Ah, an empty fridge: the enemy of a diligent student. My fridge is usually stocked with breakfast food and not much else. Recently, I made a commitment to myself to eat better and avoid spending so much money on unhealthy delivery foods, so here’s what I started stocking up on. I generally try to spend as little money at once as possible, but some things are worth purchasing at the grocery store to stop me from ordering in. (I avoided $45 worth of delivery in just one week!)
Toaster Oven (and a Roasting Pan)
Okay, these aren’t grocery splurges, but I definitely recommend them. Toaster ovens are really just mini ovens that are used in the place of both a toaster and an oven when you’re cooking for one or two people. A decent toaster oven can run as cheap as $40 and a roasting pan at $10. You’ll get your money’s worth. Oven foods are full of flavor and can be much more healthy (read: lower in fat, lower sodium, etc.) than foods that you order in. In addition, oven foods don’t require much attention. You just have to set the timer.
I know it’s expensive, but fresh meat makes a huge difference. It tastes much better than the meat that was butchered and frozen weeks ago. You know, the kind that comes in a box in the frozen foods section. Even though I suggest freezing the fresh meat once you get home (it expires quickly if you don’t), it’s frozen for less time and tastes much, much better. The cooking process is as follows: toaster oven, plate.
Money-saving tip: look for club packs from generic or in-store brands.
The pizza cravings don’t subside just because you’re trying to save money. Believe me, I know. That’s why I started buying frozen pizzas. The nutrition labels are right on the package and it’s as easy as popping it into the toaster oven for about 20 minutes. This means that it’s quicker and cheaper than ordering pizza! Then there’s the added bonus of being able to eat the entire pizza while consuming less fat and white bread than ordering in.
Money-saving tip: always have one extra in the freezer in case a craving hits.
I know that this can sound gross and it’s cheaper to buy dried pasta and jarred sauce separately, but it’s for those times that you come home incredibly hungry and just need to eat something right then and there. The temptation to order in can sometimes be overwhelming because it’s almost like you’re getting food at that exact moment. Having canned pasta (or other microwaveable meals) can deter your hunger and stop you from raiding your entire fridge while waiting for your overly-priced delivery to arrive (at which point you’ll already be full from all of the fridge-raiding). Look for low-sodium options.
Money-saving tip: stock up when they go on sale, because you can (haha, get the pun?).
What’s new in your grocery cart? Tell us below!
Image courtesy of iluvcocacola via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).