So, here's the thing: I'm still busy. Really busy. That's not necessarily a problem in itself, but it's caused me to realize I have to more or less give up resisting something I'd hoped to avoid: the prospect of more often buying prepared foods or (shudder) eating out.
Yes, I'm still a student, but I've always taken a certain degree of pride in not having the stereotypically wasteful, ignorant, and economically unsound eating habits of one. I buy in bulk and cook from scratch; I always have some kind of soup or stew made and on hand for quick meals; I roast, sauté, double-boil, steam, and bake. I keep a regular stock of all-purpose garnishes like balsamic vinegar, fresh limes, and cilantro, for pity's sake. In short, I take it as a personal failing to not eat well, reasonably nutritiously, and cheaply.
That's why it hurts so much, between classes and work, to not have the time to do little things like bake bread or make a brown stock: I feel guilty about it. I'm now making enough (well, to be fair, an amount I'd have called 'crazy stupid improbable' for my age and experience, not too long ago) money from my various jobs that I can certainly afford to eat out daily, or have frozen dinners morning, noon and night, but, crikey, the guilt. It just gnaws away at me. I can't stop myself from analyzing every dish, and calculating exactly how much the restaurant or manufacturer's markup is. Obviously I can't argue with that markup involved in labour and capital expenditures, but it's painful nonetheless, to know that (barring exceptionally complex recipes) if I had a little time and the ingredients on hand, I could cook something just as good for half to a quarter of the price. Curséd be the man who knows the worth of every onion and olive!
I know it's silly, and that my time is right now often worth considerably more than potential savings on staples. Yet, somehow, that's not really a comfort. At least I can take the necessity as an opportunity to explore restaurants near campus...