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Eating on a budget: Students search for deals to save money

College is a great time to experience many new things, but it is also the time many people struggle with financial issues that encompass more than just paying tuition.

Because of the need to pay for costly things such as tuition and housing, many Central Michigan University students work to save money on their grocery bills by shopping at discount food stores and eating at residence hall restaurants.

Many students choose to eat in the residence halls because CMU has many different foods to offer and students don’t actively have to spend money on food.

“I think they have a wide variety of food,” said Dan Weber, a Wisconsin sophomore. “But when I go out with my friends, we usually go to Taco Bell or Subway. Any place cheap.”

Grocery stores around town offer a good chance to save money for anyone, from college students to members of the community. Many restaurants around town also offer affordable food options for those on a budget, from fast-food restaurants to more traditional-styled places.

Some of the most well-known stores around town students shop at to save money are Aldi and Walmart. Other stores in town, like Kroger and Meijer offer deals as well.

Courtney Marble, a Sparta sophomore, said she eats predominantly at the residence hall restaurants, but also eats at restaurants around town like Applebee’s.

“We do the '2 for $20' and half-priced appetizers at Applebee’s,” said Megan Dallape, an Ortonville sophomore. “I wish I didn’t have a budget. I wish I could do whatever, but I can’t."

Aldi is a great place to buy groceries on a budget because they have a good selection of off-brand products. They don’t have a wide variety of perishable things like milk and bread, but it is a good place to pick up frozen food.

Meijer is also a popular place to shop because it offers deals like "10 for $10" and other affordable prices.

“I usually shop at Walmart or Meijer," said Rebecca Hacker, a sophomore and Cass City native. "I only go to the residence halls when I get a free meal. I go out to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings or Olive Garden.”