Broke College Kids Recognize These Sad Meals All Too Well

Oftentimes, being a college student means that you are probably low on cash. Even more likely is that you don’t have access to a fully equipped kitchen, especially if you are living in the dorms. Low funds and less-than-ideal kitchen spaces can make it pretty difficult to prepare yourself three healthy meals a day. However, these college students have gotten creative with what they’ve got, no matter how little it might be.

1. A Multi-Use Charger

A hot computer charger heating up a panini next to a laptop

Even though a lot of your time during college will be taken up by studying at your computer, it doesn’t mean that time has to go to waste, especially at the expense of your dinner. This student realized how hot his laptop charger would get as he would keep it plugged in for his multi-hour study session. Instead of letting the heat go to waste, he’s using it to warm up his panini. A hot meal, ready to go, without even leaving your seat in the library.

2. The Coffee Pot Hack

Cooking spaghetti in a coffee maker

Most dorm rooms have space for a small coffee maker. But this student figured out that she didn’t have to stick to only a cup of joe in the morning. Instead, using the boiled water collected in the carafe, she managed to make herself a pasta dish, without a pot, a stove, or even a strainer (the lid on the carafe makes for a perfect stopper when pouring out the hot water. The Italians might cringe at this one, but she certainly got the job done with limited resources.

3. No Need to Worry About Oil Splashes

A man frying up chicken with his arm in a coke bottle to protect him from oil splashes

When frying up anything in hot oil, there’s nothing worse than when it jumps out of the pan and onto your skin. It feels like a tiny droplet-sized fireball, and leaves an ugly red mark that just looks like yet another pimple. This college genius finished his bottle of coke and realized that he could use it for breakfast the next day. He simply cut off the bottom and stuck his arm in, fork in hand. Not only did he protect his arm from boiling oil, but he managed to find another use for the plastic bottle, instead of just tossing it.

4. At Least The Sauce is Red

Tomato sauce, while not very expensive, is definitely more expensive than a free packet of ketchup you can get from McDonald’s. And besides, it’s the same color as pasta sauce, and it’s made from the same ingredient! Okay, we are trying to justify this one and it’s becoming difficult. Plain pasta with ketchup that’s pretending to be tomato sauce is definitely one of the sadder college meals we’ve struggled through eating.

5. It Counts As a Taco If It’s Folded…Right?

While technically a taco consists of one layer that’s folded holding some sort of inside filling, this student might have pushed that definition a little bit too far. With only a circular slice of Colby Jack cheese and a healthy squirt of mayonnaise inside, this struggling college kid has made the absolute saddest “taco” we have ever laid eyes on. Not to mention, the cheese-to-mayo ratio is more than a little disturbing. All in all, this is one meal that we would probably skip and just go to bed early.

6. Pasta A La Gourmet


This student really put in effort while making this spectacularly ratchet dish. While most students just opt for plain spaghetti noodles, she was not ready to sacrifice the elegance of her meal. Instead, she went for a full-flavor version including cold spaghetti noodles, a full slice of cheese, a couple chunks of spam, and the piece de resistance, a dollop of canned tomato soup for the sauce. It might not be the most appetizing meal in the word, but we’ve got to give her credit for at least trying to have all the components of a good pasta meal. 

7. The Struggle Sandwich

When making a sandwich, it’s important to layer it up with multiple items that add depth, consistency, and flavor to your masterpiece. You do this with meats, cheeses, vegetables, spices, and spreads. If you’re a broke college student, however, you can still manage to create a multi-faceted sandwich…but you might have to use some different ingredients. This student has managed to retain all of the diversity of a typical sandwich, but using more price-appropriate lunch meats, kraft singles, Doritos, and a hot dog bun.

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