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Shopping Smarter

When cooking on a budget, it can be very difficult to make good quality and delicious meals.  Here is a simple tip that I have learned over the past few years while being a college student: Different stores sell different items for less!

  • Stores like Wal-Mart are good for packaged food like tuna, milk, pasta sauces, and “meal” helpers.
  • Actual grocery stores, like Meijer here in Bowling Green, are good for inexpensive deli and butcher meats because they have those departments which cut out middle-man overpricing.
  • Discount grocery stores, such as Aldi, are always a great place to get items like olive oil, different vinegars, and packaged veggies (celery, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms)
  • Dollar stores, such as DollarTree, is great for buying condiments, drinks (pop, juice), and miscellaneous cooking items such as oven mitts, spatulas, etc.

*Look for hidden gems! It’s surprising what only costs a dollar!

Shopping for quality ingredients at a reasonable price is certainly not easy.  However, when you take the time to learn products and stores, it helps save money much easier.  Always remember that you can find recipes online to cater to the ingredients that you may already have, or that are inexpensive.  Good quality meals can come from any type of ingredient.  All you have to do is get creative!

Here are a few photos of different meals that I have made that cost less than $15 to serve multiple people. Remember that it is easy to make meals your own.

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