After spending over hundreds of dollars on books needed for class, the reality is you’re going to be left with less money in your pockets for food.
Luckily, Mount Pleasant is home to several grocery stores that sell affordable and healthy products. The key to surviving the school year lies in one thing—budgeting.
Human Environmental Studies Associate Professor Wesley Luckhardt shops at a variety of stores due to good sales and quality.
“Kroger brand products tend to be higher quality,” Luckhardt said. “If you’re after produce, I would go to Meijer. They have the better turnover in produce and they have a much more wider variety and they also have some ethnic kind of produce that you won’t see in other stores.”
Luckhardt suggests going to Ric’s Food Center when shopping for meat and surfing the web for coupons to help save a few dollars. Luckhardt agrees coupons are a good way to help budget.
Human Environmental Studies Professor Kara Lynch uses coupons as well. Lynch insists planning is key for making healthy choices and shopping on a budget.
“By planning meals and/or snacks, you can make out a grocery list so that even with few trips to the store, you can make wise choices,” Lynch said in an email. “You can plan your meals around weekly ads that stores post. Clipping coupons is an option, or using online coupon resources. Many supermarkets have their own online weekly coupon programs, such as mPerks through Meijer.”
Planning in advance and working with list is nothing new for junior Rebecca Vander Sluis who is a member of Central Michigan University’s Dietetic committee. The Holland native shops at Aldi, Meijer and Green Tree Co-op. She stretches out her cash by getting frozen fruits and vegetables, not shopping with an empty stomach and buying things in the bulk section over pre-packaged.
“If you buy big pretzels, buying a big bag of pretzels and then putting them in little baggies at home versus buying the individual size will save you a lot of money,” Vander Sluis said.
Several Mount Pleasant residents are currently saving money at this year’s Farmers’ Market. Students can visit the market from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Thursday at Island Park, South Shelter. They can also go to the one on Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. outside City Hall.
The market has a variety of vendors, selling everything from baked goods, bread and cheese to fish, chicken and eggs. The market’s manager, Carol Moody explained why this is a great spot for students to shop and get advice from the vendors who are selling the products.
“I think that’s the cool thing about the market,” Moody said. “You can ask the vendors, ‘How do I prepare this?’ and they’ll often have good ideas for you and recipes and things like that. The other thing is, not only is there fresh fruits and vegetables grown by the farmers, but the price will often be less expensive than you would find at the store.”
Vander Sluis saves money through assigning cooking days between her and her roommates. While one person may cook one day, the other will cook the next day. Vander Sluis agrees it beats eating out and there are several other alternatives to help with budgeting.
“Buying generic brands, packing your own lunch and just making your own food will help you stay healthier and save you a lot of money,” Vander Sluis said.
Photo | Danielle Duval, Photo Editor
This article is amazing and very informative. Now I know some options on how budget and save a few dollars on my food shopping.
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