Free Food Frenzy
If you are a college student, especially a broke college student, there is no shame in taking advantage of FREE FOOD! According to Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, FOOD is one of our basic and most important needs, and FREE just makes food taste better.
On UIUC's campus, students can get a Free Lunch EVERYDAY!!! (UIUC Campus). Search for socials on your schools website, these events tend to involve free food for all students.
If you can't get free, you can still get affordable
Remember your student identification card and keep it handy. Many local businesses and college-sponsored events will offer discounts to students with valid identification.
Whenever possible, make your own meals. Buying fast food may seem like a good economic decision, but, in general, you'll save more money by shopping for groceries and storing them in a dorm refrigerator.
Brown bag it to work. Instead of eating out for lunch, bring your lunch.
For students on an extremely tight budget, meal replacement shakes may be an affordable alternative to expensive take-out food. Disclaimer: Please use discretion when making changes to your diet. Consult a physician before proceeding with alternative eating behaviors.
Next, let’s save on extras:
Share a Meal
Restaurant portions are often huge, so consider splitting a dish with someone else. If you ask, many establishments will even divide your order onto two plates before bringing it out to you. The unexpected bonus for your frugal efforts? Fewer calories and fat grams hitting your waistline.
Go to Church
Become a member of a local house of worship. Most churches enjoy having college-age members and have programs which cater to the needs of young adults. Churches often have the resources to sponsor trips which would ordinarily be out of a typical student's budget. Some offer mid-week meals at a nominal fee.
Punch cards and coupons will be your best friend. Always look for deals on frequent purchases; they add up.
Sources: Frugal Living: A Student Survival Guide; Well Heeled Blog