With a tight budget that colleges students have it may seem really hard, or even impossible, to have good and fancy meals. But with a little of planning, budgeting, give-and-take, and hands on you can make some really good lunches and dinners during the week.
I cook every week and every time my roommates are in “whoa”. Because a bake pies, cakes, cookies, lasagna, calzone, and other culture diverse meals. I’m not a very good cook, all I do is following the receipt and hope that it works out in the end, and with a little planning ahead I can afford those meals with no problem.
Here are some ideas shared by other people, more qualify than me, that I do follow and works great for me.
- Plan ahead
The first things that every specialist in this area will talk about is to plan ahead. What are you going to cook? What ingredients do you already have and which ones do you need to buy? And stick to the plan, you only buy what you are going to cook and nothing else.
Faith Durand, author of 3 cookbooks, wrote an article with tips of how to make a good weekly meal planner.
Daisy Bun, a blogger, shared some great tips to grocery shopping on a budget.
- Eating out is the last resource
A lot of money is spent every time you go out to eat. With the money you spent at a restaurant for one meal you can make something that will last you two meals or even a full week.
- Cut on drinks
Charlotte Pike, author of “the Hungry Student Cookbook”, said that a lot of money is spent on coffees, alcohol, cokes, juices and smoothies. I always have one or two roommates that buy boxes of sodas and gallons of juice every week, and at the end of the month they don’t have anything to eat neither money to buy food. Drinks may be good, but they are not essential.
- Try different foods
One thing that helps me be excited to cook and looking forward to eat my lunches is because I always try to have something new to eat. Michaela Cisney, recipe developer for The Kitchn, said, “Try at least one new recipe every week. This keeps spark and variety in your meals, letting your small-budget intake feel fancy.” I could not agree more with her.
- Freezer is your best friend
Since you will spend some of your precious time cooking you should make big batches of food. After you can separate in smaller portions and put it in the freezer, this way you will have grab-and-go food for the rest of week.
On Sundays you can usually find me in the kitchen cooking big meals, then during the week before I go to school all I do is take a small container with a portion of that meal with me. This way I don’t go out to eat and I save time from cooking during the week.
Here are the links for some easy and cheap recipes that usually last an entire week for me: