As Featured on News Cult: How to Save Money by Eating In

Eating out is so much easier than eating in. It requires no effort on your part and yields much better-tasting results. However, it’s also much more expensive than eating in. Which means we can’t afford to do it more often than not. So here are some tips for making eating in easier and more appealing, which will help you save that (aka, “dat”) money.

Microwave

The microwave is your best friend. Jury’s out on whether you should stand in front of it while it’s on, but other than the fact that it could give you cancer, it’s your best resource! Now, a lot of microwavable food is disgusting. So you have to choose wisely. I’ve found that, overall, Trader Joe’s selection of food for people who are alone in life heat-and-serve options is pretty on point. I’m also a fan of Amy’s. Plus, you can make things in the microwave that aren’t pre-packaged, also. E.g., pop a tortilla in there with some cheese and BAM—quesadilla. Pop a tortilla in there with some PB&J and BAM—PB&J-adilla. Pop some tortilla chips in there with black beans, salsa, and shredded cheddar layered in between and BAM—nachos. And it’s not just tortilla-related items you can make from scratch in the m-wave (we have nicknames for each other), but you can also throw in a sweet potato so you can tell your mom you ate a vegetable when she calls. #adulthood

Food that requires minimal-to-no prep

There’s lots of food that comes ready to eat, in case you’re feeling lazy, which you are, always. Like most fruits and veggies, cheese, hummus, crackers, bread, nuts, dried fruits, granola bars, etc. You can basically make yourself a picnic out of options like this. It will feel very European (especially if you add wine and ride around on a bicycle with a baguette sticking out of your messenger bag). This type of eating in is basically snacking all day, which is my personal favorite. Who doesn’t love snacks!? I bet even Jeffrey Dahmer loved snacks. Ok bad example.

And if by some stroke of luck, you feel like you can put in a bit of effort to your meal-making, there are still lots of options on the easier side. Like steel cut oats (if you get the quick-cooking kind, you only have to boil and then simmer them for 2-5 min—I like to add raisins, honey, and walnuts), smoothies (throw in some frozen fruit, yogurt, juice or almond/soy milk and you’re good to go! If you’re the person who adds leafy greens, crawl into a hole and die.), yogurt with granola, cereal, heat up some pre-made soup, pasta with olive oil and salt, eggs any way, etc. The world is your mother fucking oyster.

Try cooking

I know, I know. It’s so hard. But it can be kind of fun sometimes. Plus, if it turns out badly, you can just blame the recipe. Try to find some cookbooks that look interesting, and just have a go at it. Or, better yet, take a cooking class, where you’ll meet arguably the world’s most annoying segment of people. And, good news is, if you’re single, most recipes are for people who are loved multiple servings, so you’ll have lots of leftovers, extending one meal into four or five (or probably just one, but hey, we tried to try!).

Make your own coffee

You’ll save so much money if you don’t buy coffee or tea out! If you’re like me and you’re the sole reason Starbucks is still in business, it’s time to invest in a coffeemaker at home. And hopefully your office has a decent one, but if not, it’s worth it to bring your own there as well (but don’t be a dick and get the super eco-unfriendly Keurig or Keurig-adjacent machines). If you must, buy an espresso machine that can make all the fancy drinks. Worst comes to worse (or however the fuck that saying goes), get a not-completely-shitty brand of instant coffee for emergencies (where there’s a will, there’s hot water). And I find that keeping some simple creamer or milk and sugar on hand does just fine. Plus, if you’re a fan of flavorings, you can buy bottles of all of those syrups, regular and sugar-free, at most grocery stores or online.

Bring lunch to work

Don’t fall into the trap of eating out every day. It’s such a money-suck. Yes, I’m aware that all of your co-workers do it, but I’m also aware that they’re morons. Use any of the above methods of preparing your own food, and then just throw it into Tupperware that you can easily bring with you to work. I honestly loathe people who say they “meal prep” for the entire week on Sundays, but the idea of getting the next day’s lunch ready at least the night before isn’t completely terrible. If only because it affords you a few more minutes to sleep in the morning (in Sleep’s name we pray, amen), and prevents you from being able to use the “I don’t have time to make my lunch” excuse as you rush out the door (#butreally #don’ttrytoactlikeyoucareaboutbeingontimetowork #please).

If you leave your office during the day

Whether to go on a walk at lunch, just get some fresh air, drop something in the mail, or whatever, don’t bring your wallet, so that even if you want to stop somewhere and buy a snack or lunch or coffee, etc., you can’t. #becausewehavenowillpower #adulthoodonfleek

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/adulting-save-money-eating/

Guy at coffee bar: “I like your nails.”

Me: “Thanks!”

Guy at coffee bar: “And I’m not gay, so you can put it on Facebook: ‘A straight guy liked my nails!'”

Barista: “It’s usually the ones who say they’re not gay who are gay.”

Guy at coffee bar: “Well I am a lesbian.”

Me: “How?”

Guy at coffee bar: “Because I like women.”

Me: “Look, guys, I’m not wearing a bra right now, and my leggings have a giant hole in them, which I’m not sure if you can see, so I’m just really uncomfortable and gonna go…”

Mike’s trying to make me fat(ter)

Just got back from Starbucks, where I had another encounter with Mike, my soul mate Starbucks barista:

Me: “I’m SO GLAD it’s Friday!”

Mike: “You mean, you’re so glad you’re seeing me on Friday?”

Me: “I’m SO GLAD I’m seeing you on Friday.”

Mike: [high-fives me]

And then he gave me a subtle, unsolicited free cookie again (chewy chocolate this time), despite my attempt at subtle protestation.

No, I don’t ALWAYS wear this sweater

But I’m really trying to not eat more because it’s just the last thing I need, so when I got back to my office, I asked my boss if he wanted my cookie.

Me: “… and yesterday Mike gave me two giant warm chocolate chip cookies AND a breakfast sandwich–and I ate them ALL.”

Boss [as he listens, eating my cookie]:

Me: “OK, I’m going to repeat that, and I’m gonna need you to change your reaction.”

I Think I’m in Love with My New Starbucks Barista

It started off on the wrong foot… He drew a heart on my cup the first time we interacted (pictured below). I just thought, obviously he doesn’t know me and we are NOT on the same page. He also complimented my nails and said, “They’re bright as Hell.” My response was, “They’re sparkly. And I’m not bright.” But then he kindly undercharged me, and I thought, well, we may be on different levels, and it may be a terrible heart, which is a little insulting, frankly, but I can’t deny that he’s nice.

I thought that would be a one-time thing, but the next time I went in, he was there again, and, once again, drew a heart on my cup and undercharged me. This happened a couple more times, and each time, we talked and bonded and joked more. E.g.:

1. Him: “Oh, it’s you again ;)”

Me: “Get used to it, I’m here like every day. Which is embarrassing. But I just don’t care.”

2. Him [re my Seahawks hat]: “You need to burn that hat.”

Me: “Why? What’s your team?”

Him: “Ravens”

Me: “Oh, you mean you’re a fan of Ray Lewis, the murderer?” [loudly and passionately, as he’s ringing the person in front of me up]

Him: [“Yikes” face]

But I also felt guilty–like I should pay what I owe, and he’s probably going to be fired if he keeps this up. But he never vocalized that he was undercharging me–I just noticed the lower number on the register and he would kind of wink at me, so I wasn’t sure if I should say something, because then his coworkers might hear and he would get in trouble?

And then this morning, I walked in, zombie-like, already defeated by the day and it was barely 9 AM:

Him: “Hey Alex!”

Me: “Hi Mike. Ughhh I’m SO tired.”

Mike: “Me too. I’ve been here since 5 AM. Do you need something to eat?”

Me: “Yeah, but I can’t decide. What should I get?”

Mike: “How about I surprise you?”

Me: “Ooohh, yes please.”

I then went to the register and ordered and paid for my drink with a different barista.  Shortly after my drink was ready at the end of the bar, Mike came over and handed me 2 pastry bags (pictured below). I tried to hand him my phone with the Starbucks card app pulled up so he could charge my card for whatever he gave me, but he just subtly smiled and nodded “no” at me. So I smiled and silently thanked him as we exchanged “have a good day!” ‘s.

His hearts are getting better!

He ended up giving me 2 giant warm chocolate chip cookies and a warm egg/sausage/cheese breakfast sandwich, and drew hearts on them too. And I ate ALL of them before 10 AM and was just happy as a clam. So he’s probably my soul mate, right? I mean, a man who feeds me and apparently doesn’t seem to care if I eat all of the things and get fat? It’s all I could ever ask for.