Friday, December 5, 2014

3 ways to cook better cheaper

When you're in college, your food budget may not allow for much more than Ramen noodles and mac and cheese. I understand that, but I also firmly believe in good tasting food. Here are some ways to get the most bang for your buck so you don't have to suffer instant noodles another night longer:

1. Check for grocery stores that allow you to scoop your own spices and other bulk items.

I know Sprouts and Whole Foods do this, and while much of the other food there is on the expensive side, self service scoops can help you control the amount you get and how much you pay for it. For expensive items like spices, odds are you aren't going to need an entire jar, which can run pretty costly. If you can find a place to scoop your own spices into small bags, you can get as much as you'll need for a given recipe and probably only pay a very little amount.

2. Buy local.

Farmers markets and stores that bring in produce locally are often a lot cheaper. Though big box stores like Walmart like to brag about their low prices, I have compared prices and talked with customers about produce prices, and stores with local produce are often cheaper; even if they aren't, the price difference is very small and you are getting much better quality of food. Because local food doesn't need to travel as far, the price of gas to transport is much less, which is reflected in the price. And if you buy local, you're also supporting your local community.

3. Buy cheaper options of the basic products.

The best olive oil comes from Italy, but you can buy cheap American-made olive oil that's still pretty good, will do what you need it too, and is a lot cheaper. Same goes with pasta, rice, flour, sugar, etc. For basic foodstuffs, you won't notice the difference by buying cheaper options.

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