At some point in your college career, most of you will be presented with a new thing you are unsure of what to do with: a kitchen.
It will not take you long to figure out that cooking is cheaper than eating out. Unfortunately, many will fail to utilize their kitchens on the grounds that they do not have time to cook.
This may be true for some people, but it does not have to be this way. If you know what you are doing, cooking should be quicker and more convenient than eating out.
I wish somebody had explained this to me when I first started cooking. After all, time is money.
Cooking may seem like a tedious task, but compare it to your alternative. Eating out involves driving to a restaurant, waiting in line, paying 3-4 times as much as you normally would for a meal, and then driving back home.
When I speak of cooking, I am not referring to the usual shortcuts of Ramen noodles, frozen pizza and chicken strips (though you can rely on these in a pinch). Even when you cook real meals, it should still be quicker than going to a restaurant.
One thing you will realize when learning how to cook is that normal recipes are designed for entire families. Most of you, who are still in the unmarried phase of your life, will become frustrated with this. Fortunately, you can turn this into a positive thing.
Leftovers, combined with your freezer, are your best friend. This may seem like a simple concept (and it is), but a lot of people struggle to realize its potential.
Remember, leftovers will last in your freezer for at least a week. Theoretically, you could have multiple meals stored in your freezer at the same time.
So despite the fact that you would be eating leftovers seven days in a row, you could be eating something different every day. And you would only have to cook one day a week in order to make this happen.
Note that soups, stews, hotdishes and stir fries lend themselves particularly well to freezing. They taste almost identical to their freshly cooked counterparts, even upon heating in a microwave.
You could also utilize your freezer for another time saving method: storing vegetables. I know that people like to romanticize fresh vegetables, but personally, I think they are a waste of time.
Fresh vegetables need to be cleaned and cut. They are also sold in quantities larger than a single person could ever eat in a week (the usual time it takes for them to spoil).
Frozen vegetables, on the other hand, can be eaten as is. They can also be stored for months at a time.
This is not a trivial matter, as the act of cleaning and cutting vegetables constitutes a large percentage of the cooking process.
You will be surprised how much time these relatively simple tips will save you. From a time-saving perspective, cooking is definitely worth the initial investment it takes to learn.