Article by Nick DeMent | Photography by Neil Harman | Owl Staff

Savory sizzling chicken, sweet, sautéed sprouts, and rich renewing rice are slowly filling your senses with a hunger-arousing aroma. Your empty stomach turns with delight as the scent sails up your nose.

You hear a voice coming from the bowels of your inner glutton, “Feed me! Feed me! I want that! Smells like something other than the junk you’ve been dumping down here for the entire semester!”

Wait, your stomach doesn’t talk to you? That’s weird; the voices always told me that was normal.

No, those smells are not coming from a five-star restaurant. They are coming from your very own kitchen at an affordable price! Well, they will be, after you finish reading this article.

If you’re like me and trying to balance work, school, and expenses, you know money gets tight. The stress may drive you, literally, to some cheap outlet to quench the everlasting desire to eat and also save money.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to clog your arteries with gunk to save money for the more important things like bills, birthday presents, or plastic surgery!

Take it from Tommy Wagner, a General Studies major at HCC, who cooks his own healthy meals and saves money, while doing it.

“Don’t overpay to slowly kill yourself.”

“Honestly, I find that people who always eat out are wasting their money” says Wagner. “Money they could use towards bills or save for long term personal goals.”

Wagner and I put this philosophy to work when we cooked a quick and cheap meal he routinely makes. We compared this to a chicken sandwich meal you can get from McDonald’s.

Wagner went to Safeway to purchase the ingredients using his free club card. He was able to find some killer savings and something with actual nutritional value.

He bought a 50-serving bag of rice for $5, five large chicken tenderloins for another $5, a pound of brussel sprouts for $3, a dozen eggs for $3, a few avocados for 99 cents apiece, and a bottle of olive oil for $5.

Everything totaled about $24. This is a large amount of food that will last up to two weeks.

When broken down to cost per serving, Wagner’s plate of food was $5.76. The main dish of chicken and rice cost roughly $3 combined (2 servings of rice for 40 cents and 2 ½ chicken tenderloins for $2.50).

In contrast, the chicken sandwich, large fries, and large sweet tea from McDonald’s consists of less food than Wagner’s healthy meal and lacks nutritional value.

This heart attack on a plate forced me to toss almost $9 through the drive-thru window.

Don’t overpay to slowly kill yourself.

The next time you get the rumblies, stay away from the drive-thru-of-doom and give your wallet and body a break. Do some good ol’ home cookin’!

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