Everyone that has gone through campus understands how important a full stomach is before they hit a lecture room.

But even with the irregular Helb disbursements, most are left to depend on their families as they attempt to stretch that last coin further. The question 'how will I survive' is often a recurring topic.

But here is the thing, you do not have to go beyond, there are a number of cheap meals that you can eat at joints that are just within or outside campus at surprisingly low prices.

Ugali- sukuma wiki/cabbage

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This is probably one of the most common meals for campus students that usually fits into almost comrade’s budget be it at the beginning of the semester or at the end.

For the majority that operate on less than Sh100 budget a day, it is an option that will leave you satisfied the whole day.

The meal is found in every campus’s cafeteria and the cost is usually Sh10 for Ugali and Sh5 for sukuma wiki or cabbage. This sometimes varies as the vegetables in areas considered semi-arid might be sold at slightly higher price at Sh7.

Nevertheless, that is still affordable. On a hungry day, what you need to do is hit the queue the earliest, buy two pieces of ugali with cabbage and make yourself comfortable at one dark corner of the cafeteria away from chuckles of slay queens.

The meals can also be found on makeshift tents outside campus or ‘mabatini’ joints that dot every university’s outskirt.

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Rice and beans


Rice taken with cabbage or beans or with both resonates well with many students financial statuses. Go to any students’ mess, do a quick sample of what many take during their main meals. It is one meal that would not make you appear broke nor rich.

The cost of rice is mostly Sh10 same as the one for ugali. Of course, there are those who are not fans of rice, especially our brothers from western region.

But in our list, it comes in handy for those who know campus survival tactics. You can get it at the student’s mess, mabatini as we used to call those temporary makeshift food joints. Better still or you can decide to cook for yourself at home.

Chapati with beans/ndengu

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There are options too for those who want to swap vitamins with proteins during the two main meals of the day but still remain within their budget. It also works well for campus ‘middle class’ who are born taos and pretend not to be used to ugali.

Chapati always sells at Sh10 in almost every institution’s cafeteria as most food vendors sacrifice its quantity to work within the Sh10 price that most students expect.

Beans or green grams always range from between Sh15 and Sh20. So per meal expect to part with something like Sh50 on that day you want to ‘spoil’ yourself.

It will also make a statement to ‘members of the high table’ that you are closing the ranks. At the University cafeteria or makeshift tents in or outside campus, you can have your fill.

Also Read: Lessons from losing my father while still in college


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It will irresponsible of us if we don’t sneak in this meal on the list. The maize-beans mixture boiled together makes a good source of protein and carbohydrates at a go and also saves the pocket. Whether friend or not, it is edible as long as you have salt in the delicacy. The cost of githeri is usually between Sh20 and Sh30 and is a must delicacy in most food joint. Its affordability and nutritious nature make it one of the most advisable and cheap options around for not only comrades but staff too.

Ugali beef /Omena


Ugali and beef is not always reserved for the beginning of the semester as its cost is far more affordable to almost every student but within the university grounds.

If you want to treat yourself in campus once in a while and you are those that struggle with financial issues, settle for this at least once per week. As we said, Ugali costs a constant Sh10 in campuses around Kenya and beef stew goes at Sh30 or less in the cafeteria on campus.

You can quantify it up with some sukuma wiki and have your fill at around Sh50 only. But be ready for a not-so-good meal quality. Also, prepare to humble yourself with the infamous ugali-cabbage in your next meal if you are to be on a budget.

For ugali-omena lovers, you have no option but look for that mathe at her tent near a construction site at your university. They make quality Omena delicacy and sell them at a student-friendly price. I suppose at only Sh50 you will be able to doze yourself off at that boring quantitative skills unit in the afternoon.

French fries/chips

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Chips have become a number one option for many campus 'slay queens' that seek to spoil their selves without breaking the bank.

And with the fast food selling at different fast food joints around the campus for as cheap as Sh20, there is no question to its pocket friendliness.

It is also an easy option for any comrade out there who wants to have a taste of how ‘high-end’ comrades live. These days there are many improvised fast-food joints that auger well with many student's financial statuses.

What meal do you prefer most?