Cheap Eats for Uni Students

Happy cooking!

It's been revealed that uni students can barely afford to feed themselves. The cost of living and uni fees, compared with abysmal payments of government assistance, limitations in the numbers of hours that uni students can work and still maintain a decent work/life/study balance is making life extremely difficult for students across the country.

While the only real solution to this is a government getting its sh*t together and making sure that students are supported through their tertiary studies, here are some cheap-as ways to mix up the foods that you're probably already eating.

Mi Goreng -- $2.75 for a pack of 5

Jazz it up with these toppings:

  • Sriracha -- $7 for 740mL
  • Peanut butter -- $4.05 for 375g
  • Fried egg -- $6 for a dozen
  • Chopped peanuts -- $2.10 for 375g
  • Canned tuna -- $1.50 for a 95g can
  • Use sesame oil instead of the oil in the packet. -- $3.15 for 150mL
    Oh, and add veggies too so your mum stops worrying about your nutrition. Image: Getty Images
Pasta -- 65c for 500g

What to add to your pasta

  • Egg -- $6 for a dozen

Right before your pasta is finished boiling, pop it into a hot frying pan with some olive oil and turn off the heat immediately. Crack an egg into the pan and mix it in with the pasta really quickly to get the hot pasta to cook the egg.

  • Rocket & Avo -- $2 a bag / $2.40 each (in a good week...)

Cook your pasta to al dente, grab a spoon and just scoop out little bits of avocado into the pasta, add the rocket and if you've got one left from last weekend's round of tequila shots, add a squeeze of lime.

  • Prawn and chilli -- $20 per kilo / $1.80 for a 23g shaker of flakesNow I don't mean to tell you how to live your life, but if you like prawns and you're not averse to some spice, wrap your taste buds around this dish. It's perfect if some mates are over and you want something cheap and healthier than your fourth night of takeout. Sauté the prawns in a pan with some olive oil, garlic, salt and the chilli flakes (if you want), cook your pasta to just before al dente, reserve some pasta water, drain your pasta. Add the pasta to the pan with your prawns once they're almost cooked through and then add some of the pasta water bit by bit and stir with a wooden spoon to get a nice coating of the oil over your noodles.
Make it fancy... for cheap. Image: Getty Images
Toast (and Toasties) -- $2 for a loaf at your local bakery/supermarket

Toast can be a pretty depressing breakfast, so if you're sick of either peanut butter, vegemite or jam here are some alternatives:

  • Peanut butter... with sliced banana and honey drizzled on top
  • Ricotta and tomato -- $3.80 for 250g / $3 for 250g
  • Hummus and smoked salmon -- $4.50 for 400g tub / $7 for 100g

For those with a jaffle maker/sandwich press get amongst these fancy af  toastie combos:

  • Croque Madame: Ham, cheese, mustard with a fried egg on top
  • Haloumi and honey
  • Prosciutto and mozzarella
  • Leftover taco mince, jalapeño and guac
  • Mac + cheese
General tips to make things a little easier on your wallet:
  • Check out your local markets -- they're usually great spots to pick up cheap produce on the weekends. Pro tip: if you don't mind bruised/slightly battered fruit and veg (as you shouldn't because our farmers need the help) get there just before they're set to close to get last minute picks as the vendors are trying to get rid of their stock.
  • Buy in bulk -- For items like olive oil, rice, tuna etc, you can often buy bulk items when they're on sale. A 10kg bag of rice can be around $12 when they're on sale and that will last you months.

**Prices in this article were approximate at the time this article was published**