Sunday, March 17, 2013 1:49 PM
"Delicious" Money Saving Tips And Tricks From One YLS Student
Inspiration for the blog comes in many forms. Take my change meeting with 2L Christina Coutu this past week who happened to see me with a container of my favorite Greek yogurt. Bonding over our mutual love of yogurt, Christina shared how in a purely cost savings measure she had taken to actually making her own yogurt. (Seriously you can make it? I thought it only came from the dairy case at Stop and Shop?). Christina said that when faced with the realization of how much she was spending buying those little individual yogurts she realized she could save some significant funds doing it herself. And she didn’t stop there.. .she also shared how she makes her own fast, affordable and healthy steel cut oats breakfast (in lieu of high cost cereals) and how she prepackages healthy snacks from home for munchies cravings while at YLS. Better than anything from Rachel Ray or Martha Stewart, here Christina shares her self-proclaimed “money saving tips and tricks in the kitchen” proving that budgeting can be done while here at YLS:
1. Make your own GREEK Yogurt.
What you’ll need:
* Milk (any fat content will work—higher fat = richer/smoother)
* Starter (1/2 cup per ½ gallon of milk of yogurt with live cultures)
- Heat the milk in a saucepan on the stove or in a microwaveable safe container (in the microwave) until the milk reaches 180 to 200? F.
- Let the milk cool until it reaches 110-115? F.
- Once cool pour the milk into the crockpot.
- Remove one cup of the milk and whisk in the starter. Stir this mixture into the crockpot.
- Place thermometer inside the crockpot (you can simply crack the lid slightly). Cover the lid with a towel to keep the heat in.
- Check the yogurt after a few hours to see that the temperature hasn’t fallen below ~105-110? F. If it has simply turn on the crockpot (warm or low setting) until the thermometer reads 110-115.
- Leave the yogurt to sit for a total of ~8 hours, longer will yield tangier yogurt.
* Once the yogurt has sat for ~8 hours you should have a layer of whey on the top. I like to pour this into a container and use it for banana bread (higher protein content than plain old water). This also makes the yogurt thicker.
* For extra thick yogurt strain it in a colander lined with cheesecloth, heavy duty paper towels, or coffee filters.
2. Make overnight steel cut oats for a fast, affordable, and healthy breakfast
What you’ll need:
* Add-ins of your choosing (suggestions to follow)
* Crock pot or regular pot
* 1-1/2 cups milk (any variety will do)
* 1-1/2 cups water
* 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* Optional garnishes:
- Coat inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.
- Add all ingredients to slow cooker.
- Stir, cover, and cook on low for approx. 7 hours (slow cooker times can vary).
- Spoon oatmeal into Tupperware containers (1 cup portions are perfect) and store in the refrigerator for an easy grab and go breakfast.
*I like to pour ¼ cup milk on top, pop them in the microwave, and add additional toppings for a warm breakfast.
* Chopped apples, walnuts, and apple pie spice.
* Chopped bananas, cocoa powder, and slivered almonds.
* Flaxseeds, canned pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice.
* Maple syrup and brown sugar.
3. Portion your own snacks into individual bags.
* Sounds easy enough but we’ve all spent way too much money on snacks because hunger strikes during a class break.
* Buy some Ziploc baggies and large sizes of foods you love—portion all of them at once and you’ll never have to worry about spending money frivolously on snacks.
A Few Great Snack Ideas:
1. Dry Cereal: Instead of paying $2 per serving for an individual cup of cereal in the dining hall do your own. A $4 box of cereal with 12 servings is just 33 cents a serving—saving you $1.67 every time you bring your own.
2. Nuts: Any variety will do but I love the flavored varieties.
3. Chips/Crackers: Just divide them up and pack some hummus for dipping.
4. Raw veggies and dip or hummus: Slice, portion, and bag them up. Grab a bag with a few tbsp. of hummus or dip if you prefer not to eat them plain. (mini Tupperware is great for this).
5. Raw fruit: bananas, apples, and oranges are great for packing.
6. Hardboiled eggs: boil a whole dozen at once.
There are great buys [Note: Christina cites Amazon] for stocking up on DIY snack essentials including: Food Storage Containers (less than $25 and great for your dips, oatmeal, and homemade yogurt), Thermometer (less than $5 and a must-have for yogurt) and the Crockpot (less than $25).
Any other YLS students have their own resourceful tips and tricks for living within the student budget? And yes .. I am talking to you... 3Ls... who have had three years of learning how to make a budget work for you. If so share them in the blog comments below or email them to our office (firstname.lastname@example.org) as the topic of their own future blog posting...
Filed under: money, law, financial aid, graduate, budget