The days of home cooked meals every night are over and you have officially entered the real world. You know the basics of cooking, and you're craving comfort food (duh), so making your mom's famous fettuccine Alfredo recipe seems like a great idea. Then you're checking out at the grocery store with your Italian ingredients (plus Oreo's, ice cream, and Doritos) and your first "broke reality check" hits. Food is expensive AF. It seems like all you can afford is Ramen Noodles and saltine crackers. How are you going to survive on this budget?

Well lucky you, you're not the only one who has been hit with that harsh and abrupt reality check. Going into my second year of being very broke and craving food way out of my budget, I have picked up on some tricks to make the ends meet. It might not compare to a meal from Mom, but it still gets the job done. Welcome to the Broke Kid Club.

Frozen Foods Are Your Friend

cheese, beer
Jocelyn Hsu

It's time to get friendly with the frozen food aisle. Besides tubs of ice cream, bomb pops, and frozen pizzas, there is actually a bunch of yummy and inexpensive food in these aisles. Fresh fruits and veggies are good, but are also super expensive. Try out frozen fruits and veggies instead. These foods are picked at the peak of freshness, then immediately flash frozen to preserve that freshness. Not only will frozen foods last longer than fresh foods, but they are really cheap too. 

Don't be afraid to adventure down the frozen food aisle. Explore all the variety of foods, and experiment with different items to create a perfect meal. And if you don't feel like making something gourmet, then frozen chicken nuggets are always a solid plan.

My favorite way to use frozen foods:

1.) Roast frozen cauliflower with a little olive oil and your favorite spices for a perfect low carb side dish.

2.) Defrost frozen shrimp and toss it in with your bowl of Ramen Noodles.

Pull Out Your Can Openers

corn, garbanzo, chickpeas, pea, meat, legume, cereal, vegetable
Christin Urso

Canned foods are another great go to for an inexpensive item. If you've never walked through the canned food section, you'll be surprised when you finally do. Food companies make canned food out of almost every type of food imaginable. There are canned beans, fish, spaghetti, fruits, veggies, soup, meat, the list goes on and on. 

My favorite way to use canned foods:

1.) Baked sweet potato stuffed with black beans.

2.) Roasted garbanzo beans/chickpeas. 

More Cheese

bread, waffle, cheese
Alex Frank

First of all, cheese is the shit. It can turn any average dish into comfort food, and it's pretty affordable as long as your not looking at the gourmet stuff. String cheese is arguably the biggest snack time game changer. It is the perfect portable snack. Paired with some crackers or pretzels and you have a filling treat for between classes. 

My favorite way to use string cheese:

1.) Wrap a tortilla around a string cheese stick, microwave, cover in salsa (or even more cheese) and you have an instant quesadilla.

2.) Stuff mini peppers with half of a cheese stick and broil until warm and gooey.

All of these simple and affordable meals/snacks are perfect when you're living on a college student budget. There are tons of affordable options at your local grocery store. Don't be afraid to search through the aisles. You can even look at the deals and coupons listed in newspapers. Get creative with the cheap food, it can be tastier than you expected.