Finance In College: 4 Ways To Cook For Yourself Without Breaking Your Budget


Managing one's finances in college is not a walk in the park. Aside from tuition and dorm room costs, one of the biggest expenses that students should prepare for is for their food.

Even with a limited budget, college students can still eat well without breaking the bank. U.S. News shared four tips on how to cook healthy food cheaply and efficiently.

1. Plan ahead.

It's so easy to be overwhelmed with the things that you need to buy if you don't have a plan. Schedule your meals ahead of the week to ensure that ingredients of the food that you'll be making can be used for other dishes.

"The biggest issue is that grocery stores just don't sell stuff in portions for one person," Avi Shemtov, chef and author of "The Single Guy Cookbook: How to Cook Comfort Food Favorites Faster, Easier and Cheaper than Going Out," said. Michelle Davis, co-creator of "Thug Kitchen," also advised with dividing your shopping list to three categories: fresh vegetables and fruits, beans, pastas and rice, and food from the freezer section.

2. Buy double-duty foods.

While checking the grocery shelves, look for ingredients that can be used and reused in several ways. Shemtov shared that, instead of buying romaine lettuce for salads or sandwiches, buy spinach since it is more versatile. It can be added to a dinnertime side dish or to an omelet or with stir-fry vegetables.

3. Make leftovers your best friend.

Strive to always repurpose the meals that you made earlier in the week into fresh dishes later on. Students can cook homemade meals on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday then repurpose the leftovers to new dishes. For example, you can make taco filling that can become a salad fixing and a nacho topping or a homemade marinara sauce that can be added on a pizza or into lasagna.

4. Keep your pantry reasonable.

It's actually easier to cook if you have a few ingredients on hand. A carton of eggs can be mixed with a lot of items like rice, frozen peas, hot sauce and a few spices, such as curry powder and cumin, for a tasty fried rice dish. Onions, shallots, potatoes and lemons also last a long time.

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