Priorities. It's simple. I'm not in college nor did I even have a clue what Paleo was in college (started college 10 years ago), it's all about perspective. I've got a pretty good job now and can afford to be a bit more selective with food quality, quantity and variety. With that said, it's still a choice. A bit extra for quality food? A bit extra at a smaller, non-chain store? A little longer drive to a local farm or farm market? To me, it's worth it. Not only the health benefits, but the overall well-being and good feeling I get from it.
I know this kind of went off tangent from the original topic, but I still think it comes down to priorities. For those needing to stretch every dime, understandable. However, for most I think there are many other cuts/changes that could be made, many unrealized, that could allow for some better adherence to food quality/quantity. For instance, the thread starter could turn $20/month in alcohol to $0/month in alcohol and probably enhance 5-7 meals to grass-fed beef quality.
Not judging anyone as long as it's understood that until you're at your bare minimum in-terms of what can be substituted, it's always a priority thing. Being in college once I completely understand the $20/month on alcohol being important than the extra 10% adherence to Paleo. As long as you don't hear "it's impossible to even consider eating Paleo in college" argument from someone with this trade-off possible.