By Theresa Girard
Instead of eating out multiple times a week, or masking the grumbling in their stomachs by drinking coffee, sophomores Michael Matthews and Mary Flynn have mastered how to cook for themselves without spending a pretty penny.
John Paul the Great Catholic University students are faced with a plethora of unique challenges on the daily, such as: trying to avoid fines by Student Life, and convincing themselves to not transfer. However, there is another challenge JPCatholic students face: eating. Some have adapted to the “no cafeteria” lifestyle better than others.
“I budget myself $25 a week, so $100 a month,” says Mary. When asked where she usually does her grocery shopping, Mary said, “depends on whoever has the cheapest stuff that week. I’ll go between Food for Less, Northgate, Smart and Final, and the 99 Cent[s Only] Store[s].” It does not take most students long to figure out what a godsend the 99 Cents Only Stores is, but Mary is ahead of the game by taking the extra step of going on the different stores’ websites before she makes a grocery run. “You can usually check online and look at sales for the week.”
Mary and Michael say that the best way to shop is to first buy a protein and a carb as your base food. “At the beginning of the quarter I’ll usually buy a 25-pound bag of rice. It’s about 10 dollars, and then also flour”, says Michael, who only spends $50 a month on food. This brings in an added challenge: how to save money on food while not eating the same thing every day. When asked if there was a food that he absolutely cannot eat anymore, Michael said hotdogs without a second of hesitation. “Get a few bases of protein so then you can just mix and match throughout the week,” Mary said when commenting on the topic.
JPCatholic of course is packed with creative minds, and there is no shortage of this when making a desperate attempt to use up food. “I did some weird stuff freshman year,” says Mary. “Once I only had pasta sauce and hotdogs, and I put them together and just ate that.” Michael said, “Usually by the end of the week I have a lot of random things…there have been times where I have thrown ketchup into rice with an egg. There was a moment where I cut up a bunch of carrots and put mustard on it and that was my meal.”
It is probably hard for some people to look at JPCatholic students and not become inspired to create an advertisement on TV that goes something like “for only 10 cents a month, you can save these starving kids,” but hey, at least here, the freshman 15 is the least of the students’ worries.