Thursday, May 3, 2018

Money Crashers: Cooking for College Students

When I went off to college lo these many years ago, one of the things I took with me was a little "hot pot." This mini kettle allowed me to enjoy General Foods' instant mocha (which I practically lived on at the time) and, in a pinch, ramen noodles, at any hour of the day or night. I didn't aspire to any more elaborate cooking than this, since I had a meal plan that provided me with 20 square meals a week (including brunch on Sunday).

However, the students of today might not be so cavalier about it. The price of a college meal plan, like everything else connected with higher education, has shot up since my school days and now works out to around $18.75 per day. By contrast, the average American spends only $7.80 per day on food—about 42 percent as much.

Ergo, students can save a lot of money by doing some or all of their own cooking. In an apartment or a dorm with a communal kitchen, that's easy—all you need is a cookbook and a few basic tools. But even if you're living in a dorm room, it's possible to make a surprising number of dishes with just a microwave, a mini fridge, and maybe a couple of other tools like a toaster oven or coffee maker.

My latest Money Crashers article delves into the fine art of dorm cooking. I address such topics as communal-kitchen etiquette, tools and techniques for dorm-room cooking, grocery shopping on a student budget, and recipes you can make in the dorm for every meal of the day.

Now, I realize I probably don't have that many college students reading this blog (do I? If you're out there, give a shout in the comments). But these recipes can actually be handy for anyone who's living in a small space, shopping on a tight budget, or trying to prepare meals on a busy schedule. And who doesn't fall into at least one of these categories?

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