hearts, boxed macaroni & cheese mix, and SPAM. Not bad at all. A Boglehead before it was cool!
While the moments do summersaults into eternity | Cling to their coattails and beg them to stay - Townes Van Zandt
HereToLearn
Posts: 676
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:53 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by HereToLearn »

Bacchus01 wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:34 am Our son is heading to college as a FR tomorrow. We haven't figured this out either.

His meal plan at the school has several different options, and we were strongly advised by others who have kids there to go for the bottom tier. That is $700/semester, or a little under $200/mo.

I suspect we will give him another $200/mo. for incidentals and other meals. He also has saved up money from his summer job and his graduation gifts. We expect him to use that as part of his living expense.

We expect him to get a part-time job while on campus starting next Spring (second semester FR) and to also have a job in the summer time. We are working on internships for him already following his FR year.

I'm not sure if that helps, but it's our current approach. Since we are at day zero minus one, we'll see how that goes!
You may want to check the university's dining plan's rules about changes to the meal plan during the semester. One child's school prevented the student from downgrading his meal plan choice a week to ten days after the start of the semester. Students could always elect a plan with more meals per semester, but not fewer. This school offered seven, ten, fourteen or unlimited weekly meal plans. Every school is different, but just take a look at the rules before you are locked into a plan that may not be used fully. Also, if the school has a Greek system, some of the fraternities require members to dine at the fraternity house, meaning fewer campus meals needed.

Best of luck to your son, and good luck with drop-off/move-in.
CoastalWinds
Posts: 1063
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:28 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by CoastalWinds »

To the people saying $100mo is adequate for a college-age male, um, that is just plain nuts. That’s $3.33 per day. That’s $1 per meal. A box of pasta and sauce, with nothing else (which I would NOT consider healthy or balanced) would cost about $4 by itself. So you are proposing less than one (unhealthy) meal per day.
Last edited by CoastalWinds on Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
an_asker
Posts: 2729
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:15 pm

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by an_asker »

msk wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:55 am Just check the college's meal plan. My kids' a couple of years ago came to $500 each per month in a MCOL city. The meal plan is often designed to be balanced and nutritious and is basically "eating out" for all meals. Hence it is generous and most kids opt out of it as soon as they can to save money. This particular college had a reputation for excellent food in its cafeterias. Ditching the meal plan means they eat a lot of junk or spend time cooking. Presumably also depends on how challenging the course work is. I would treat the meal plan as the upper, generous bound.
Oh please!!!

I don't know what meal plan you are referring to, but DS just started undergrad, and his meal plan is all you can eat as often as you like. We were there to drop him off to check out what he could get. We are vegetarians and here is a small sample:

- pasta (made to order); dude just lays on the oil adds whatever veggies you want, whatever cheese you want ... you get the point, right?
- ready made pasta (no serving size of course, you are free to take as much as you want)
- M&M brownie, apple cake, cookies, eight flavors (or more, I stopped counting) of ice cream
- milk of varying fat and sugar content (milk that's not really milk in my books, i.e., soy milk and almond milk)
- waffles
- pizza
- burgers
- sandwiches
- of course, coffee, tea, latte, cappuchino (sp?) etc
- tacos, burritos

I'm sure I have missed many items. But note that this was just one dining hall. There are a few dining halls spread across campus.

I'm assuming that the variety was not on display just for drop off day!
LiterallyIronic
Posts: 1463
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:36 am

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by LiterallyIronic »

This thread is insane. $400/month for one person?! I'm sorry, what? I'm currently feeding two adults and a toddler on $225/month. The objective is $1/meal/person.

When I was a college-age male in the mid-2000s, my grocery budget was $35/month. Giant-size bags of knock-off brand Frosted Flakes and gallons of milk. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all composed of two bowls of cereal, every day for years. I occasionally mixed it up and had a bowl of chili from a can. That, of course, is very close to the bottom of the possible budget, but if someone can't figure out how to eat for a month on $100, I don't know what to tell them.
Post Reply