12 Meals that are Easy, Cheap, and Healthy

One of my big challenges as a law student on a budget is to find recipes that fit all of these criteria. I’ve included 12 of my boyfriend and my staples. This gives a nice two week rotation since we usually end up cooking about 6 times a week. I would love to know if anyone else has other ideas.

Note: We cook with a lot of green pepper because they are cheap and local here in CA. You might want to substitute whatever fits that description in your area. These recipes generally feed 2 people generously. Also, I usually sauté in olive oil but some sort of broth or white wine also works if you are really trying to cut out fats.

  1. White Beans and Tomatoes – You need: Crock-pot, Olive oil, onion, garlic, 3 6” stalks of fresh rosemary, large can of diced tomatoes, and 2 cans of white/northern beans. Sauté chopped onions in olive oil in the crock-pot on the high setting for about 15 minutes. Add chopped garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients and let it cook on low in the crock-pot for however long you want. Nothing in this recipe needs cooking so its just a matter of the longer it cooks together the more flavor it will have. I live in Northern California and rosemary is a ubiquitous landscaping plant here so I have an endless free supply. I think it is prolific in other parts of the country too. You might add a little cumin or Tabasco sauce too. Serve with brown bread and a little parmesan cheese.
  2. Black Bean Salad You need: 1 can black beans, 1 can corn or frozen corn, 1 lime, ~2T fresh chopped cilantro, a fresh veggie (I like green pepper or tomato or avocado if you want to splurge). Add all ingredients to a tuper-wear and juice the lime. You might also add some chili powder or tobasco. Let it marinate together for at least 30 minutes. Eat with corn chips.
  3. Pasta You need: whole wheat pasta, jar of marinara sauce (I like Classicos selections), chopped frozen broccoli, parmesan cheese. I like to mix all these ingredients together but you could eat broccoli as a side dish.
  4. Ramen Stir Fry You need: 2 pack ramen noodles, green pepper, onion, 3 eggs, 2T roasted peanuts, stir-fry seasoning. Soak the ramen noodles in warm water while you prep other ingredients. Sauté onion and green pepper. Add 3 eggs and scramble in the same pan as onion and green pepper but keeping the egg somewhat separate. Add the noodles and seasoning. I like to season with a sauce made from soy sauce, ginger, a little sesame oil, a little brown sugar, and quite a bit of lime juice.
  5. Burritos You need: Green pepper, onion, can of black beans, tortillas, cheese and salsa. Sautee green pepper and onion. Add black beans and season with chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and lime juice. Serve on flour tortillas with cheese (I think grating is worth it) and salsa.
  6. Fried Rice You need: Rice, frozen peas, 2 eggs, onion, garlic, soy sauce, and ginger. I like to make rice ahead of time on the weekend and eat it several times. I usually cook rice in chicken bouillon for flavor. So sauté onion and add frozen peas to defrost. Scramble eggs in same pan. Add rice, ginger, and garlic. Add soy sauce and some sesame oil to taste.
  7. Curry Mushroom Chicken  – You need: Cooked chicken breast or fake chicken (I like Quorn), frozen chopped broccoli, cream of mushroom soup, lemon juice, curry powder, shredded cheddar cheese. Defrost frozen items in microwave. Add a scoop of mushroom soup, ½ T of curry powder, some lemon juice and shredded cheddar to the bowl and microwave again. You could eat with brown rice.
  8. Baked potato â€“ Baked potatoes are great because you can put so many things on top of them. Some of the thing I like to put on are Morningstar crumbles (fake hamburger meat), sautéed mushrooms (season with Worcestershire), broccoli, salsa, shredded cheese, or black beans.
  9. Salmon Cakes â€“ You need: 1 can pink salmon, 1 can white/northern beans, lemon juice, dill or thyme, minced garlic, 1 egg. Mix all ingredients together mashing beans and salmon. Make into patties and fry in olive oil. Serve on brown bread and add a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream if you like.
  10. Veggie Burgers â€“ Buy a pack of frozen veggie burgers (Morning star veggie burgers will usually go on sale for about $.75/patty.) serve on wheat toast (b/c I don’t like to buy special buns) with thinly sliced cheese and mustard.
  11. Hot dogs â€“ Depending on whether cheap or healthy is more important to me at the time, I will buy veggie hot dogs (healthy) or turkey hot dogs (cheap). We like eating them on whole wheat sandwich bread with sauerkraut and mustard. We usually have a can of baked beans on the side.
  12. Heuvos Rancheros â€“ You need: 4 eggs, flour tortillas, black beans, salsa, and shredded cheese. Scramble eggs. Warm tortillas in the microwave. Warm black beans sprinkled with lime juice, chili powder, and garlic powder in the microwave. Top tortillas with beans, egg, shredded cheese, and salsa.

Exercise for Cheap

The benefits of staying in shape have been espoused numerous times. I don’t want to focus too much on that here. Though, it is worth keeping in mind that studies have shown thinner, more attractive-looking people receive preferential treatment in the job market. While that might be “unfair” or “discriminatory”, the fact of the matter is, human nature responds better to people we view as being attractive. Remember this little fact as you near potential job interviews or important meetings. “Looking good” never hurts and exercise certainly helps your looks.

So assuming you have an interest in exercising and saving money, what are some options? Gym memberships can cost a small fortune in some parts of the country. Yoga studios charge hefty prices to join their classes. Other forms of exercise, such as biking, require a large up-front investment in equipment. Is there any way to exercise cheaply? Worry not. There are ways.

Walk As A Means of Transportation

Look at your daily schedule. How much driving or use of public transportation is there? Have you considered that by walking rather than driving or taking the bus, you can kill a few birds with one stone. Not only is walking incredibly healthy and good for burning fat, but it can also help save money on transportation costs. Depending on your situation, you might be able to get rid of your car completely if you’re able to accept walking as a reasonable substitute. In times when walking won’t cut it, you can always call a taxi. You’ll have a surplus of money to use for the occasional taxi from the money you’re saving by not having a car, insurance payments, and fuel costs.

Use Your Own Body to Lift Weights

The notion that you need weights in order to build muscle is purely a myth. Some of the best looking men on the planet never touch a weight, they simply use a combination of their own body and gravity in order to build muscle. Last I checked, gravity is around in plentiful supply. It’s cheap too!

How do they do this? By challenging themselves in a variety of ways. Lunges and squats can be done without weight. By doing more reps (to account for the lack of weight), your body will build more lean muscle and less bulky, meathead, gym-rat muscle. Take a guy like Matthew McConaughey. I think most men could agree that looking like him would be acceptable. Do you think a guy like that only got that body thanks to dead weights? Nope. He did it by mixing cardiovascular workouts (jogging) with resistance training (pushups, squats, situps, etc). None of these exercises require anything other than a decent pair of shoes and he looks better than 99.9% of every man in the country who visited a gym today.

Use Free Resources

If you live near a high school, there’s a gigantic piece of exercise equipment that is totally free to use. Wanna know what it is? The football stadium bleachers. And believe me, there are few exercises that will do more for getting up your heart-rate and burning calories than running stairs.

Or maybe you live near a beach. Jogging along the coast is a fantastic way to build strength through your legs and gluts; the added resistance provided by the waves, water and sand gives you a more challenging workout than simply jogging on a track.

The point is: be creative. Look around at all of the different ways you can exercise that don’t cost a single thing. Staying in shape doesn’t have to cost anything at all and it’s one of the best investments you can make.

5 Ultimate Money-Saving Tips for University Students

Being able to study in college and take up your favorite course is one of the most coveted goals that everyone aspires to have. It is both an honor and a responsibility to pursue higher studies at any point in your life.
However, not everyone has the luxury to go to college and have everything be paid for right away. Lucky are those who can do that. Most of us, though, are not so blessed. As a student, the responsibility of taking care of your finances and college expenses falls squarely on your shoulders most of the time.

You would have to learn how to save cash in every way possible to make ends meet and ultimately have you finish the course of your dreams. The question is, how will you do that? Please continue reading to learn the answers.

1. Find a Job and Learn to Budget

The first thing that you can do to save some cash for your university expenses is to find a job. You wouldn’t have anything to save if you don’t have money to spend first. Once you get a job, you will then be able to budget your salary and allot cash for your expenses as well as any future emergency that might arise.
By applying for a job, you will also be able to learn some adult responsibilities early on. You will get to figure out how to budget your own money and pay your bills on time. Remember that you are starting to live a life of your own, and finding a job you are good at would be the first logical step in that direction.

2. Get a Roommate

If you need housing, but don’t have enough money for rent, perhaps it would help you as you share a room or an apartment with a friend. This way, you will not have to pay for the entire month’s rent and utilities all on your own.
Just make sure that you get someone you already know. This way, you will feel safer knowing that he will not trick you out of your money down the line.

3. Apply For Scholarships

If you have problems paying your tuition, it will help you to apply for scholarship programs. These scholarship grants will be able to take some of the financial burdens from your shoulders. You will have the option to take partial or full scholarships. It would be best to inquire about these things in the university Registrar’s Office so that you’ll know what to expect.

4. Try to Cut Back on Your Expenses

Another way of saving money in college would be to reduce your expenditures. For example, instead of buying new books, you can opt to buy used editions from the thrift shop or local bookstore. These will be much cheaper for sure.
If you have university alumni friends, it will help to borrow some of their old notes so that you won’t have to spend too much money on research resources down the line. If they have old uniforms you could borrow, do not be afraid to do so as well.

5. Buy What You Need, Not What You Want

Focus on what you need, not what you want. The best way for you to save cash in college would be to make a list of the things that you need and stick to them. This way, you will not end up paying for more than what you should be paying for in the first place.
As a student, you have to be smart with your finances because you want one end up being in debt for the rest of your life. By buying the main necessities for school and cutting down on whims at least, for now, you will be able to save money for a much better future down the line.

The Final Words

These are some of the many ways to save cash in college. One additional tip to remember is to try and avoid taking out loans as much as you can. It may be a quick fix right now, but it will cause you a lot of financial pain down the road.
By avoiding it, you will nip the problem in the bud right away.