College age male: How much money for food?

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Broken Man 1999
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Every time a daughter visited during their college days they did a bit of shopping in our pantry. It was fine, but wife never knew what she was missing until she needed it. I can still hear her muttering ,"I KNOW I just bought (insert missing item)."

The one that was out of the area for college hated her meal plan. After seeing it, I understood why. Ugh. But, that was 20 years ago. The campus dining plans have stepped up their game plan, much like the nicer dorms today.

We didn't have any sons, and I am amazed at how much my grandsons can tuck away, and the oldest is only 9. I don't envy the parents when these two start really eating their way thru everything in the house.

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

Post by stoptothink »

CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:38 am 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.
Some of us are saying it based upon experience, as grown male adults. It's crazy the discrepancy you'll see on this board regarding food spending; my family of 4 is <$300/month while I'll see threads where other posters will state they have no idea how a family that size could spend less than $1500/month. I don't know what they are eating, but I know exactly what I am eating (and what it costs).
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by CoastalWinds »

LiterallyIronic wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:54 am 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.
Why would the “objective” be $1 per meal?? An apple alone costs $1. And I doubt any sane person would consider this a meal.

Eating Frosted Flakes for every meal is is no way nutritious. Even with an occasional can of chili.

Why don’t we just recommend the nitrogen N2 diet? It’s 80% of what we breathe and it’s free.
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MrBobcat
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by MrBobcat »

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).
That was more along my lines of thinking, we're in your situation and that's pretty close what we spend for 2. The $400 for one person recommended seems high. $250 seems more than adequate for a college kid especially when lunch is covered 5 days/week.

Cereal for breakfast is cheap, leaves plenty in the budget for a decent dinner and a couple of sandwiches/week.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by researcher »

LiterallyIronic wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:54 am Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all composed of two bowls of cereal, every day for years.
What was your rationale fore eating nothing but cereal for every meal, every day, for years?
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by stoptothink »

CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:05 am
LiterallyIronic wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:54 am 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.
Why would the “objective” be $1 per meal?? An apple alone costs $1.
The weight of an average apple is 1/3lb; apples around here (I live in the same area as LiterallyIronic) are <$1lb, unless you just have to have honeycrisp or to get it from Whole Foods.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by CoastalWinds »

If we’re going to be anecdotal, I’ve visited several states in the last year, and in every grocery store I’ve been in (not WF), apples (gala, red, Fuji) are 1.99-3.99/lb (not organic), average 2.99/lb. this includes Costco (wholesale bulk price). So 1/3 x 2.99 = 0.99. And... is this apple to be the entire meal? Or do you get your main course protein and beverage for $0.01?
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by LiterallyIronic »

CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:05 am
LiterallyIronic wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:54 am 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.
Why would the “objective” be $1 per meal?? An apple alone costs $1. And I doubt any sane person would consider this a meal.

Eating Frosted Flakes for every meal is is no way nutritious. Even with an occasional can of chili.

Why don’t we just recommend the nitrogen N2 diet? It’s 80% of what we breathe and it’s free.
I don't know where you're buying apples, but you're getting ripped off. An apple is more like $0.30. My breakfast every morning is still Frosted Flakes. Lunch is two slices of bread with some pre-sliced turkey in between, a handful of knock-off brand crackers, chips, or pretzels (whichever happens to be cheap at the time), and a piece of fruit (usually an apple, but sometimes a banana), toted to work in a reusable and homemade bag. Dinner is whatever my wife makes. Dinner ends up being slightly more than $1/person/meal, but breakfast and lunch are both under, so it keeps the average down to the goal.
researcher wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:12 am
LiterallyIronic wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:54 am Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all composed of two bowls of cereal, every day for years.
What was your rationale fore eating nothing but cereal for every meal, every day, for years?
One reason is how cheap it is. Second reason is how simple and quick it is to prepare and eat. When the thought, "I'm hungry" crosses my mind, I don't want to be eating 30 minutes later, I want to be eating 30 seconds later. Living with roommates in college, I could prepare my food, eat my food, and wash my dishes before they finished preparing theirs.
Last edited by LiterallyIronic on Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
CoastalWinds
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by CoastalWinds »

I shop at Costco. I doubt I am being ripped off by them.

If I ate exactly what you described, it would be: (a) about $10/day in my area; (b) very boring if done every day; and (c) very unhealthy if done every day.

Let’s just assume the OP loves their DS more than this. :D
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by LiterallyIronic »

CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:22 am I shop at Costco. I doubt I am being ripped off by them.

If I ate exactly what you described, it would be: (a) about $10/day in my area; (b) very boring if done every day; and (c) very unhealthy if done every day.
A) Adjust the prices for your cost of living area, or move.

B) So?

C) Medical advice is not permitted on this forum.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by mak1277 »

LiterallyIronic wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:31 am
CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:22 am I shop at Costco. I doubt I am being ripped off by them.

If I ate exactly what you described, it would be: (a) about $10/day in my area; (b) very boring if done every day; and (c) very unhealthy if done every day.
A) Adjust the prices for your cost of living area, or move.

B) So?

C) Medical advice is not permitted on this forum.
Can we all agree that (a) eating for ~$1 per meal is theoretically possibly and (b) most people wouldn't want to do that?
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by stoptothink »

CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:17 am If we’re going to be anecdotal, I’ve visited several states in the last year, and in every grocery store I’ve been in (not WF), apples (gala, red, Fuji) are 1.99-3.99/lb (not organic), average 2.99/lb. this includes Costco (wholesale bulk price). So 1/3 x 2.99 = 0.99. And... is this apple to be the entire meal? Or do you get your main course protein and beverage for $0.01?
I bought fuji from Winco for $.88/lbs. yesterday and there is another local store (Ridley's) where they are usually cheaper. Food is one of those things where few people actually comparo shop, they buy what they want/like from the store they have experience with and don't even look at cost. You mentioned Costco, produce at Costco is at least twice the price here compared to some local grocery chains (which is why I gave up my membership). I've lived in 4 different states over the past decade and I travel quite a bit for work and I don't eat out, so those trips always involve a stop or two to grocery stores; I am usually able to find prices not that far removed from what I spend at home.

Of course, this is a pointless argument. Spend what you want, but there are always ways to spend less.
Last edited by stoptothink on Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by bampf »

We did it slightly differently. I took 100 postings off craigslist in the area and averaged out the rent per month. This included high end and low end. Just the first 100 listings. I then looked at 10 restaurants for average meal costs. This was a mix of fast casual and sit down but not high end. I ran the numbers, put in a bit slush and came up with roughly what you would make at minimum wage, 40 hours a week. She has this to live on for all expenses, rent, food, etc. I then pointed out that if she got a cheap apartment, controlled her food costs she could pocket $500 to $700 a month and still live pretty good. Of course that isn't exactly what happened, but, its a fine life lesson. If you can't live successfully on minimum wage when you can obviously make choices, you probably won't be that good at it when you make a lot more. So, we will see what happens. So far, she has leased an apartment at the high end and that puts her food budget at about $50 a week. She also works a part time university job. Its a good experience for her. Let you know how it all works out.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by an_asker »

stoptothink wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:02 am
CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:38 am 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.
Some of us are saying it based upon experience, as grown male adults. It's crazy the discrepancy you'll see on this board regarding food spending; my family of 4 is <$300/month while I'll see threads where other posters will state they have no idea how a family that size could spend less than $1500/month. I don't know what they are eating, but I know exactly what I am eating (and what it costs).
Our grocery bills went up once DW became the primary grocery shopper (there's a whole story about this that is best left unsaid). It all depends on how frugal/cheap/miserly one can get vs another. And of course, if you start trying out the higher priced items that you would never have had, obviously that is the hole in the budget.

But I've learned to let go and chalk it down to lifestyle creep :-)

Besides, here we are talking about college age kids - and that too males. At the risk of sounding sexist, I bet that most of these kids couldn't put together a decent healthy meal for themselves by themselves. And therein lies the crux of the issue - are they in college to learn to cook or to study? I'd focus on the latter and worry less about food bills as long as they really don't get out of whack!
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by an_asker »

bampf wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:46 am We did it slightly differently. I took 100 postings off craigslist in the area and averaged out the rent per month. This included high end and low end. Just the first 100 listings. I then looked at 10 restaurants for average meal costs. This was a mix of fast casual and sit down but not high end. I ran the numbers, put in a bit slush and came up with roughly what you would make at minimum wage, 40 hours a week. She has this to live on for all expenses, rent, food, etc. I then pointed out that if she got a cheap apartment, controlled her food costs she could pocket $500 to $700 a month and still live pretty good. Of course that isn't exactly what happened, but, its a fine life lesson. If you can't live successfully on minimum wage when you can obviously make choices, you probably won't be that good at it when you make a lot more. So, we will see what happens. So far, she has leased an apartment at the high end and that puts her food budget at about $50 a week. She also works a part time university job. Its a good experience for her. Let you know how it all works out.
Reminds me of this!!
Last edited by an_asker on Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by decapod10 »

Also another thing to consider is what sort of grocery stores are in the area, and whether the student can get there easily. If they don't have a car, they might be stuck either paying for some sort of grocery delivery or paying for a Taxi/Uber to make grocery store trips, or buying overpriced food at whatever local food stores are around. Depends on the specific school/area of course.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Besides, here we are talking about college age kids - and that too males. At the risk of sounding sexist, I bet that most of these kids couldn't put together a decent healthy meal for themselves by themselves. And therein lies the crux of the issue - are they in college to learn to cook or to study? I'd focus on the latter and worry less about food bills as long as they really don't get out of whack!
My son and his girlfriend are foodies, and learned to cook quite well in college. We did not notice a negative impact on their academics.

Both their cooked meals and meals out were and still are very healthy. It costs more to eat well.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by stoptothink »

an_asker wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:50 am
stoptothink wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:02 am
CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:38 am 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.
Some of us are saying it based upon experience, as grown male adults. It's crazy the discrepancy you'll see on this board regarding food spending; my family of 4 is <$300/month while I'll see threads where other posters will state they have no idea how a family that size could spend less than $1500/month. I don't know what they are eating, but I know exactly what I am eating (and what it costs).
Our grocery bills went up once DW became the primary grocery shopper (there's a whole story about this that is best left unsaid).
:sharebeer No doubt, if my wife were the primary grocery shopper, our grocery budget would be significantly higher. She is much more like most people - gets what she wants/likes, without even looking at prices - than I am. Not that that is bad, because we can afford it, but I think it is a good lesson for a young adult who will likely have to be on a tight budget for a while.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by huzen »

My son is 20, at UW in Seattle (high cost of living). His first year he lived in a dorm on campus and his costs were $900/month for a triple room, and it was mandatory that he have a minimum level 4 meal plan for $480/month. They estimate the price of a meal on campus to be $7-11, so that provided him 2 meals per day NOT all you can eat. Breakfast, toiletries, laundry, etc were additional costs.

After his first year he moved into a 9 bdrm house where I give him $750/month to cover his rent and utilities, and $600/month for food, toiletries, and whatever else he might need. He has not been asking me for extra money for clothing, entertainment, transportation, household items, etc.

$600/month seems like more than others here are paying but it's working for us. I wanted him to have enough that he could eat without thinking too hard about it, and eat/share with friends, but not so much to be wastefu. If he wants to be frugal he can definitely save himself some money. He didn't work during his first two years of college, but now has a part time job because he pays his own rent/utilities during the 3 summer months when he would have otherwise just come home and lived for free, and also to pay for his new hobby: skiing. He also worked his last two years of high school and during summer break, so I'm not worried about his work ethic.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by abuss368 »

Really depends on needs. An athlete has a much higher need.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by an_asker »

stoptothink wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:00 am :sharebeer No doubt, if my wife were the primary grocery shopper, our grocery budget would be significantly higher. She is much more like most people - gets what she wants/likes, without even looking at prices - than I am. Not that that is bad, because we can afford it, but I think it is a good lesson for a young adult who will likely have to be on a tight budget for a while.
Didn't mean to throw DW under the bus LOL!! But yes, though she is mostly Bogleheadish, in case of grocery shopping ...

And that's what I am frustrated about - that I don't think I've done a good enough job with teaching kids about budgeting which, honestly, we've never had to do because we're naturally frugal (with respect to the general US population).
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by PVW »

Consider: cooking for 1 is more expensive; ready made options are becoming popular but more expensive; he probably doesn't want to spend time shopping the sales each week; and buying in bulk at wholesale clubs is too much work for a single college kid.

A generous estimate is $10 for dinner, $5 for lunch and $2 for breakfast. For your meal plan, that comes to $82 per week. So $350 per month would do. If he follows your budget, then this is enough that he doesn't have to spend too much time worrying about organizing his meals. If he's industrious, he could spend a lot less and have money left over for discretionary items.

If you're not trying to be generous, then maybe $7 per dinner, $3 per lunch, and $1 per breakfast, which is $62 per week and $250 per month.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Whatyear? »

mak1277 wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:39 am
Can we all agree that (a) eating for ~$1 per meal is theoretically possibly and (b) most people wouldn't want to do that?
Lol - this reminded me of a conversation with a former client on this topic (and I am talking 30 years ago when the value of a dollar was arguably a lot more than today). She and her husband were saving for a house, so they agreed to both try and eat for $1 per meal until they hit their savings goal. She came home from work one day and he was at the kitchen table eating a can of creamed corn for dinner.

She told him, "that's it, we're going to the grocery store!" :)
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by livesoft »

CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:17 am ... and in every grocery store I’ve been in (not WF), apples (gala, red, Fuji) are 1.99-3.99/lb (not organic), average 2.99/lb. this includes Costco (wholesale bulk price). So 1/3 x 2.99 = 0.99. And... is this apple to be the entire meal? Or do you get your main course protein and beverage for $0.01?
Organic Gala apples are 9 for $2.99 at my Kroger. I've been eating one a day for weeks. Fresh corn on the cob is 7 ears for $1. Along with some other things I've eaten a whole ear (microwaved in the husk) most days for lunch this week. Tomatoes are 88 cents a lb or about 15 to 20 cents each, so I eat one for lunch, too.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by PVW »

livesoft wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:04 pm
CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:17 am ... and in every grocery store I’ve been in (not WF), apples (gala, red, Fuji) are 1.99-3.99/lb (not organic), average 2.99/lb. this includes Costco (wholesale bulk price). So 1/3 x 2.99 = 0.99. And... is this apple to be the entire meal? Or do you get your main course protein and beverage for $0.01?
Organic Gala apples are 9 for $2.99 at my Kroger. I've been eating one a day for weeks. Fresh corn on the cob is 7 ears for $1. Along with some other things I've eaten a whole ear (microwaved in the husk) most days for lunch this week.
Just checked my local grocery - MCOL, not a premium grocer, but I still think they overcharge for mediocre produce.

For apples from the bin, they provide an average cost per apple. Non-sale prices range from $0.40 per Jonagold to $2.18 per Honeycrisp. The prebagged and sale apples can be had for much cheaper.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by HomeStretch »

OP - it’s a good time to give your son tips if he isn’t an experienced shopper to keep the food budget down:
- Pick a budget minded store
- plan menus around what is on sale
- use the store loyalty card for sale prices and digital coupons
- if there’s a great sale price on something used frequently, stock up so as not pay full price when needed again in two weeks.
- check what he is throwing away from the refrigerator at the end of the week and adjust buying quantities to reduce waste
- make extra when cooking dinner so there are leftovers for next day’s lunch/dinner

Help him stock the apartment on day 1 with pantry basics, inexpensive basic cookware, utensils, dishes and cutlery otherwise cooking at home will not be the first option for a busy student.

Pleasantly surprised our student became a pretty savvy shopper and could cook basic meals well by the end of two years.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Barefoot »

Scrapr wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:02 pm 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
I always sold my books toward the end of the semester to boost my alcohol budget.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by livesoft »

HomeStretch wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:33 pm OP - it’s a good time to give your son tips if he isn’t an experienced shopper to keep the food budget down: ....
I've taught my kids about shopping the same way I taught them about driving: "narrative driving" and "narrative shopping." As I go through the store, I talk constantly, "These are a rip-off. Oh, I will eat these and they are sale. Hmmm, these are on sale, but I would never eat them. Let's see, Gala on sale, Honeycrisp not. Oh, if I buy 5 of these, then I get 4 of them for free, but if I buy 4 of them I pay full price for all 4. We're not going down the chips aisle because we don't need any junk food. Ice cream?! I'm not buying that. If we spend $30, we get another $5 off, so let's get exactly $30 and not $31 for the most percentage off. How many oatmeal boxes do we need to get exactly $30 with what we already have? Oh, you have the same coupon? Let's check out $30, then another $30 instead of $60."

I've been shopping with him and now he does the same thing to me.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Scrapr »

Barefoot wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:59 pm
Scrapr wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:02 pm 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
I always sold my books toward the end of the semester to boost my alcohol budget.
Pro level stuff

who needs books??? :D
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by mak1277 »

livesoft wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:08 pm
HomeStretch wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:33 pm OP - it’s a good time to give your son tips if he isn’t an experienced shopper to keep the food budget down: ....
I've taught my kids about shopping the same way I taught them about driving: "narrative driving" and "narrative shopping." As I go through the store, I talk constantly, "These are a rip-off. Oh, I will eat these and they are sale. Hmmm, these are on sale, but I would never eat them. Let's see, Gala on sale, Honeycrisp not. Oh, if I buy 5 of these, then I get 4 of them for free, but if I buy 4 of them I pay full price for all 4. We're not going down the chips aisle because we don't need any junk food. Ice cream?! I'm not buying that. If we spend $30, we get another $5 off, so let's get exactly $30 and not $31 for the most percentage off. How many oatmeal boxes do we need to get exactly $30 with what we already have? Oh, you have the same coupon? Let's check out $30, then another $30 instead of $60."

I've been shopping with him and now he does the same thing to me.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by RickBoglehead »

CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:22 am I shop at Costco. I doubt I am being ripped off by them.
Well, you would be wrong. :wink:

Costco produce is more expensive that Kroger or Meijer here in Michigan. Most fruit on sale is $1.00 a pound or less. Oranges range from $.60 to $.80 per pound on sale. Strawberries are routinely $2.50 a pound, in prime season they are $1.00 to $1.25 a pound. Apples in prime season are $.59 a pound, never more than $.99 a pound on sale. Grapes $.99 on sale.

Costco is always more expensive for produce.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Workable Goblin »

researcher wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:36 am 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.
Meanwhile...I didn't cook for myself at any point during undergraduate, but then I had a scholarship that fully covered room and board, so it would actually have been more costly than just using the cafeterias on campus. When I moved to graduate school, where I did not have free room and board (but was getting a stipend), I fairly quickly started cooking all of my meals, which were considerably more elaborate than "grilled cheese" (actually I don't think I've ever made grilled cheese...) or "frozen pizza". More like from-scratch (vegetarian) chili, spinach pesto, stovetop grits, etc. Of course there were lots of leftovers, which I planned on (every lunch was yesterday's dinner). Although I can't precisely speak to how often he did it, I know my brother was also a fairly avid cook at least during his junior and senior years of undergraduate. Lots of chicken, from what I recall.

So yes, depending on the student it could be completely reasonable to expect him to be cooking dinner 6 out of 7 days a week. If he happens to like cooking like I do, for instance, it really wouldn't be a great burden. Similarly, depending on the student there might not be any need for a "beer budget" (the only alcohol I drink is Communion wine, which was as true when I was in college as it is today), a "party budget" (ditto), or anything else of that sort. Obviously we can't know as well as him or his parents which of those things needs to be accounted for and what's a reasonable versus an unreasonable expectation.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by livesoft »

mak1277 wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:44 pmA world without ice cream is a sad world I don't want to live in!
No worries, other people buy me ice cream all the time.
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MikeWillRetire
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by MikeWillRetire »

I have kept a good record of what it cost me with my sons in college over the last 5 years. I spent approximately $600 per month per person. That includes all groceries, hygiene products, paper products, and occasional meals out. It also included a partial meal plan of 10 meals per week. They did not have cars, so they shopped at the nearest grocery store. Not cheap.
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Kennedy
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Kennedy »

OP here. Just spoke with my son who has been away at college for a couple weeks now.

I asked him how things were going as far as cooking. His reply? "Ehh...not so good, Mom. I don't know how you do it."

There are four "boys" living in the apartment. The plan had been for each of them to cook dinner for the household one night a week and then to wing-it for the other three nights. So far, they have either grilled burgers (fine), gone through a burger drive-through (not fine, but whatever) or had frozen pizza.

He pretty much sounded over-whelmed, which is a definite failure to me as his mother. I'm sorry I didn't have him practice "starter meals" a year ago. My bad and a mistake I won't repeat for our other children.

As soon as he sounds approachable on the subject, I'm going to talk basic cooking strategy for him. My plan is to tell him to buy some kind of protein (pork chops, chicken, beef, etc.), season with the "quad" (kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder) and throw it in either the crock pot (with some liquid like chicken broth or salsa) or on the George Foreman indoor grill I gave him. Serve with whatever vegetables he can eat raw or steam quickly. Done.

The problem, I believe, is that he sees me creating more elaborate meals with multiple ingredients, and he thinks him cooking dinner requires the same.

I'm sorry I didn't prepare him earlier...
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by JimMolony »

My son was a bit smaller than average (5'8" and only 130 lbs) and he lived okay on $200-250 per month. This didn't include alcohol or dining out.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by youngcd12 »

26 year old checking in...graduated from college in 2015. Brother is a senior in college right now.

My parents had the means to help me out with food, but after my freshman year, I was on my own and that's how all of my roommates were as well.

I personally think that $400/mo for groceries is absurd in college. I am now out of school and making well above average salary, and I honestly have $100/mo in my budget for groceries. I would say on average I stick to this...about $25 per week. Granted, buying lunch occasionally at work and dates for my fiance and I are on different lines in the budget, but even so, I would be at a total of $300/mo between all of those things, and I'm not in college...

I shop at ALDI. I purchase organic foods (not exclusively). I do hunt, so I never buy beef, pork, or chicken at the grocery store. I know that probably makes a big difference as well.

Just my two cents...
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by livesoft »

Kennedy wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:23 pmAs soon as he sounds approachable on the subject, I'm going to talk basic cooking strategy for him. My plan is to tell him to buy some kind of protein (pork chops, chicken, beef, etc.), season with the "quad" (kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder) and throw it in either the crock pot (with some liquid like chicken broth or salsa) or on the George Foreman indoor grill I gave him. Serve with whatever vegetables he can eat raw or steam quickly. Done.
Protein does not have to be meat. A can of beans has plenty of protein. :) And there are many different kinds of beans, so if he doesn't like one kind, there are always others.

Since he has a Foreman grill, you can make it simpler than the "quad". Just a jar of McCormick "grill mates" or something similar. Tacos are easy to make with a seasoning mix. So are hard-boiled eggs which can go into salads. If he hasn't learned to microwave an ear of corn, this can be done while talking on the phone. :)
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soxfan10
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by soxfan10 »

400 is insane. 200-250 depending get on COL is reasonable. Understand if you give more, it's likely it will go to more or better beer.

For background, I'm 30 and as little as 5 years ago spent 35 a week on groceries during law school in DC. I also was lifting four times a week. Unless your son is huge or a scholarship athlete 200 to 250 should afford him plenty. I'd also point out that unless you want him coming to you post graduation for groceries 400 to 450 is just setting him up for unrealistic expectations (wife and I spend 500 or so a month for the two of us and our total comp is in the 300 range).
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by 7eight9 »

Kennedy wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:23 pm OP here. Just spoke with my son who has been away at college for a couple weeks now.

I asked him how things were going as far as cooking. His reply? "Ehh...not so good, Mom. I don't know how you do it."

There are four "boys" living in the apartment. The plan had been for each of them to cook dinner for the household one night a week and then to wing-it for the other three nights. So far, they have either grilled burgers (fine), gone through a burger drive-through (not fine, but whatever) or had frozen pizza.

He pretty much sounded over-whelmed, which is a definite failure to me as his mother. I'm sorry I didn't have him practice "starter meals" a year ago. My bad and a mistake I won't repeat for our other children.

As soon as he sounds approachable on the subject, I'm going to talk basic cooking strategy for him. My plan is to tell him to buy some kind of protein (pork chops, chicken, beef, etc.), season with the "quad" (kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder) and throw it in either the crock pot (with some liquid like chicken broth or salsa) or on the George Foreman indoor grill I gave him. Serve with whatever vegetables he can eat raw or steam quickly. Done.

The problem, I believe, is that he sees me creating more elaborate meals with multiple ingredients, and he thinks him cooking dinner requires the same.

I'm sorry I didn't prepare him earlier...
Jamie Oliver has a book called 5 Ingredients. The link below is to Good Morning America - 3 of his recipes (Easy Sausage Carbonara, Quick Steak Stir-Fry and Crispy Garlicky Chicken).
Link --- https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/food ... r-60214810

We've made a few of the recipes from his book and they are surprisingly simple and tasty and don't require any real culinary skills to prepare. To me they would be ideal for a college student.
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by FireProof »

CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:38 am 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.
Huh? Pasta costs like 40c a pound. So that's like 40c for 1700 calories.

Tomato sauce is also around 40c a pound, 40c for like 300 calories.

Are you buying like an individual pack of pasta and sauce from a prepared food section?
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by fru-gal »

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.
I would prefer my kids, if I had any, to spend their time in college studying rather than working at a job that would result in learning less, lowering their grades, making their admission to grad school, if pertinent, less likely.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by fru-gal »

researcher wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:12 am
LiterallyIronic wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:54 am Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all composed of two bowls of cereal, every day for years.
What was your rationale fore eating nothing but cereal for every meal, every day, for years?
If this actually happened, LiterallyIronic would have rickets, scurvy, etc.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by stoptothink »

fru-gal wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:09 pm
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.
I would prefer my kids, if I had any, to spend their time in college studying rather than working at a job that would result in learning less, lowering their grades, making their admission to grad school, if pertinent, less likely.
Good for you, if that is how you feel and can afford it. There are many many many of us on this board who have different experiences. Check out this thread for just a few of them viewtopic.php?t=281533 .
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by surfstar »

CoastalWinds wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:34 pm $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).
I didn't get a dime for college and ate tons of hot pockets. Can't say I'm bitter or impacted, health-wise.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by KyleAAA »

$400/month seems reasonable for a college student. Those eating on a lot less probably have a lot more free time on their hands to prepare meals. When I was in college, 100 hour weeks were routine during crunch time and there’s no way I would have bothered cooking anything taking more than 2 minutes to prepare when my portion of a group project was due at 3 am.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by fru-gal »

livesoft wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:04 pm
CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:17 am ... and in every grocery store I’ve been in (not WF), apples (gala, red, Fuji) are 1.99-3.99/lb (not organic), average 2.99/lb. this includes Costco (wholesale bulk price). So 1/3 x 2.99 = 0.99. And... is this apple to be the entire meal? Or do you get your main course protein and beverage for $0.01?
Organic Gala apples are 9 for $2.99 at my Kroger. I've been eating one a day for weeks. Fresh corn on the cob is 7 ears for $1. Along with some other things I've eaten a whole ear (microwaved in the husk) most days for lunch this week. Tomatoes are 88 cents a lb or about 15 to 20 cents each, so I eat one for lunch, too.
i just checked peapod, which is the cheapest way to buy groceries here excluding the pickup fee. Instead of your nine organic galas for $2.99, nine organic galas are $5.99. instead of your seven ears of corn for $1, five ears of corn are $3.99 (don't you put butter on the corn??) Instead of your a lb of tomatoes for 88 cents, a lb of tomatoes is $3.99.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by livesoft »

Of course I put a small amount of butter on the corn equivalent to half a pat of butter that you might get in a diner. Doesn't everybody just rub it on directly from the stick? Don't create a dirty knife to be washed if you don't have to.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by ThatGuy »

livesoft wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:39 pmSo are hard-boiled eggs which can go into salads.
Hard-boiled eggs in salad are a delicious way to get some filling protein into a salad.

Cook your eggs in a rice cooker, they come out softer. Bonus points for standing them upright with an egg rack.
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Re: College age male: How much money for food?

Post by Wakefield1 »

Can't remember for sure but a certain U. had a meal ticket plan in the early 1970s that offered 3 meals/day 5 days/week (no weekend) might have been about $400. for the whole academic year!
Kids got unlimited milk,unlimited cottage cheese (which was noted and exploited by kids that frequented the weight room at the gym-each meal was open for about a 2 hour period so kids didn't have to be there at an exact time
in addition the U. had snack bars where people could eat on weekends (except for certain holidays and then I think the snack bar near/in the Hospital/School of Medicine remained open
those snack bars had 4 ounce and 8 ounce beef patties and "cube steaks" that put the fare at the place with the Golden Arches to shame. Also real milk shakes that didn't have air and emulsifier among their main ingredients.
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