Ballin' on a Budget


With the semester in full swing, it’s common that most college students’ bank accounts are struggling to stay afloat. By now, students have paid for rent, tuition, books and student fees, and may have even bought something unnecessary with their financial aid money they regret. Plus, let’s be real; some college students’ diets indicate times are tough. Don’t worry, I’ve been there. Frozen everything, ramen noodles, sandwiches and rummaging for coins for Dollar Menu items are usually amongst the go-to’s while in college, but I’ve come up with some meals that fit a $10 and $20 budget whenever there’s extra cash. Plus, it’s good to eventually learn how to cook because eating out everyday and/or only having frozen foods in your 30s is pretty embarrassing. It also reinforces this famous “Give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day; teach a person how to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime,” saying.

Disclaimer: By no means, do I consider myself a bona fide chef and neither should you if you attempt to follow these recipes (or something similar), but I would recommend not going on Twitter asking Gordon Ramsay for advice on your newly cooked meal.

Chicken Tacos (Under $10)

  • Flour tortillas: $2.74
  • Chicken breast: $4.12

  • Lemon: $0.58

  • Avocado: $0.48

  • Tomato: $0.29

  • Lemon Pepper seasoning: $1

Total: $9.21


  • Season chicken with lemon, seasoning and salt.
  • Let it sit for 10-15 minutes for it to season.

  • Once done, place on a skillet on medium-to-low temperatures for 4-6 minutes on each side.

  • Cover chicken so it doesn’t dry out.

  • Once done, cut chicken into small pieces.

  • Heat up tortillas to preference.

Salmon with rice and vegetables (Under $20)

  • Fresh salmon: $7.78
  • Rice: $0.82

  • Lemon: $0.68

  • Foil paper: $1.87

  • Lemon Pepper seasoning: $1

  • Salt: $1

  • Minced Garlic: $1.78

  • Broccoli: $2.48

Total: $17.41


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Season salmon with minced garlic, lemon pepper seasoning, salt and lemon (with 2-3 lemon slices on top).

  • Place salmon on foil paper into a flat pan and place in oven.

  • Bake for 10-12 minutes.

  • Place one cup of white rice with two cups of water into rice cooker.

  • Place broccoli into rice cooker steamer tray so water from rice can steam and soften broccoli.

All items were purchased at Walmart and grocery store prices may change due to certain items.