Students find innovative ways to maintain food budgets

In the last year, food prices have increased by more than 4.1 per cent, a significant amount above inflation, a food report conducted by the University of Guelph states.

And that has Janelle Henderson, a first-year mechanical engineering student at SAIT Polytechnic planning to live in residence by the fall of 2016, worrying about how she is going to feed herself.

Henderson currently tags along with her parents on their weekly grocery shop.

“It’s crazy,” Henderson said. “We all have apps on our phones and compare everything now.”

Reebee is a five-star rated digital flyer app. It allows users to browse the lowest-priced items within their local area.

The app shows what’s on sale at different stores, and for pricey items like beef and chicken, it is worth a few extra stops. Meat prices rose five per cent in 2015.

Reebee is just one of many apps consumers use to save a dollar as the economy continues to plunge. Other apps include Flipp, Snapsaves and Checkout 51.

Last year marked a new low for the Canadian dollar since its record low of 62 cents in 2002.

Robert Kavcic, senior economist for BMO, said in a 2015 Financial Post article that due to the fact that the energy sector accounts for 25 per cent of Alberta’s gross domestic product, the province will be affected by the global supply of oil.

On Jan. 13, the dollar fell below 70 cents U.S. due to the fact that crude oil is selling for $30 per barrel. The last time it sank below 70 cents was in 2003.

The decline in the economy has caused negative effects from an international level all the way down to low-income citizens and students.

Henderson is one of those students suffering from the decline in the economy. She said that living at home has been to her advantage, but come the fall semester she wonders if she will be doomed to eat TV dinners.

Safeway on Elbow Drive seems to be going against the grain in a time of soaring food prices.

Manager Devon Bakken said the store’s flyer is outfitted with a new look promoting fair prices in a rising market.

“If you look at the front cover of the flyer it says, ‘better produce at lower prices,’” Bakken said.

For students like Henderson, who will be living in residence and without a car, there are resources available on campus.

SAITSA’s Good Food Box contains fresh fruits and vegetables at a student-friendly price.

Students can pre-order the goods at the SAITSA Resource Centre office (MC107) in the Stan Grad Centre on a monthly basis.

“I think fresh fruits and veggies on campus are a splendid idea,” Henderson said.

We all have apps on our phones and compare everything now. – Janelle Henderson

The price of the Good Food Box is relatively inexpensive, starting at $20 for about nine kilograms.

The resource centre offers the SAITSA Food Bank. If students find themselves in a financial emergency, they can receive a supply of up to one week’s worth of food and a referral to Calgary’s Food Bank.

About Lambie Carruthers 5 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Lambie Carruthers worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2015-16 academic year.