Tag Archives: food

Top 10 Places for a $10 or Less Lunch during Spring Break

13 Mar

www.purdue.edu/mymoney

Purdue Dining Courts will be CLOSED during break, so here is our Top 10 list of ways to feed yourself if you are eating your lunch out.

I love having other people make me food, but I hate the price that comes with it. When I go out to eat I want good food and a lot of it, but I like to keep the price as low as possible. I’m sure all of you college students can relate to not wanting to pay a lot for food but still getting to enjoy your food.  My Top Ten restaurants in the West Lafayette area list is focused on what I enjoy: massive quantities of delicious food for cheap.

1-4: Giant Burrito Distributors

Big Bean Burrito

Here in West Lafayette alone we have 4 burrito restaurants (ranked in order of my personal favorites) Qdoba, Moe’s, Chipotle, and La Fiesta Burrito. The best thing about a burrito restaurant is that you get A LOT of food for a pretty good price. The big bonus at Moe’s and La Fiesta Burrito is the unlimited free chips and salsa with your purchase. Qdoba and Chipotle offer chips and salsa as separate side items, but will give you a free small drink with your student ID.

5&6: Sub Shops

There are a lot of sub shops in the area, but I only really like two of them: Subway and Jimmy John’s.

Both have great aspects about them:

subway sub

Subway: $5 foot-long months, huge variety of sandwich combinations, and unlimited topping choices. Be sure to get 10% off your sandwich with your student ID!

Jimmy John’s: that SMELL, delicious giant pickles, classic sandwiches, and their freaky fast service.

Subs are a pretty generic food option; but, there are lots of sub choices, lots of flavor, and lots of food. As college students, we are focused on getting the most bang for our buck, and you definitely get this at either of these delicious sub shops.

7: Dairy Queen & Panda Express

DQ – Right in the Chauncey Mall and great for more than just ice cream. My personal favorite is their $5 Buck Lunch with a burger, fries, drink and, of course, ice cream sundae. It’s not a $5 deal but the Flamethrower Burger is huge and incredibly delicious.

Panda – Something I never tried until I went to college (true story). Now I can’t get enough of their orange chicken. If you’ve never had it, do yourself a favor and stop by this week.

8: Von’s Dough Shack

Located right next to Von’s Book Store, this tiny shack serves up HUGE calzones. They have 40 different options listed on their menu and a variety of sides to choose from. The last time I ate lunch there, I was so full I didn’t eat supper that night. Now, that’s a restaurant that’s worth paying for.

9: Packing Your Lunch

paper packed lunch

It’s not very cool, but it is economical, and it’s what I do almost every day. Packing your lunch costs you what you would usually pay in groceries, a few extra minutes in the kitchen, and possibly the price of a lunch box and/or portable food containers. The start-off cost is more than ten dollars, sometimes, but if you divide it over every day that you pack your lunch, you are saving a TON of money. This is even easier if you have leftovers from dinner the night before. Just reheat the next day and you just made the effort/ cost of one meal into two.

10: KFC Buffet

The lunch buffet on Mondays is even cheaper than the rest of the week! Plus, it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet; you can literally eat until you are completely stuffed. The Colonel’s chicken really is the best too. One sneaky student even pointed out that you could potentially sit there all day and eat while studying…  Just an option to keep in mind…

kfc chicken

The Great Debate: Living On-Campus or Off-Campus?

11 Jan

Where you live and who you live with can be one of the most important decisions you make each year. There are benefits and drawbacks of each option, but the best choice varies for each person. Taking stock of what you want in your housing, how you’re paying for it and the various perks it offers can help you find the right spot to call home for the next year.

While residence halls (dorms) are often the go-to for first-year students, they are not mandatory to live in. Apartments and houses are available for incoming students off-campus too, but often you’ll need roommates and finding them when you’ve only been to campus once for a tour can be difficult. But no matter how long you’ve been in school, it’s a decision you have to make every year and a little comparison can only help you make the best choice for you!

living on campus or off campus22.jpg

One of the main differences between living on-campus & off-campus is the distance from your classes and buildings you need to visit. Living on-campus puts you in the closest proximity for getting to your classes, going to the co-rec, or making it to meetings with your advisor. Depending on how far you live off-campus this may or may not be an issue. If you live across the street from campus this is basically on-campus. However, if you’re a ways away you’ll have to rely on the buses, biking in, driving (if you’re quite a distance away), or just hoofing it. Unfortunately all of these options become a lot less fun when the weather goes cold.

Comparing prices between on-campus and off-campus can be difficult since there’s a wide range for both choices and difference in how you have to pay for them. On-campus residence halls and apartments are generally going to cost you more than living off-campus. However, the big difference many people neglect is how you pay for them. Payment for your housing (and meal plan) is due at beginning of the semester along with your tuition if you live on-campus. If you live off-campus in a house or apartment you will be making a payment each month. These monthly payments are typically much easier to pay out of pocket rather than having to come up with a whole semester’s housing all at once.

If you’re living off-campus, you’ll also want to pay attention to your utility bills in addition to your rent – a problem that living on-campus doesn’t have as it’s a fixed rate. Paying for things like heat, electricity and internet can bust your budget if you had not factored them in. Additionally your laundry situation can involve many things including nothing in your place, having coin-operated machines, or even the mythical free-to-use machines in a place where you don’t have to pay utilities.

One cost that you’ll have to pay for whether you live on or off-campus is your food. There’s no difference in the rates for meal plans where you live, but if you don’t live close to campus your plans to eat every meal in a dining hall probably won’t end up happening. As previously mentioned, your cost for a meal plan is due up-front at the beginning of the semester. Even if you have a meal plan it definitely won’t be your source for 100% of your food as you’ll probably buy snacks, go out to eat at a restaurant or grab food to go from another source at some point.

Possibly the biggest make-or-break part of anywhere that you live is your roommate. Rooming with someone you never met, or even your best friend, can be extremely difficult. Whether it’s sleeping a few feet from them in a dorm room or just sharing a kitchen and living room in an apartment, roommate issues are a frequent source of contention. While you do have the option to have your own place, it comes at a considerable cost both on and off campus. The showering situation in the residence halls might get a bit of flack but sharing a shower with a few of your friends and not cleaning it properly or often enough can make its own frightful situation.

The last major consideration is whether you plan on being around during the summer for classes, internships/ jobs, or just because. Most off-campus contracts are year-round so if you’re splitting back to your family’s home once classes end you’ll still be paying for your place at school. However, living in a residence hall and having summer classes can put you in a spot in having to find a sublease too. While it’s not usually too hard to find options since so many students would rather have someone sublet from them than have to pay their rent during the summer it’s not always the easiest to find a perfect situation to slide into.

Remember, you can use your financial aid to pay for living both on and off-campus! If you live on-campus you’re billed for housing along with tuition and it is due when classes start. This makes it extremely important to have your aid lined up for the beginning of the semester. If your aid doesn’t cover everything that you owe, you’ll need to find a way to cover the difference or create a payment plan with the Bursar’s Office. Any extra aid above what you are billed (whether you live on or off-campus) will be refunded to you. If you’re living off-campus it’s usually a good plan to put this toward your rent. Paying ahead can be great for lifting any worries for a while, just be sure to get a receipt if you do!

Food, Perfect to Give AND Receive

1 Dec

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

Yay for the Holidays! There is all the delicious food, holiday cheer, a break from classes, and of course presents! While it’s always awesome getting presents, giving presents can sometimes be a little more challenging; no one said finding the perfect gift was easy! There are always tons of cheap ideas on Pinterest if you want to make something hand-made. Goodwill and the Salvation Army always have really neat things too. On a more personal level though, one staple gift I always give is good food and a good time! We are college kids so money can be super tight. Personally, I never turn down free food. And you can always be sure it’s a gift people will actually use and enjoy.

Are you the most popular person on campus? While it’s wonderful having all of those friends, buying gifts for all of them could put a major strain on your budget. While some people choose to select only a few people to buy gifts for, others may want to be more inclusive. Cookies to the rescue! Cookies are great for several reasons. There are lots of different varieties, but most have the same basic ingredients so making a bunch of different types isn’t too difficult. Plus, you can make very large batches fairly quickly. Personally, I couldn’t shop for 10 people in 2 hours, but I can make enough cookies in that time frame. Depending on the recipe, you can make even more than that! Getting a lot done in a short amount of time is always a great thing.

2 cupcakes on a plate: text overlay  Food: the perfect gift to give...and receive!

Another option: Host a Christmas dinner party. A well-cooked ham or turkey can feed several people. While there is a bit more involved, a delicious entrée is just an oven and a couple hours away! People can get homesick and nothing quite compares to a well home cooked meal, especially after months of cafeteria food. You can also choose to have a potluck so others can get involved!  Plus, left overs are a major added bonus. So not only are you giving a great gift and having a good time with friends, now you have dinner or lunch made for a while.

Are you looking for something a little more personal and one-on-one? There is an old saying that a way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. Perhaps you can make a pie to start a conversation with that cute somebody, or a cake to go with that coffee date. Romantic dinner for two anyone? One of the great things about food is it’s versatile for large groups, or just a special someone.

If you’re still not sold, nothing gives parents the warm fuzzies quite like having a break. Offer to help with that big Christmas dinner, or even cook some dinners for them. There are several crock-pot recipes and dishes you can prepare the night before so that on Christmas morning, after all the gifts have been unwrapped there is a hot delicious breakfast waiting. After all that excitement, who wouldn’t be famished?

Not all of us are fantastic cooks ( guilty, but I can follow a recipe). For people out there who need some guidance, Pinterest, Google, and Food Network are great, free places to get recipes and ideas. So who knows, maybe you’ll even surprise yourself with a hidden gem. It could be a favorite family recipe that is about to be passed on to one more generation. Food is a great gift to give on the holidays. And nothing quite compares to seeing the happiness on another’s face when giving a gift.

Throwing a Fun Friendsgiving

15 Nov

 

thanksgiving friendsgiving leader22.jpg

Thanksgiving may be one of the few times of the year that you and your friends are going to be somewhat near each other. This makes it an opportune time to get a ‘Friendsgiving’ together and enjoy each other’s company for possibly the only time during the year. If your friends don’t already have this tradition, you’ll probably have to host the first one to get the ball rolling. But don’t fear, done correctly Friendsgiving can be a fun and low-stress opportunity to get together with your best friends.

The best way to optimize the fun-factor while keeping your actual work level low? Make it a pot-luck where everyone has to bring something. Whether it’s a side of green beans, a box of wine, or someone wants to volunteer to make the main course, everything is welcome! Be sure to coordinate who brings what though, so that four people don’t all bring those canned cranberries. This could be done with a Facebook event, or just keeping a spreadsheet of what people tell you. Typically there is far more than enough food to go around, so if one person shows up empty handed for some reason try not to lay into them too much.

If it’s your first rodeo (or even if it’s not), avoiding turkey is probably a good plan. Most people are getting their annual fill on the day of Thanksgiving and don’t desire any more. Plus, the amount of people who aren’t that crazy for turkey is pretty high considering we have a day that’s reserved for feasting on it.Friendsgiving1.jpg

Something you do not want to forget is dishes and glasses. If you don’t have enough plates for people to eat off of, you’re going to have issues. An easy workaround? Paper plates! You don’t have to buy extra plates just for this one event and, more importantly, there are less dishes for you to do. Just be sure that you have enough drinking glasses for people as they might use more than one if they switch up their drinks.

Speaking of drinks, make sure you have plenty of ice! What’s in your two ice trays isn’t going to cut it. Whether people are drinking water, lemonade, or even a mixed drink, having ice is important. So go to the gas station, spend $5.00 for a couple bags of ice and call this one good. Have someone coming who is a terrible cook? Let them be in charge of bringing the ice.

Another important, and possibly awkward part, is figuring out who your invite list will include. Depending on the size of Friendsgiving you are having, there might just be your core group of friends or it might get larger. Either way, be sure to include people’s significant others. If you don’t, you’re putting them in a spot where they have to ask you if they can come or your friend will just skip so they aren’t ditching their boy/girlfriend. If your invite list is getting larger, just make sure there aren’t any obvious interpersonal conflicts you’re creating or that there is anyone you are totally missing from the invite list. You can’t have everyone over, but there might be some people upset they didn’t get the chance to join.

Another important group to keep happy is other people’s parents. How might you fail to do this? Not letting your friends know of Friendsgiving ahead of time. If you spring this idea up last minute and a friend comes over when one of their parents had planned for super special bonding time, it doesn’t matter if there was a lack of communication. Parental wrath will ensue in some fashion. So avoid this, and other potential conflicts, by planning it out ahead of time.

The most important thing? Have fun! Friendsgiving is supposed to be a time to see your pals and catch up while reminiscing on that embarrassing thing that happened 3 years ago. The more stress you can avoid while putting this all together, the better. As host your job is to provide a location and some planning but don’t feel like everything is on your shoulders. Just remember that you don’t need to be replicating a massive family-style event to have a successful time with your best friends.

Healthy Eating on a College Budget

29 Sep

Heather Kessler, Purdue University Alumna
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

healthy-eating-on-college-budget

Is it really possible to eat healthy while on a small college budget? There are many guides on the internet offering advice on this topic. I’ve gone ahead and broken down a few of the most common suggestions.

1)      Always have low-budget healthy staples on hand.  This is just a small list of what can be helpful to have in the pantry or fridge at all times.

list of healthy foods

2)      Have a plan before you shop.

  • Check to see what is on sale that week at local grocery stores, and what coupons are available
  • Make a menu for the next week (or two)
  • See what you already have in stock in your kitchen
  • Make a list of the other items you need
  • Stick to that list while shopping for items
  • Try to stay around the perimeter of the grocery store as this is where the healthy produce tends to be.  The aisles usually contain items that have been processed and are not very healthy.

grocery store producs

3)      If you struggle with buying more when you have a card, plan how much you are willing to spend ahead of time and get just that amount in cash.  This will help you keep to your pre-determined budget and be less likely to overspend.

4)      For fruits and vegetables try to stick with what is in season and on sale, as it will keep the prices down.  Frozen vegetables are also good to use and will keep longer (and can usually be found at lower prices than fresh vegetables).  Canned is okay, but they tend to use more preservatives in the canning process.

5)      For lean protein on a budget, try to stay with white meats.  Chicken and turkey are both great options.  If you are willing to spend a little more money, salmon or tilapia offer wonderful health benefits.

6)      Whole grains offer the most nutrition for the dollar with items such as bread or pasta.  Try to avoid white bread and pasta since they are processed and most of their nutrients have been taken out.

Try not to waste any of the food you have, you invested good money into those items and they should be used.  If you need ideas on different entrees to make with the same ingredients Pinterest or The Food Network have many different ideas and they are easy to navigate through.  Here’s to healthy eating and more money in your bank account!

Green & Leafy: Vegetables and Your Wallet

2 Jul

Amanda Hart – Food Lover, FACS Teacher, Purdue Alum
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

chopped vegetables; text overlay: green & leafy: vegetables and your wallet

How many times have you gotten up and checked your fridge, only to realize its shelves are just as empty as they were 15 minutes ago? At this point, most people would just order take out and call it a day. But not you, my friend! You are an adult! Well, you did cry at the end of Toy Story 3, but that’s no big deal! Now’s the time to get up, get yourself to the store and buy food that’s good for you. (No, a box of macaroni and cheese doesn’t count as “good for you”.)

You make it to the market, you grab your trusty basket and head to the produce section, only to be greeted with a wall of…. well…. green things. Why is it all so leafy? What the heck is kale anyway? This place looks odd, foreign, alien almost. Don’t lose hope, my friend! Just pick up a few vegetables that are in season and you’ll be good to go. Using produce that is in season is one of the easiest ways to get high quality food for a lower price. This means it’s good for you, and your wallet too!

Eat Locally & Seasonally

When you eat foods that are in their growing season, you get the peak flavor, texture and nutritional content that piece of food has to offer. That’s the whole point of eating after all; to get your body the nutrition it needs and to have fun while doing it.  If you have a choice, try to pick foods that were grown and processed within the Midwest, or ideally here in Indiana. Pay attention to the displays in the grocery store and they’ll tell you where your food comes from.

Now you know what food is local, but how do you know what’s in season? Option one: Find an app. There are a few choices, just search for a seasonal fruit and vegetable app and you’ll find something that gives you a general breakdown of what foods are prime produce each month. . Otherwise you could get a handy-dandy chart like this one found at Cooksmarts.com:

seasonal vegetable chart

 

In Indiana, our summer produce includes carrots, asparagus, cucumber, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, corn, zucchini and summer squash, eggplant and green beans and a variety of greens. Since we have these vegetables in such large quantities, the price is SUPER low when they are in season. Good luck trying to get fresh corn in January for $3 a dozen.

Check Out Farmers Markets

The Lafayette area has a couple of great  farmers markets that run from May-October. They have a great selection of local produce, meats, baked goods, jams, craft jewelry, coffee and so much more. The growers are super friendly, and they enjoy talking about the items they’ve put so much time and effort into growing. They are great at giving advice on how to prepare or store their produce.  It’s my favorite place to spend a Saturday morning.

Try Something New

So, what should you make? Look, I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed with new things. And let’s face it, some vegetables just look weird. Your job now is to pick one new thing and try it out. If you bought produce, but you don’t know what to do with it, check out The Produce Mom or Epicurious for ideas. One of my favorite websites is Cooking for Engineers. Even though I am in no way an engineer, I like how the recipes are in a step by step pictorial layout and in chart form. You can also just Google the list of foods in your fridge/pantry and see what comes up.

If you are a picky eater or are in charge of cooking for one, your goal #1 is to hide those vegetables! Check out this tomato sauce recipe from Jamie Oliver. If you put it on baked spaghetti squash, you won’t even realize it isn’t your normal pasta meal.  If you are looking for more up-front, in-your-face kind of dish, try a simple cabbage salad as a side dish, a stir fry or a vegetable soup as your dinner one night. Throw a handful of spinach in your morning smoothie, or even cook some vegetables in with your ramen noodles for lunch. The point is, a wonderful, veggie filled future awaits if you’ll just take a bite.

How to Make This Valentines Day Yours!

12 Feb

Written by: Purdue Student, Valentine’s Ninja
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

Dwight from the Office: Do you have a date for Valentines Day? Yes. February 14th.

Valentine’s Day!  A holiday that triggers excitement (or disgust) in many Americans. Or maybe you feel both? You just succeeded in manifesting the overall theme of one of the most confusing and expensive (both emotionally and financially) holidays within American culture!

But the thing is, it’s not rough because there is heartbreak and disappointment (although this may be the case for some striving to emerge from their cocoon of singledom). It’s rough because of the cultural and social pressure; roles must be played, customs must be adhered to, very “special” and specific and mass-produced things must be purchased… All of which you are constantly reminded (by TV ads and the local pharmacy) to adhere to. And in the end you may find yourself not entirely satisfied by the result.

So why not make this Valentine’s Day your Valentine’s Day instead of the typical Hallmark holiday? You may ask, “How could I possibly do that?!”

Here are just some ideas to make Valentine’s Day about your love and only your love. And keep in mind, we aren’t just talking romance love; we’re talkin’ friendship, kinda friends, frenemies, relatives, mom, dad, and of course cats (Don’t claw me, Mr. Snuggles! You were first in my mind!).

First off, food is a major love igniter for any person worth loving; this is basic human nature. The major question is: what types of foods would be appropriate for your target Valentine? Some ideas could include the following:

valentines sweets galore

Photo by: momendeavors.com

Yeah, you’re not making anything that is in that picture. Let’s be honest. None of us are that fancy.

  • Want to make your own candy hearts and send messages to your Valentine of choice? There’s a recipe for that! Not sure what to put on them? Try fitting these fancy quotes!
  • What’s that dessert people on TV always mention? Tiramisu! Make this and one-up your roomie, who insists that their love life is better than yours (but you know it’s not because you’ve caught them in the library more than once when they were “on a date”).
  • Death by Chocolate!
  • More ideas can be found here and here because writing this is making me hungry!

If you are against giving candy, then you are amongst the long dead of the past (congrats!). That is, giving candy for Valentine’s Day was not really the custom in most Western societies until the 1840’s when sugar stopped being reserved for the beautifully bustled upper-class. (You just got hit with a FUN FACT, tell your friends.)

Grumpy Cat: Be Your Valentine? No.Not a cook but don’t mind paper cuts?! Then how about making homemade Valentine’s Day cards or paper flowers or paper cupids arrows?

Want to mix candy and crafts? YOU CAN DO THAT TOO!!! You can substitute whatever candy you want. Personally, I like putting colorful nerds in a small vial or bottle and calling it a love potion (because everyone wants candy and so no one will deny me then, right, Mr. Snuggles?*).

But let’s remember that knowing the force behind the battlefront is just as helpful in determining your next move. So, grab your chosen Valentine and learn together!

Valentine’s Day is filled with all sorts of fun facts, such as that single men tend to outnumber single women (which I am not sure how to take…), and that St. Valentine is the patron saint of “beekeepers and epilepsy”, and passing out takes on a whole new meaning to making someone swoon.

But really, none of this matters at the end of the day when you know that you share a bond with someone (whether it be your lover, spouse, frenemy, or cat) that has outlasted all the challenges faced. Just take Valentine’s Day the same way I do (or don’t, it’s your day!), as an excuse to make dinner for a family I do not typically see.

And just to end on a sweet note (see what I did there?), here are some images and interpretations of Valentine’s Day all around the world.

 

2 cats sitting on stairs

Photo by: Madison Duncan

*Our editors would like to add that while we are all for pets as Valentines (love you, Mr. Snuggles!) we do not endorse giving chocolate or candy to your pets, as that could make them seriously ill.

Food: The Perfect Gift to Give…and Receive!

15 Dec

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

Yay for the Holidays! There is all the delicious food, the holiday cheer, the break from classes, and of course presents! While it’s always awesome getting presents, giving presents can sometimes be a little more challenging; no one said finding the perfect gift was easy! There are always cheap ideas on Pinterest. Goodwill and the Salvation Army always have really neat things too. On a more personal level though, one staple gift I always give is good food and a good time! We are college kids so money can be super tight. Personally, I never turn down free food. And you can always be sure it’s a gift people will actually use and enjoy.

Are you the most popular person on campus? While it’s wonderful having all of those friends, buying gifts for all of them could potentially put a strain on your budget. While some people choose to select only a few people to buy gifts for, others may want to be more inclusive. Cookies to the rescue! Cookies are great for several reasons. There are lots of different varieties, but most have the same basic ingredients, so making a bunch of different types isn’t too difficult. You can make very large batches fairly quickly. Personally, I couldn’t shop for 10 people in 2 hours, but I can make enough cookies in that time frame. Depending on the recipe, you can make even more than that! Getting a lot done in a short amount of time is always a great thing.

2 cupcakes on a plate: text overlay  Food: the perfect gift to give...and receive!

Another option: Host a Christmas dinner party. A well-cooked ham or turkey can feed several people. While there is a little more involved, a delicious entrée is just an oven and a couple hours away! People can get homesick and nothing quite compares to a well home cooked meal. You can also choose to have a potluck so others can get involved!  Plus, left overs are an added side bonus. So not only are you giving a great gift and having a good time with friends, now you have dinner or lunch made for a while.

Are you looking for something a little more personal and one-on-one? There is an old saying that a way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. Perhaps you can make a pie to start a conversation with that cute somebody, or a cake to go with that coffee date. Romantic dinner for two anyone? One of the great things about food is it’s versatile for large groups, or just a special someone.

If you’re still not sold, nothing quite gives parents the warm fuzzies like having a break. Offer to help with that big Christmas dinner, or even cook some dinners for them. There are several crock-pot recipes and dishes you can prepare the night before so that on Christmas morning, after all the gifts have been unwrapped, there is a hot delicious breakfast waiting. After all that excitement, who wouldn’t be famished?

Not all of us are fantastic cooks ( guilty, but I can follow a recipe). And for people out there who need some guidance, Pinterest, Google, and Food Network are great, free places to get recipes and ideas. So who knows, maybe you’ll even surprise yourself with a hidden gem. It could be a favorite family recipe that is about to be passed on to one more generation. Food is a great gift to give on the holidays. And nothing quite compares to seeing the happiness on another’s face when giving a gift.

Dinner Party 101

10 Nov

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

Person filling plate from buffet

Photo by: Jules Morgan

So you want to host a dinner party. Perhaps it’s your turn to do Thanksgiving dinner, or maybe you’re just wanting a good time. Don’t stress out! Dinner parties can be a lot of fun, and they don’t need to cost an arm and a leg to have a good time! Below are some tips and ideas on how to stretch a budget and have a fantastic party.

Do you need an appetizer? Depending on the meal, you most likely don’t. But, this is a great way to get others involved! They can bring chips and other snack items for after the meal when you’re playing games or watching a movie. Asking your guests to bring the drinks isn’t always a bad thing, and you can make sure everyone gets something they like. They could want to bring more than chips or a drink though, like a side dish. No one said this couldn’t be a potluck! Never turn down someone bringing free food to a party.sliced bread

If you are having a dinner party, of course there will be dinner. Don’t order take-out! There are recipes on the internet that are just a mouse click away. Cooking at home is always more cost-effective than ordering something. Of course, frozen pizza is always an option, but there are other delicious entrées to try as well. Although pizza is great, certain foods stretch and feed more, while costing less. Some people find it to be more delicious and filling. Pasta is always a cheap food that feeds a lot of people. Somehow, there are always more noodles than there are people. And even if you do happen to run out, it’s a quick 8 minute boil to more noodles.

Looking to host a more formal party? Or, maybe you just want something besides noodles; ramen does get old. Cooking a turkey or ham can feed a lot of people and it’s very filling. It’s usually just some preparation and a quick shove in the oven. Bonuses: Heating up an oven can often heat up an apartment potentially saving you on your heating bill. You also get leftovers which could feed you for a week!

scrabble board

So the food has been eaten, everyone’s happy…. now what? How are you going to entertain those people? There are several options rather than going out and spending money on an activity. Do you have any board games? My personal favorites are Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, and Munchkin. Card games are also great because several people can play at once. Do you own an Xbox Kinect? Nothing gets the group going like Kinect Sports or other Kinect Games! Your whole body is involved, and dancing games are usually a good time and laugh for everyone. For the more restful people, there are always movies: Netflix, YouTube, Red Box, and Hulu are great, cheap options to find videos and movies for entertainment.

Hosting a dinner party can be a lot of fun so don’t stress out; if you can handle finals, you can totally handle this. Just a little bit of planning, and you and your guests can have an awesome time.

Join all the Clubs!

26 Aug

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

club fair

Photo by: Purdue Marketing and Media

The school year is starting and so are clubs callouts. There are tons of options and so many exciting clubs to choose from! I mean, most of us joined a couple of clubs or organizations in high

Photo by: Purdue Marketing and Media

Photo by: Purdue Marketing and Media

school, but there are so many more options at Purdue. It’s practically club-overload.

Going to club call outs are great. Lots of information, meeting new people, and of course FREE food! Most club callouts offer food so take advantage of the deliciousness! But with all these cool options it becomes so easy to forget about two other aspects: time and money.

club dancingJoining a lot of clubs is super fun and a great way to make new friends, but do you have time to join all of these clubs? While it’s exciting to join numerous clubs and meet a lot of other students around campus, you have to remind yourself that you are a student first and foremost. It is important that you are attending classes and passing those classes, so that you are able to graduate with your degree at the end. Otherwise, what is the point of attending a University? Also, financial aid is contingent on you attending class, and passing. If you aren’t going to class, it can impact your financial aid. Dropping classes isn’t so hot either because dropping classes also affects your financial aid. Remember, make sure you’re taking care of yourself as a student first and foremost!

Time can also come into play when balancing club involvement with employment. Most employers don’t want to work around 50 clubs plus classes. How available are you to work a shift? It’s all about your priorities. Being more available to work makes you more marketable and easier to get a job during college. Besides, when we finally graduate, most people want to see experience, especially work experience related to your field. Work experience shows you can work as a team player, demonstrates your work ethic, and allows for practice regarding public and office relations. A club or organization can offer these opportunities, but it does not look as strong on a résumé, and it certainly doesn’t pay you for your involvement.

Color Club

Photo by: Purdue Marketing and Media

Although sky diving sounds amazing, can you really afford to join that club? With club membership club fees and dues follow closely. Then, there are the expenses of clubs you did not plan for. Is there a uniform? How are you traveling to meetings? Do you have to provide anything, such as food or poster materials? It starts to add up, especially if you will be joining multiple clubs or organizations.

Most advisors have a rule of thumb of two or three clubs: one professional, one social, and one for fun. But it’s up to you to decide which clubs best fit. So like all things in life it’s a happy medium. Clubs are full of amazing experience and great opportunities. There so many friends and memories to be made.  Just make sure to balance social vs. academic and be realistic on how much you can take on.

Find a club that interests you! or Follow @Purdueboard

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