Newhousefood’s Blog

How to Cook for Yourself on a Student Budget

Posted on: November 17, 2008

   Leaving home for college is one of the most exciting times in a students life. All of the sudden you are granted all the freedom in the world, but there are a few things that students miss about home within just a few weeks.  For me, one of the first things I missed about home was home cooking, balanced dinners and a large selection of choices of snacks and meals.

The first two years we all complain about the dining halls. The food is fattening, the food has no taste, it is the same thing every week, etc. But, as awful as this dining experience can be, it is still easier than trying to cook a meal on your own every night. 

We are in class all day and group meetings all night. Who has time to pre-prepare ingredients or plan out a real meal? I know I don’t and so I did some research and some thinking and came up with 10 meals that can be prepared in around 10 minutes, for probably less than $5. 


  1. Spaghetti- Who doesn’t like spaghetti? You can buy spaghetti sauce and pasta at                               any store for a few bucks and it will taste close to home cooking. 
  2.  Burritos- Beans, rice and tortillas are three extremely inexpensive ingredients. Add a little salsa and sour cream and you’ve got yourself a Mexican meal, for half the price of going out. 
  3. Stir-Fry- Stir-fry is both easy, healthy, and inexpensive. All you have to do is buy pre-mixed frozen vegetables, throw a little soy sauce or teriyaki sauce in a pan and  let it simmer. Add some rice and you’ve got a full meal. 
  4. Omelet- Eggs are cheap and plentiful, and can be used in almost anything. Add salsa for a breakfast burrito, or vegetables and meat for a dinner omelet. 
  5. Ramen Noodles– How much cheaper can you get? Some stores offer each packet for $.25 each. To spice it up a little, add vegetables, chicken or a fried egg. 
  6. Soup/Chili Mixes- Most grocery stores sell soup and chili mixes for about a dollar to make your own homemade soup. Add a can of beans or some protein and it tastes completely home cooked. 
  7. Annie Chun’s Asian Meals- The Annie Chun brand sells a huge variety of prepared asian meals. 
  8. Pesto– You can either buy prepared pesto or make it yourself with some basil, oil and garlic. Just add some olive oil and pasta and you are ready to go. 
  9. Quesadillas- Grab some tortillas and mexican cheese and maybe even some chicken and throw in on the George Forman. In minutes you have a substantial quesadilla. 
  10. English Muffin Pizzas- Buy some store brand english muffins, use the spaghetti sauce you bought for the spaghetti, add some cheese on top and then bake for a couple minutes. Or, for a slightly fancier approach, use fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and some basil. 

Do you have no idea how to cook? Check out these online cooking classes.


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