The Money Challenge: Food

I consider myself as someone who generally spends their money wisely, but recently I’ve come to realise that I spend a little more than I’d like on food. Girl’s gotta eat, right? Food for uni, snacks here and there, the occasional meal out…


Over the years, I haven’t thought about bringing food to uni because I travel more than an hour into the city and prefer food that hasn’t been squashed between my laptop, jumper and umbrella. I also love the variety of choices at Courtyard and Parma.

So what brought about this sudden change?

  1. After seeing my friends consistently bring in their own food, I wanted to challenge myself to cut down the number of times I buy my lunch. I’ve already been bringing in my own snacks so I’m sure this is doable. It’ll help me justify spending a couple of dollars on a chai latte or Coke Zero before a two-hour lecture in the afternoon.
  2. I was exposed to the idea that money buys happiness if you spend it on experiences and experiential products. But if you have certain experiences too regularly, they can be less gratifying (van Boven, 2003). I’m a creature of habit who could do with less eating out. A cold sandwich is great, but it doesn’t matter to me in a week’s time. I’ve always thought that buying food was a necessity but it does add up. Let’s look at the numbers: If I’m spending on average $40 a week, that’s $520 a semester. What if on half of the days I make tuna sandwiches and buy lunch just twice a week instead? I could save about $260. That’s more than enough to go to another music festival or do high tea for my friends’ birthdays.
  3. I don’t need to grab dinner with friends every time I see them. Lunch or drinks are nicer on the bank account.
  4. I created a basic line chart on Excel comparing my wages and expenses. There are some things I’d like to tweak and since I’m saving up for a big purchase before the end of the year, I want to exercise a bit more restraint with my money. A few of my friends are quite frugal so hopefully some of that rubs off on me!

The plan:

  • Make sandwiches twice a week
  • Only buy hot/cold drinks if I absolutely need to
  • Don’t have dinner and drinks – choose one or the other, or alternatively go for coffee with friends

It shouldn’t be too hard right? I’ll check back with you in two weeks!



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