My oldest ventured off to her freshman year of college a couple years ago. Lets call her O. O’s a responsible girl having never gotten herself into any serious trouble while in high school. Her worst crime was forgetting to check in with her father or me after arriving at a destination. O has been working after school and on weekends part time since she was fifteen. So, all and all, she’s a pretty good kid that has made responsible choices throughout her high school career.
The college O is attending offers on-campus apartment housing in lieu of traditional dorms. A full kitchen is standard in these apartments as they would be in any off-campus apartment. This allows kids to cook for themselves, making meal plans optional. I did the math. The price per meal with the college-offered meal plan is $7. Call me crazy but that seems a little high. We decided it would be better for O to take advantage of her full kitchen and cook for herself.
Because of O’s history, her father and I chose to give her an allowance. She would receive a deposit into her account bi-weekly during the first semester. She was under no pressure to find part time employment during this time. The money we deposited was to cover gas, groceries, and fun. She quickly learned she would like to have as much money as possible for fun and spend as little as possible for food. That’s when she asked me to create some super low cost meal plans for her.
I quickly obliged her request. Some people knit or scrapbook as a hobby. I make meal plans with price goals in mind. You can add weirdo to the list of appropriate words to describe me.
Here’s the first meal plan I sent her. It’s a two week meal plan that leaves one dinner out each week. We figured she would eat out at least once per week. We would soon learn she would be eating out for free more often. Many of the local churches offer bible study groups for college age students during the evening. Dinner is included. O enjoys bible studies so this was a win-win for her. The Baptist Student Union also provides free lunches accompanied with a Christian musical performance on Wednesdays.
Of course, this is an Aldi meal plan because I have a love of Aldi. Prices vary by store and season.
Breakfast is either yogurt or an English muffin
Lunch is leftovers or ramen noodles
Grilled chicken and veg over rice with soy sauce x3
Grilled cheese and tomato soup x3
Spaghetti with ground turkey x3
Shredded chicken with taco seasoning and cheese quesadillas
Cheese and veg quesadillas
Ground turkey, veg, and rice with soy sauce
Ramen noodles $2
Bag of rice 1
Chicken breasts (3 lb bag-divide into 4 meals) 6
Bag of frozen veg (2 bags-divide into 5 meals ) 4
Soy sauce 1
American cheese slices .99
Loaf of bread .89
Tomato soup (3 cans x .59) 1.77
Yogurt 3.12 (8 yogurts @ .39) 3.12
English muffins .99
Spaghetti noodles 2.97
Spaghetti sauce 2.97
Ground turkey (2 lbs. Use 1/2lb per meal) (1.89 x 2) 3.78
Taco seasoning packets (.35 x 2) .70
Cheddar cheese block 1.89
Bag of apples or other fruit for snacking 2
Microwave popcorn for snacking 1