12 Super Creative Ways to Save Money and Eat at Home (Even Without a Kitchen)

A Reddit user sought help from members of the frugal community on the platform on how she could eat good meals and save money without having a kitchen.

Her apartment complex had burned down, and her insurance gave her a hotel until they could figure out what steps to take. The OP will be at the hotel for a month. She says that her room only has a mini-fridge and a coffee maker. There is a microwave in the lobby, and the hotel does not offer free breakfast.

The OP does not want to spend her money eating out, and the choice of meals she can have in the hotel room is limited. She wanted advice on how she could eat without access to a kitchen.

Members of the frugal Reddit community came up with ideas to help the OP out. We have sampled some of the best responses here.

1. Buy Cheap “Convenience” Foods

Blurred and happy brunette woman holding paper bag with groceries with red pepper in focus.
Image Credit: IgorVetushko via DepositPhotos.com.

One user advised, “Buy easy food and cheap “convenience” foods like shredded carrots, salsa, coleslaw mix, canned beans and lentils, canned corn, baby carrots, and dip, bananas, and raisins to help with your meal prep.”

2. Use Hot Water To Cook Food

Close up Asian man eating yummy hot and spicy instant noodle using chopsticks and bowl isolated on yellow background.
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“Things like oatmeal, couscous, rice noodles, and miso soup can be cooked with hot water. Couscous salad and rice noodle soup are so easy, and you can add shredded carrots and coleslaw mix to bulk up the health of them for super cheap,” the user added.

3. Use an Electric Frying Pan

smiling chef tossing up frying bell peppers with frying pan.
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“An electric frying pan is great, too. Heat up anything canned. Fry burgers, steak, pork chops, etc.,” another user said.

4. Invest in a Crockpot

Crock-Pot, Red.
Image Credit: Keith Homan/Shutterstock.

Another user spoke from experience, “I do hotel cooking multiple times a year, and I rely on my crockpot the most— it can cook ravioli or gnocchi in a sauce, bake potatoes, cook meat, heat soup or chili, all kinds of things. You can also get plastic crockpot liners to make cleanup easy since it’s a pain to wash a crockpot in a hotel.”

5. Ask the Hotel to Loan You a Microwave

Woman cooking with a microwave.
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“Tell the front desk the situation. Sometimes they have microwaves they can loan out,” urged another user.

6. Use a Church Kitchen To Cook Your Meals

young woman about to start cooking in kitchen
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Another user urged the OP to be proactive, “Is there a church nearby? Many churches (such as mine) have kitchens. Tell the church about your predicament, and maybe they would let you use their facilities to cook.”

7. “Iron” Your Food To Warm Them Up

The hot steam from the iron. Powerful film effect of steam on photography.
image Credit: Dusan Petkovic/Shutterstock.

Another suggested a different approach, “Aluminum foil (wrap food item) and the iron will warm sandwiches, grilled cheese, veggies that just need warmed, frozen waffles, heat and serve sausages (or other precooked meats or lunch meats).”

8. Be Creative

girl with two oranges looking weird
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A user urges the OP to think of creative recipes that do not require much use of the kitchen, “There are a lot of ways to eat healthy and save money without a kitchen. Be creative and experiment with different recipes and cooking methods. Soup is a great way to stay warm and healthy on a cold day. Simply heat up a can of soup in the microwave. You can also add your favorite toppings, such as shredded cheese, croutons, or sour cream.”

9. Use Coupons and Discounts

Coupon Purchase Order Discount Concept.
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“Many grocery stores and restaurants offer coupons and discounts that can help you save money. Be sure to look for these before you make your purchase,” the user continued.

Pack snacks and easy-to-cook meals.

“This could include things like granola bars, trail mix, sandwiches, and fruit. You can also pack some easy-to-cook meals, such as pasta or rice, that you can heat up in the microwave,” the user urged.

10. Try Pre-Packaged Food

sliced cheese.
Image Credit: Chatham172/Shutterstock.

“I really like those pre-packaged salads, and I usually add chickpeas/beans/tofu for protein. Add some cheese and crackers on the side,” advised another user.

11. Visit the Thrift Store for Supplies

A closeup shot of red kitchen utensils.
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Another user urged the OP to buy whatever they needed for cooking from a thrift shop, “Thrift store – buy a good cutting board, some knives and utensils, a toaster oven and some aluminum foil.

You can make lots of salads without needing a freezer, burgers, and more with a toaster oven. Use the coffeemaker to make boiled eggs (I have done this).”

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.