Exploring food options while tight on cash

Michael Patton, Staff Writer

Sustaining a relatively dignified quality of life that on just a few dollars per day can be a challenge. A recent week-long exploration of daily spending habits involved with living on a 2000-calorie daily diet, maintaining an 18 credit class load, and spending no more than $20 a day allowed for the discovery of a few ways to save money this semester. The four major factors in this exploration are transportation, stimulation, physical health and nourishment.

Madison College provides students with a bus pass and a OneCard. The OneCard grants free access to the school’s fitness center, free movie rentals in the library, and a 10 percent discount on cafeteria food purchases.

On the first day, breakfast was skipped at home and a $2.39 cup of coffee was purchased in the cafeteria. For the cup of coffee at home, after the initial cost of the coffee maker, reusable cups, filters and the coffee itself, the rate amounts to 33 cents per day. Compare that with a large single black coffee bought at school amounting to $2.39. The same black coffee had a difference of $2.06.

The bus pass allows the user unlimited access Madison Metro buses, compared to paying $2 each ride without a bus pass. The cost of driving to class for a three month semester comes to $18.50 a day, considering the cost of gas, car payments, insurance costs and required government fees. Clearly, bus rides are more cost effective.

Stopping at a fast-food chain like McDonalds for the standard breakfast or lunch averages to about $15 a day, with a calorie intake well above 1,340. Nourishment and nutrition was found on campus. At under $10 a meal, food was reasonable in price while staying within 1,340 daily calories.

Instead of paying $30 to $60 a month for a gym membership, students can get the same workout with a personal trainer at Madison College.

There are many different avenues for saving money on campus, from renting out movies at the library, to using the lounge to relax and read, to using your laptop to listen to music and play games. With a little effort, saving money on campus can be done. With some choices and determination, a person can maintain a quality of life; at the same time, the student should have some left over cash in the pocket.