Moving into a new apartment? Don’t forget some cookware! Photo by 91RS and licensed under CC BY 2.0.On Monday, Emily wrote about getting cheap school supplies at the dollar store. While this is great for getting all your notes down in class, it’s important to remember that you need a lot more to survive being a college student. For example, before you left home, did you consider how you’re going to be doing all your cooking? After all, as many students soon learn, you can’t live off of ramen forever. You’ll need pots, pans, spatulas, and all the other myriad kitchenware to whip up your grub. 

But where exactly do you find this stuff? While no one store specializes in cookware, many retailers do stock it. From Target to Macy’s to Wal-Mart, there are a lot of places you can go for your pot and pan needs. However, take one look at the price tags at these places, and you might just go back to considering eating only ramen. They often stock single pots for as much as $30! And trust me: you’re going to need more than just a pot.

To really do all the types of boiling, frying, and sautéing that most college cooks will have to do to prepare tasty dishes, you’ll need:

  1. Large nonstick frying pan
  2. Small nonstick frying pan
  3. Large saucepot (aluminum or stainless steel)
  4. Small saucepot (aluminum or stainless steel)
  5. Colander
  6. Baking dish (glass or ceramic)
  7. Two cookie sheets (at least)
  8. Several resealable plastic containers (for leftovers)

If you round up all the stuff on this list at a place like Target, you’ll probably spend at least $75. Want to get the exact same stuff for half the price? Then you should head on over to Ross and IKEA. I know it might seem weird that a clothing store selling unbought department store fashions and the giant Swedish furniture store are good places to pick up cheap cookware, but head to the household section at both and take a look for yourself. You’ll find all the things I listed for at least half what you’d pay at other retailers, and they’re all high quality to boot. Alternatively, if your parents have a lot of this stuff lying around the house, you could probably just take some off their hands and avoid spending more money!

So now that you’re in the know about the tools you need to be a master chef, gather up those pots and pans and start cooking!

Do you have any other college cookware tips? Where do you get your cheap pots and pans? Let us know in the comments!