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College and changes in Food Budget/boys

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Hi everyone,

My dh and I are trying to work the numbers for college as we are receiving some financial aid awards.  Those of you particularly with boys (and non-athletic boys)--was there a change in your food budget monthly and about how much (percentage would probably be most helpful as we live in a HCOL area and it's hard to compare numbers) when your ds went away to college. Conservatively I am thinking the amount we spend will go down 10%--but I may be too conservative or not. . . 

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When DD left for college and DS was still home, the change was not as noticeable.

But DS consumed 50% of our food budget when we were two adults + one male teen. Part of it was that he just ate a LOT (he is an athlete); part of it was that he is a meat eater and with him gone I now rarely buy meat. 

He still comes home each weekend, so it's not like we actually spend only half, but if he didn't come home on weekends, I would estimate a reduction by 50%.

Edited by regentrude
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I can't give you a percentage, but we definitely spent noticeably less on food when DS22 went off to college. He isn't an athlete as in doing an organized, competitive sport, but is very much into physical fitness and runs several miles or works out (or both) every day. He consumes a tremendous number of calories. DH and I are convinced we saved money on his all-you-can-eat meal plan versus feeding him here. DS19 is much more sedentary and we didn't notice anywhere close to the same difference in our food costs when he went to college (and no, we didn't get him the all-you-can-eat plan, either ;)).

Edited by Pawz4me
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Ours went down 25%.  DS is home for 3 weeks and dh is just realizing how much he eats when the food is good. :lol:  I made a 5lb lasagna the other night that would usually last us for at least 3 days, eating the leftovers for lunch or dinner.  The thing is so stuffed with veggies that it hardly fits in the pan.  By the time we got done with dinner that night only 2 slices were left.  I honestly don't know where he puts it! 

 

DS's school requires all freshman to be on the 'all you can eat' dining plan if they live on campus. It's a good thing - I can only imagine how it would be if he was limited.  He doesn't like the food nearly as much, but he'll eat it.  He lamented he hasn't come close to putting on the Freshman 15, which he was so excited for when he heard about it. :laugh: I told him if he didn't spend all his time in the gym his food might have a chance to catch up with him!

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I can't give you a percentage but it was significant. Also things like less gas running him around or him driving himself. (No car at college). We were able to move him to a different "away at college" status on our car insurance. We don't eat out much but one less person on a restaurant tab makes a difference.

 

Our first ds also played a sport that was a money suck. Having him away at college was actually a financial win for us as we have not spent much for his college.

 

We will be sending ds #2 this fall but I don't expect to feel the same savings. He is less expensive to maintain at home and will cost us more to send to school.

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I can't give you a percentage but it was significant. Also things like less gas running him around or him driving himself. (No car at college). We were able to move him to a different "away at college" status on our car insurance. We don't eat out much but one less person on a restaurant tab makes a difference.

 

Our first ds also played a sport that was a money suck. Having him away at college was actually a financial win for us as we have not spent much for his college.

 

We will be sending ds #2 this fall but I don't expect to feel the same savings. He is less expensive to maintain at home and will cost us more to send to school.

 

Yes, on the gas.  He dropped climbing this fall, but we've had to drive twice a week, both ways to drop him off at work (getting his license this spring).   But we won't have his (usual) climbing, Boy Scouts, gas to NYLT, and co-op costs.

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It made little difference to the budget when Calvin went to university. He lives on air and Greek yoghurt. My 93yo mother eats more than he. We rarely eat out

Edited by Laura Corin
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It made little difference to the budget when Calvin went to university. He lives on air and Greek yoghurt. My 93yo mother eats more than he. We rarely eat out

I’m glad you said this, as I was starting to think we were weird. I never noticed a difference in our grocery habits. Maybe we have leftovers more often, and I don’t have to share my Coco Puffs, but that’s about it.
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I was actually thinking about this exact same thing this week!  I was trying to think about how much we would be able to afford to contribute towards college, and I was thinking my grocery bill is probably going to go way down when DS is at college!  I wasn't thinking about other things like gas and insurance, but those are good points too.    

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I can't give you a percentage but it was significant. Also things like less gas running him around or him driving himself. (No car at college). We were able to move him to a different "away at college" status on our car insurance. We don't eat out much but one less person on a restaurant tab makes a difference.

 

Our first ds also played a sport that was a money suck. Having him away at college was actually a financial win for us as we have not spent much for his college.

 

This is what I expect with DS next year, too. I think the cost of the meal plan is going to be basically the same as what I spend now on his food, and the cost of books is about equal to what I've spent per year on outside classes/DE. Next year OSU is giving all freshman a free iPad Pro with keyboard and "smart" stylus, which retails for about $1000, so that saves me the cost of a new laptop (his is pretty old) and mostly offsets airfare for the first year. Savings on gas, insurance, and athletic expenses (lessons, training, competition fees, travel costs, etc., will be covered by OSU once he's there) should come close to offsetting dorm costs, and after freshman year he can move off-campus, which will be considerably cheaper, and those additional savings will probably offset the cost of airfare for years 2-4. Since his tuition is covered by scholarships, I think we will come pretty close to breaking even, at least in the sense that each year of college will cost about the same as what we've spent for each year of high school.

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... before you start counting on having the extra cash laying around...

 

Our boys needed extra money for food in college. Until they reached about 22/23 years of age, the boys ate more than 3 squares a day. Younger son (20) is in his senior year of undergrad, and the dining hall is closed by 7:30 PM. He tends to eat his last meal of the day between 10 PM and Midnight. So some of the money saved from our food budget here at home gets shoveled in his direction.

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

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DH and I were just discussing this.  Unfortunately, the one that is leaving this week is our lightest eater.  Since we need to help fund college anyway, we are going to not only take his portion out, but cut our grocery budget again.  We have been spending willie nilly on food not paying attention.

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This is what I expect with DS next year, too. I think the cost of the meal plan is going to be basically the same as what I spend now on his food, and the cost of books is about equal to what I've spent per year on outside classes/DE. Next year OSU is giving all freshman a free iPad Pro with keyboard and "smart" stylus, which retails for about $1000, so that saves me the cost of a new laptop (his is pretty old) and mostly offsets airfare for the first year. Savings on gas, insurance, and athletic expenses (lessons, training, competition fees, travel costs, etc., will be covered by OSU once he's there) should come close to offsetting dorm costs, and after freshman year he can move off-campus, which will be considerably cheaper, and those additional savings will probably offset the cost of airfare for years 2-4. Since his tuition is covered by scholarships, I think we will come pretty close to breaking even, at least in the sense that each year of college will cost about the same as what we've spent for each year of high school.

 

Do you mean Ohio State?  If so, I believe they require students to stay on campus for two years now.  I have three sons who all graduated from OSU, but that wasn't a requirement when they were there.  

 

ETA:  I think it cost us more for food when the boys were away.  Meal plans were ridiculously expensive when they were living on campus.  Once they moved off campus, they lived frugally but I think it was still cheaper to just cook big meals at home than it was to have everyone eating separately.  I did get spoiled not to have to cook so much and have so many dishes!  When they come home now it's a big adjustment for me to have to shop, cook, and clean up from the huge meals.  

 

 

Edited by Kassia

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DH and I were just discussing this.  Unfortunately, the one that is leaving this week is our lightest eater.  Since we need to help fund college anyway, we are going to not only take his portion out, but cut our grocery budget again.  We have been spending willie nilly on food not paying attention.

 

Yes, this is what we will do. I haven't *exactly* been willy-nilly, but we were definitely much better with our choices when dh was in grad school and just starting out.  I know we can do it.  It's been fun. . . .  The good thing is that the kids are bigger and I have more flexibility with cooking.  (No crying babies and rampaging toddlers.)

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This is what I expect with DS next year, too. I think the cost of the meal plan is going to be basically the same as what I spend now on his food, and the cost of books is about equal to what I've spent per year on outside classes/DE. Next year OSU is giving all freshman a free iPad Pro with keyboard and "smart" stylus, which retails for about $1000, so that saves me the cost of a new laptop (his is pretty old) and mostly offsets airfare for the first year. Savings on gas, insurance, and athletic expenses (lessons, training, competition fees, travel costs, etc., will be covered by OSU once he's there) should come close to offsetting dorm costs, and after freshman year he can move off-campus, which will be considerably cheaper, and those additional savings will probably offset the cost of airfare for years 2-4. Since his tuition is covered by scholarships, I think we will come pretty close to breaking even, at least in the sense that each year of college will cost about the same as what we've spent for each year of high school.

 

Ours will be significantly more.

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Do you mean Ohio State?  If so, I believe they require students to stay on campus for two years now.  I have three sons who all graduated from OSU, but that wasn't a requirement when they were there.  

 

ETA:  I think it cost us more for food when the boys were away.  Meal plans were ridiculously expensive when they were living on campus.  Once they moved off campus, they lived frugally but I think it was still cheaper to just cook big meals at home than it was to have everyone eating separately.  I did get spoiled not to have to cook so much and have so many dishes!  When they come home now it's a big adjustment for me to have to shop, cook, and clean up from the huge meals.

Luckily Ohio State only requires a second year on campus for students who go directly to college after HS, and DS is taking a gap year this year. So he will be exempt from the requirement, since his sophomore year of college will not fall "within two years of HS graduation." Hopefully that will reduce his expenses by $3000/yr or more.

 

As for food, we're probably at the extreme end of the spectrum, given that DS is a 6'6" 220 lb athlete who trains 15-20 hrs/wk — he eats more food than DD, me, and the dog combined! Plus DD and I are about 90% vegan, whereas the bulk of DS's diet is meat, dairy, and eggs (all of which I try to buy organic/free-range/grass-fed/pastured), so I'm stuck making separate meals anyway. A typical breakfast for DS would be 4-5 eggs, scrambled or in a cheese omelet, 5-6 breakfast sausages, and 2 pieces of whole wheat toast with butter and Marmite, whereas DD and I will have a cup of tea and a piece of fruit. He eats a big lunch and dinner (totally separate from what DD and I eat), then he'll have a couple of Cliff bars and a sports drink during practice, and after practice he'll have a 32 oz protein smoothie (almond milk, frozen fruit, banana, Greek yogurt, and 2-3 scoops of Orgain or Vega protein powder) plus a cup of cashews or an apple and peanutbutter. Meanwhile DD and I usually have a salad for lunch and something like a stir-fry or vegetable curry for dinner. So I expect our food bill to go waaaay down once DS leaves!

 

I expect the opposite, though, when DD leaves for college — no scholarships, no reduction in sports/competition expenses, no reduction in gas/insurance costs (she will almost certainly stay in state and take a car with her), plus any campus meal plan is likely to cost a lot more than I currently pay for her food. So I'm very grateful that I will basically break even with DS!

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Luckily Ohio State only requires a second year on campus for students who go directly to college after HS, and DS is taking a gap year this year. So he will be exempt from the requirement, since his sophomore year of college will not fall "within two years of HS graduation." Hopefully that will reduce his expenses by $3000/yr or more.

 

As for food, we're probably at the extreme end of the spectrum, given that DS is a 6'6" 220 lb athlete who trains 15-20 hrs/wk — he eats more food than DD, me, and the dog combined! Plus DD and I are about 90% vegan, whereas the bulk of DS's diet is meat, dairy, and eggs (all of which I try to buy organic/free-range/grass-fed/pastured), so I'm stuck making separate meals anyway. A typical breakfast for DS would be 4-5 eggs, scrambled or in a cheese omelet, 5-6 breakfast sausages, and 2 pieces of whole wheat toast with butter and Marmite, whereas DD and I will have a cup of tea and a piece of fruit. He eats a big lunch and dinner (totally separate from what DD and I eat), then he'll have a couple of Cliff bars and a sports drink during practice, and after practice he'll have a 32 oz protein smoothie (almond milk, frozen fruit, banana, Greek yogurt, and 2-3 scoops of Orgain or Vega protein powder) plus a cup of cashews or an apple and peanutbutter. Meanwhile DD and I usually have a salad for lunch and something like a stir-fry or vegetable curry for dinner. So I expect our food bill to go waaaay down once DS leaves!

 

 

 

Two of my guys eat like this.  They have fast metabolisms, are very active, and are always trying to build muscle and gain weight.  They say it's a chore to keep eating all day but, if they don't, they can't maintain their weight.  As someone who struggles to not gain weight, it's hard for me to understand!  They eat large quantities of food all day long.  

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... before you start counting on having the extra cash laying around...

 

Our boys needed extra money for food in college. Until they reached about 22/23 years of age, the boys ate more than 3 squares a day. Younger son (20) is in his senior year of undergrad, and the dining hall is closed by 7:30 PM. He tends to eat his last meal of the day between 10 PM and Midnight. So some of the money saved from our food budget here at home gets shoveled in his direction.

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

 

My son was lucky; his dining plan had late night...so he would make eggs in the dorm kitchen for breakfast protein, eat lunch, dinner and late night with the meal plan.  

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Mine is a commuter, but we got a food plan because we couldn't figure out how to have him pack that much food, particularly when he had evening group project meetings. He works out every day and does martial arts.

 

I kept track, and it actually saved me money. He routinely ate two entrees and more there. When they had pizza, he'd eat 6-8 pieces plus milk, salad, and cookies.

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