A Few Budgeting Tips

Tonight is just one of those nights I have no energy to make dinner.  Sometimes, all you need is hummus and chips to call it good.  I figured I would take this opportunity to share some budgeting tips for grocery shopping because it seems a lot easier said than done.  The biggest fear is wasting money on something as disposable as food.  But, in all reality if you’re just clever about it, you’ll walk out of Walmart feeling not so broke and getting a money’s worth.  So, here goes nothing.

1. Plan and Substitute

I know this sounds very basic, but this is actually very effective.  Plan out what meals and snacks you want to make for the week and make a list of every ingredient needed to make  them.  This way when going shopping, there is no need for wandering aimlessly and random impulse buying.  Get in and get out.

When making a list, do know that making substitutes can be very effective, especially when it comes to protein.  For example, ground turkey is cheaper than ground beef and what to skip fresh meat altogether?  Try beans, lentils and even mushrooms!  This tactic can be used with any expensive ingredients.

2. Shop once a week 

By shopping once a week, you will be saving loads of money.  When people don’t make a list, they usually forget things, which causes them to go back to the store a few times and this results in buying multiple things that you do not need.  Just shop once a week and get it all done.

3. Look through the shelves throughly 

I thought this was actually very interesting, but ever notice how the most known and most expensive brands are at eye level?  It’s for a reason.  Since it’s at eye level, it’s the first thing consumers see and therefore the first thing consumers reach for and buy!  So, look around and scan the prices all over the shelf.  Because guess what?  There is little to no difference between Prego and Great Value marinara sauce.

Those a few easy tips I thought could be put to good use!  I am hoping to share some more through out the weeks.

Happy Cooking!

Zucchini Pizza Boats

Alright, on this fine Tuesday I did something I have never dared to do..use veggies to make a pizza.  I found this recipe on Pinterest that is very intriguing to say the least: zucchini pizza boats.  Think a regular pizza but flour dough substituted with zucchini.  Personally, I was skeptical, but if I like zucchini bread then what about and why not zucchini pizza?  It was a must try.  And substituting carbs for a veggie..you know what that means.  Yup, a pizza that is easy on the waistline.

I’ll reveal my initial reaction in my overall thoughts!  But, anyways to say the least this recipe is relatively easy and only requires 4 ingredients (a fifth is optional).  It is also dirt cheap to make for one person.

Overall cost: $3.50


-1 zucchini (.75 cents)

-1 cup of marinara sauce (.75 cents)

-1.5 cups of mozzarella cheese ($1)

-1/2 cup of pepperoni  ($1)

-olive oil and other spices (not necessary but optional)


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Cut zucchini in half horizontally

3. If wanting to use olive oil or spices like garlic, mix them together and spread on zucchini halves


4. Distribute marinara sauce, shredded cheese and meat


5. Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes

6. Enjoy!


Overall Thoughts:

LOVE THIS.  It’s a win win situation: cheap, healthy and absolutely delicious.  The pictures really don’t do justice at all.  The zucchini makes for a nice, crunchy texture.  BEWARE..although these are very good, they are also very messy.  Keep those napkins close.  But, all in all a guilt-free pizza.  What’s not to love?

Happy cooking!


Not Your Average Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Friday!

The weather is absolutely gorgeous out today and it’s beginning to look a lot like spring..in February.  Nonetheless, it makes me really want to go on a hike or something.  I will definitely have to make some time for that.  Anyways, I was raiding my fridge and pantry trying to figure out what to munch on for a snack.  I then discovered that I had neglected to eat the rest of my bananas before they went very, very…very overripe.

I was trying to figure out what to do with them.  Bananas can be used for so many substitutes: eggs, baking oils, etc.  So, I decided on making some chocolate chip cookies!   Keeping in mind, we are supposed to keep things frugal and outside the box, I am putting my own little spin on your average chocolate chip cookies.  Only 3 ingredients for multiple servings! (12 cookies).

Cost per serving: $1


-2 ripe bananas (.50 cents)

-1 cup of quick oats (.25 cents)

-1/4 cup of chocolate chips (.25 cents)


1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Combine banana and oats in the bowl thoroughly and add chocolate chips over time


3. Distribute to sprayed cookie sheet

4. Bake for 15 minutes for deliciousness

5. Enjoy!


Overall Thoughts:

These cookies are actually really good!  They’re not messy, but still gooey.  The texture and appearance is very similar to a monster cookie, which is something anyone can appreciate.  The banana comes through with the taste of chocolate, making it sooooo delicious.  A recipe for the books!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Unfortunately, over the weekend I caught what is going around on campus.  It seems to be a pretty nasty cold: fatigue, cough, sore throat and LOTS of congestion.  I really tried to fight and nip it in the bud with Emergen-C and fluids, but here I am, miserable with three exams to look forward to.  And just like the cliche, I am finding comfort in some chicken noodle soup, specifically my mom’s.  But, I decided to tweek my mom’s recipe into a five dollar version and see what happens.

This recipe is simple, fast and soothing, something any sick person can appreciate.  This recipe is also a bang for your buck because it makes a few servings.  With that being said: the freezer is your friend.

Overall Cost: $4.85


-1 can of chicken broth ($1.00)

-1/4 cup of carrot (.60 cents)

-1/4 cup of celery (.75 cents)

-1/2 cup of shredded chicken ($1.50)

-1/4 cup of uncooked egg noodles ($1.00)

-Seasoning (opt.)


1. Cut celery and carrots in medium sized slices and shred chicken into reasonable portion


2. Heat broth and vegetables at a medium heat into a boil


3. Gradually stir chicken and egg noodles into the mixture

4. Cook for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally

5. Enjoy!


Overall Thoughts:  This soup definitely does the job in terms of helping a sick girl out.  While making my way to Walmart, I did realize there are several different kinds of chicken broth with varying prices.  I recommend getting the small can of Swanson.  It’s low price and has 3 servings.  Also, when shredding the chicken, don’t be afraid to have larger portions!  I shredded the pieces a little too small and you can’t even see the chicken in the soup.  It’s in there..promise.

Also, egg noodles are cheap, amazing and I love them.

Caprese Panini

So, just like any average Friday afternoon I was spending my time on Pinterest when I really should be studying for a Chemistry exam.  I know, I know..I really shouldn’t be doing that.  But, IF I hadn’t been doing so, I would not have stumbled across this AMAZING recipe.  The best part was that I had all of the ingredients for it. Score.

After a stressful week, I rewarded myself with a Caprese panini.  Trust me it tastes a lot like Caprese, but it’s in sandwich form so it’s ten times better.  If you’ve never had Caprese then you absolutely have to try this recipe and if you truly have no idea what I am talking about..

“Caprese: A simple Italian dish consisting of slices of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil while seasoned with salt and olive oil”

At a serving perspective, this dish runs pretty cheap.  But, I do understand that not every person has a jar of pesto laying around.  If you where to go to Walmart or another grocery store to get all of these ingredients, you’re looking at about 7 dollars in expenses.  Still pretty acceptable.

Overall Price: $5


-2 slices of any kind of bread (thicker slices preferably)

-1 tomato (.50 cents)

-1 table spoon of pesto sauce (.20 cents)

-2 slices of mozzarella cheese ($1.00 dollar)

-2 table spoons of balsamic vinegar (.50 cents)



1. Cut tomato into medium sized slices and put in bowl of balsamic vinegar to sit for a few minutes  (the picture wasn’t really appealing..)


2. Butter both sides of bread thoroughly and layer the sandwich with pesto, a slice of mozzarella, the soaked tomato slices and another slice of mozzarella


3. Heat skillet pan to a medium heat and cook each side of the sandwich for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.


4. Enjoy!

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Overall Thoughts:  I could eat this panini for any meal of the day.

3 Ingredient Pancakes

We all have those mornings when we just aren’t feeling it.  You cringe at the thought of three back to back lectures, desperately needing some morning coffee and the last thing you want to do is venture into the cold.  On days like these, it’s always a good idea to have pancakes for breakfast!  But, not just any pancakes; 3 ingredient pancakes. This is definitely one of the easiest recipes to make for breakfast.  It’s the perfect breakfast: fast, super easy, nutritious..and under 2 dollars a serving.

Overall Price: $1.50

Time to Make: 10 Minutes


-2 eggs (.50 cents)

-1 banana (.25 cents)

-2 tablespoons of cinnamon (.75 cents)


1. Combine 3 ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Mash up the banana consistently and mix together well.


2. Grease frying pan and pour batter out in small portions.  I stress small portions because these pancakes a litter flimsier than some.  With that being said, about a minute on each side.


3. And just like that, you’ve got some banana pancakes.  Serve with syrup if desired and morning coffee.


Overall thoughts:

These pancakes are very unique in terms of looks, but nonetheless this recipe is a keeper. These pancakes are delicious, insanely cheap, flourless and are something to make frequently!  They can be served in so many different ways as well.  With bananas, nuts, Nutella, jam, syrup and the list goes on and on.  All ingredients were bought at your average Walmart, so yes, this recipe truly is a dollar fifty per serving.  With time, it will be proven that a college student can make anything on a budget.  Hopefully, these pancakes are enough to turn a Monday morning around!