Perhaps you are a Mason student who does not want to purchase a meal plan, but you still need to eat! No worries! Even if you are new to off-campus life and have no previous cooking experience, we have some tips below so you can save some money by bringing meals to campus.
Talk with your roommate(s)
It is sad when roommates spend tons of money on groceries that never get eaten. The milk goes bad, the bread molds over, etc. We recommend creating a list of shared groceries, such as milk, eggs and bread; and then splitting the cost. The more roommates you have, the easier bill you have! Click here to discover multiple apps that help with creating grocery lists.
- Invest in the essentialsIn order to cook, you need the right tools like dishes, pans, knives, cutting board and spatulas. They can either be purchased new, at a secondhand store, or even garage sales. Once again, talk with your roommates to find out how to spread the costs evenly and what tools to invest in. Depending on what you want to cook, this will determine what you will want to buy.
Not sure about what kitchen tools you might need? Click here to find out some essential kitchen equipment you are probably going to need and those it would be nice to have.
- Alternate cooking nightsAgree on a schedule where roommates will take turns cooking. It helps spread the workload, builds confidence in everyone’s cooking skills, and it also creates a lot of fun memories! Completely lost as to easy recipes you can start out with? Click here for beginners’ level recipes, and then you can work your way up until you impress all your roommates!
One suggestion: whoever doesn’t cook helps with the dishes. This works out perfectly if one of your roommates gets home too late to cook. Don’t let anyone in the home slack!
Also, please take safety precautions as you cook. Click here for some basic rules of kitchen safety!
- Plan out the on-the-go meals to cut costsInvest in Tupperware dishes or a lunch box, and a nice thermos to keep your cold foods cold, and your hot foods hot (like coffee). Speaking of, those daily cups of Joe or Starbucks add up quickly; investing in a Coffeemakers pack is always nice, especially if your roommates are also coffee drinkers.
One lesson every college student should know— fruits and veggies make convenient on-the-go snacks! Spend 10 minutes cutting them in the morning and you can take them with you to campus. Even if you only have a fifteen break between two classes, you can still munch on some strawberries or celery before class to get some energy boost!
- Research!If you like typical American food, or if you like Italian cuisine, whatever your tastes are; do some research! Find recipes on Pinterest, Epicurious and the Food Network. Your personal cooking teacher can even be YouTube! Maybe you can consider visiting a channel like Brothers Green Eats. They have some great beginners’ recipes you can use if you are on the run as a college student!
- Try, try, and try again!Not all of us are gourmet chefs, and we don’t have to be. Give cooking a try, and then try it again and yet again. Experiment with recipes. Have some fun with it. You’ll find that the more you attempt it, the easier it becomes, and soon, you’ll be one of those folks who can cook a variety of meals with the greatest of ease. And remember…learning to cook now will help you in the long run as you become an adult. Why not begin now? Good luck!