Cooking & Shopping
New to cooking or shopping? It may seem a lot more challenging than it really is. The temptation may be to eat or order out for the sake of time, but remember that many of the same foods can be cooked for a fraction of the cost (and may be better for you too).
Ask your RA to host a cooking event. They can partner with Student Health Advocates on campus to teach you how to cook delicious, healthy and inexpensive meals.
- Cut Coupons- For the low price of a Sunday paper, you can save lots of money on food bills. Get over the idea that "coupons are not cool". Saving money is always a good thing. Check for stores offering "Double Coupon" savings. That equals double the savings and double the cash left in your pocket!
- Compare Store Brands to Brand Names- A lot of foods are generally the same, but store brands can often be significantly lower in cost.
- Read the info on the supermarket shelf- Learn to read and understand how much the product costs "per item" or "per pound" and compare. This is where you can see the real difference in price. Don't be fooled by the size of a can or packaging!
- Don't shop when you are hungry or tired- You will be more likely to overspend or buy things you do not really need.
- Stock up when you see a sale. When a product you generally use goes on sale, buy even more than you need right at the moment. Even though you may be spending a little more money this week, you will save money in the long run.
- Prepackaged Foods- These seem really convenient and they can be, but also keep in mind that you pay for that convenience in price, and these foods can be high in fat and salt!
- Think carefully about Warehouse Stores- Buying in bulk is not always the best idea. Sometimes you save money and sometimes you spend more. Know what prices are at supermarkets before going to a warehouse store. Be careful about buying perishable foods in bulk. If you have to throw anything out because it spoils before you can use it, you have not really saved money.
- Make different foods with a minimum of cookware- Cookware can get expensive and there is no need to go overboard on what you own. A skillet/frying pan, some sauce pans (all with lids) and some basic knives with a cutting board and cooking utensils will make most foods for you. To get inexpensive cookware for yourself, check out Dollar Stores, Thrift Stores, or yard sales.
- Get Free Recipes- Call relatives or friends, go online, or get cookbooks from UCSD libraries.
- Have Group Meals/Potlucks- Cooking together can make this job a lot more fun and if everyone does a little bit, you will get some great meals out of it.
- Make More Food than you need- It is often cheaper to make larger quantities and if you can get two meals out of the same amount of work, you are saving yourself a lot of time.
- Keep your diet balanced- Your family is no longer there to do it for you! Remember to get enough vegetables, fruit, protein, etc. Need help figuring this out? Ask your RA to do a study break on this topic, stop by the Student Health Center and speak with the advocates, Talk with Housing Dining staff about balanced meals, or go online and look at Dietary Recommendations.
- Never leave a stove unattended while cooking anything, especially while heating oil for frying.
- Have a cover for the pan next to you when you're frying foods. You may need to place the cover over the pan to extinguish flames (by no longer allowing oxygen to the flames).
- Never attempt to use water to extinguish a flammable liquids fire.
- Learn where your two nearest fire extinguishers are (one may be missing).
- Only attempt to extinguish small fires, using a fire extinguisher of the appropriate type. Use of a blanket or towel to beat out a fire most often intensifies the fire due to the increased oxygen supply you are providing. If a fire is large, GET OUT!
- Notify staff immediately if there is a fire, even if you have already put it out.
- Call 911 immediately, even if you have already put it out.
Barbecues are also not permitted on any balcony, patio or stairwell. Due to safety concerns and the impact of smoke on other apartments and suites, barbecues must be used away from the buildings. All cooking with barbecues must be done at least 20 feet from any residential facility.