I am tired of people excusing themselves for eating poorly because they are on a tight budget. Being a college student, I have done many trial and errors to figure out the best way to save money on food.

Here is what I have concluded: Cooking at home is almost always cheaper.

I understand that fast food is a quick way to feed your kids while battling 2 jobs and soccer practice, but there are ways around that. Cooking at home does not have to take an hour. Some meals don’t even take 30 minutes.

Look at it this way. How long does it take for you to decide what you and your family want for dinner? Then you have to drive there, or call and wait for it to be ready. Perhaps you ordered something for delivery, and we all know that anything getting delivered around dinner time takes about an hour to arrive. By the time you receive the food, you’ve lost loads of cash that could have been spent on loads of groceries. Spending money on gas, tips, and junk food adds up fast, and it sure is a waste of valuable time that could be spent with loved ones.

We all know fast food is horrible for your body. Why waste your money?

An easy way to avoid this is cooking at home. Like I stated earlier, while in college I have been on a tight budget. Here are some things that I make for myself and friends.

Pasta with chicken and mushrooms: approx. $3.50 and 20 min. to make

Grilled chicken with steamed veggies: approx. $2.50 and 15 min. to make

Minestrone soup (feeds 6): approx. $4 and 25 min. to make

Low-cal Enchiladas (beef or chicken- feeds 8): approx. $10 and 25 minutes to make

Make your own veggie pizza: approx. $8 and 25 min. to make

Aw, ain’t that cute?!

See? There are no excuses now! These are all so easy and fast that ordering out will seem like a hassle. I used to help my dad make dinner when I was a little girl, which gave me some great memories that I still remember. If you have little ones at home, have them help you in the kitchen so they have a firm understanding about the process of creating healthy meals. They’ll also have fun with it and feel responsible.

Next time you plan dinner, remember what is worth spending your money on. Eating at home is, in fact, cheaper. It brings your family closer together, and it saves time!