Thrifty College Days, or Why I Can’t Eat Chicken Pot Pie

I am a thrifty person by nature. Well, by nurture, really. That’s what you get for growing up in a Dutch household.

Ask Spencer – I’ll spend forever in the grocery store, making sure we’re really getting the most out of our money. I have a considerably bigger budget to work with than I had as a single college student, but the amount of money we spend on food each month blows my mind. We don’t eat out too often, and I don’t cook extravagant meals, but somehow we can manage to spend hundreds of dollars on food for just the two of us.

So, when he leaves on a trip, I see it as a way to cut down on eating expenses. I don’t really like cooking for one, so I take my geo-bachelorette self to the grocery store for a trip down memory lane.

In college, I used to be able to provide for myself on about $150 a month. With what I was paying for gas for work and tuition, I couldn’t afford a whole lot more than that. That $150 included food, toiletries, and coffee.eating out money. I could get creative, but eating in Seattle on that much money was a real pain.

For instance, when I lived in my hoity-toity hotel apartment with my roommate Gen, we’d have to buy things like toilet paper. Well, if it was midweek, or a week after tuition was due…or really, just a week, we’d have to get creative. I can’t tell you how many times I took half-finished toilet paper rolls from the Seattle Pacific University Library. For whatever reason, SPU removes the rolls from the tp-box once they roll down to half, and just place them on the box. Whatever, SPU. Free toilet paper!

I also bought one of those nifty reusable $1 Starbucks cups, and would bring it to the cafe in Weter Hall and ask for hot water. I’d use a tea bag from home, and I was ready for an all-nighter. If you went really close to closing time, you could also get a really stale pastry for free.

Most lunches were eaten on-the-go. I’d get out of class and rush to my job nannying the cutest kids in Seattle. B’s mom would pack me lunch him an entire sack of snacks. Don’t worry, he got fed. But between throwing a tantrum because I parked too far from school or tossing out snacks because they were “hot hot hot” or had chocolate, he never really ate what was provided. Sometimes, if preschool had been cancelled for the day, we’d get a little extra spending money for donuts at Top Pot. I was living large on those days. There were very few days that I had to buy something to eat for lunch, and I mastered the art of living off of two meals a day.

Dinner often consisted of something healthy, frozen, and cheap from Trader Joes. I also bought those microwavable Banquet chicken pot pies. They were usually around 69 cents, but occasionally they would go for 50 cents. My last quarter at SPU was filled with those monstrosities. October was around the time that tuition had to be paid, so I grabbed 14 pies to last me for dinner the last half of the month. That flimsy, thin crust…molten lava gravy…not quite chicken chicken… I still gag when I see them in stores. In fact, I have gone an entire year without eating a chicken pot pie.

Your "chicken" chunks were never that big!

Your “chicken” chunks were never that big!

While my toilet paper stealing days are behind me, my cheap bachelorette dining ways are not. Spencer has been gone for a week now, and I’ve spent maybe $20 on groceries. Of course, 4 of those days had microwave burritos on the menu, two had mac and cheese, and one was most definitely chicken soup from our hurricane kit. I also bought some chips for snacking, and some Bolthouse Farms drinks, because I’m pretty sure I’m not getting enough protein.

Other stuff I’m not getting? Fruits and Veggies. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have scurvy before this TDY is over.

Send help or vegetables – either works.

One thought on “Thrifty College Days, or Why I Can’t Eat Chicken Pot Pie

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