I was initially so excited to finally be able to live in an apartment during school, it meant more room and freedom. I also didn't get a meal plan to save money and cook what I want to eat. After a few weeks of being in school, though, I'm slowly realizing how much harder it is to cook for myself and have been envious of all the lowerclassmen with meal plans. I don't always have the time to cook at least twice a day or I can never gauge how much groceries I should buy for the week. But along the way, I've learned some things on this journey of cheap eats and I'm here to share some advice.
Buy what’s on Sale
I don't know about everyone else, but a trip to the grocery store excites me with all the food options and possibilities. But eating with your eyes can cost you and you end up racking up a total way bigger than you anticipated. The key here is all about self-control and only looking at what you can afford. Yummy, healthy meals start with fresh produce which you can get for cheap! You just have to browse the aisles to see what is on sale for the week and worry about what you'll make with it later. It can seem daunting to buy random food items and not plan what you're going to make but it can also be a way to get creative with your food!
Only Buy What You Need
You don't want to buy more than you can cook and get stuck with expired food you need to throw out. It can be hard maintaining self-control at the supermarket or you just have trouble figuring out how much to buy. Some factors to take into consideration that is helpful is to think about how many people will eat and how much they eat, how you might make the item, and is it something you use often. Things like garlic, onions, and chicken I typically buy more of because I use it a lot. However, if there are some things you end up buying too much of, depending on what it is, you can freeze it for later!
Buy Frozen Veggies
Frozen veggies are very cheap and affordable. There are also usually deals to buy multiple at a lower price. They're also easier to cook with and can even cut down on prep and cook time. Frozen veggies are just as good as fresh veggies. Also, if you end up buying too much of it because it is frozen, you don't need to worry about it going bad!
Buy Versatile Items
You might not be sure what to make right away with the item in question or even later, leaving you with a sad meal. Try to buy things you know you can make various ways and is easy to work with. It's much more budget-friendly to have an item you can make differently than something you can only make one way.
Have A Budget and Stick to It
Like I said before, it's easy to get carried away in the supermarket, looking at all the delicious items. If you're anything like me, though, and are on a budget, you need to stick to it. It's important to go over your financials and decide how much many you can allot for groceries that week. Stick to your budget as much as possible and your wallet will be grateful for it.
It’s Okay to Splurge
I get it, being a full-time college student with extracurriculars on the side is tough and doesn't always allow for you to cook all the time. Remember it's okay to eat out sometimes and treat yourself.