Tips to Save Your Wallet From Starving Because of Your Hungry Stomach
By Regina Moreno Hernandez
Tired of spending hundreds of dollars on groceries? The BCC Voice went on a hunt to find the best prices for the food students want.
If paying for college isn’t expensive enough, college students face another problem: eating healthy on a budget. Food prices in the Bay Area are high, sometimes even unaffordable. Yoseph Alkahli, who is majoring in accounting said, “Prices [are] slowly increasing, making it hard for college students to survive.”
Another student, Peter Chung, said, “Food prices are related to increasing housing prices in [the] Bay Area, due to gentrification.”
Concerned about this issue, the BCC Voice asked students to list the basics inside their refrigerators and pantries necessary to survive through school, so we could find out where to get the best deals. Rice is one of the most common products, along with chicken, fruits and veggies, eggs, milk, fish, and ingredients to make sandwiches. A majority of the students follow a regular diet and consider themselves to eat healthy.
Many students complained about how ridiculously high food prices are. Fareeza Ali, who is majoring in Political Science, lived in another city before, and said she expected produce to be cheaper in California. Unfortunately, she was wrong.
Students spend between $200 and $450 per month on food, an amount that doesn’t include all the times they eat outside of their home. Even though most try to have at least half of their meals be homemade, some of them have to work a lot (to pay those big bills), while others are still living with their parents.
In order to come up with advice, we went to three different grocery stores with our shopping list compiled from students’ responses, to find out which is the best option for their wallets. These were our results:
Berkeley Bowl: $196.54
Trader Joe’s: $146.18
We also asked an employee from each location what some of the possible advantages are when buying from their store. A woman who works at Safeway said it is a “convenient” place to buy and it’s easy to get there. On the other hand, a crew member from Trader Joe’s said they offer “quality customer service,” they also have great prices (the reason why they don’t offer discounts), and they’re well located. Finally, a person working in customer service at Berkeley Bowl, said the advantage of buying there is their variety, quality, quantity, price, and the fact that they have fresh products.
One of the main differences between their prices is how much fresh produce costs. Even though Trader Joe’s has the best prices, Berkeley Bowl has more variety in its products and fresh fish, meat and chicken. Also, they have a section where they sell soups, Chinese food, and burritos.
Finding the best prices is not easy, but there are better ways to shop. For example, Sharon G. said she shops at various places to get the best prices. While another student recommended buying in bulk at Costco.
None of these grocery stores offer discounts for students. However, Berkeley Bowl has monthly sales, and Safeway has a Club Card and an app called “Just for You,” where students can find discounts.