Stop eating out. Make sandwiches.
Living single, you can waste a boatload of money dining out. I know because I used to do that a lot when I was young. Here's some ideas to get around that.
At $10-15 per outing, that adds up quickly and especially if you do it every day. I know a few people who eat out almost religiously, and say they don't have time to cook or just can't. Well, that's a lazy person's excuse. You can cook and save money at the same time.
Compared to a decade ago, the cost of food and dining out has soared. The average cost of dining out varies and obviously is based on the restaurant and what food and beverage you consume. However, wherever and whatever you eat often depends on how much you can afford. You know what this is as it relates to your income - that plays a big part of it.
A report by the US Census Bureau did a survey in the Fall of 2010 on how people were spending their money on leisure. As you can imagine, one year after an economic depression and people are saving, not spending. When asked about dining out, only 49% responded that they did for the entire year.
So income and savings do determine whether you can afford to go dine out and how frequently. With this in mind, think about these little tips and try them out.
Use the company cafeteria
If you work for a company like Google that serves meals 24x7, lucky you. I'd continue to use it. Free and not having to wash and dry the dishes is great.
Create large pasta dishes
If you have a pasta fetish, create a large dish and use the leftovers. For less than $3.00, you can get a box of spaghetti noodles and Ragu. You can make three large portions. Throw the spaghetti into a big boiling pot. Transfer to a bowl and pour Ragu over it. To fill it out even more, make meatballs and use bread. That will add another two servings.
Approximate cooking time: 20 minutes
Fish Fillets and Sticks Work Wonders
As a kid growing up I loved McDonald's Fillet O' Fish. Then I figured out I could do it at home. Get a bag of Gorton's fish filets. Microwave them in a dish. Create your own secret sauce of mayo, sweet relish, mustard, ketchup and mix it up. Put it on hamburger bun or white bread.
Approximate cooking time: 10 minutes
PB & J Rocks!
I wuv peanut butter and jelly. A swath of both on bread and a glass of milk is sooooo good. Stick a few small marshmallows on it and its even better! But don't over do because you'll be jumping around like a spaz afterwards. So I got a better option. Use bagels. There's more bread there to fill you up. Buy a bag of the blueberry type and smear some Skippy and Smuckers over it.
Approximate cooking time: 3 minutes
Salad with Tuna
Take one head of lettuce. Wash and break up. Slice some celery, small tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots and in a salad bowl. Take 1/2 can of good Starkist tuna. What you dress it with is up to you. Paul Newman's sesame seed and ginger or Wishbone's Chunky Bleu Cheese are good choices.
Approximate cooking time: 5 minutes
Ramen Noodles? Yuck!
You know those 25 cent ramen noodles? Their unhealthy. I got a better idea. Go to a Japanese market and buy the real deal. Udon noodles are way better for you. They come in packs of 3 that you simply re-heat. Take two packages an boil them. Drain the water and put in a deep soup bowl. Get some Memi (not regular soy sauce) and use it as a soup base. Chop up some green onions and add soybeans and mushrooms.
Approximate cooking time: 10 minutes
Here's a real time saver that involves only cleaning the pot up. Get 2 pounds of pot roast, cut up carrots and potatoes. Set on high for 2 1/2 hours. How easy is that?
For those who crave for something sweet. Take 1 cup of ice, 2 cups of Kerns nectar, one banana, a few strawberries and one sliced orange. Add a vitamin pill if you want to. Blend it all and enjoy.
Approximate time: 3 minutes
About Kerry Kobashi
Kerry is the founder of KerryOnWorld. He lives in Silicon Valley.