If you’re anything like me, you are a poor college student. I recently spent some time out of town on a school function and was going to miss work and could not afford to eat out every day. By spending less than $20 beforehand on food to bring along, I was able to eat well without spending any money on the trip.

A hotel room equipped with only a coffee maker and an iron can be transformed into a kitchenette. The steps to eating out of a hotel room are easy and cheap:

1. Plan ahead. Make a meal plan by calculating how many days and meals will be needed. Don’t forget snacks.

2. Pack the necessities. Depending on the meals that are chosen, bring the proper flatware and utensils. Don’t forget the towel and dish scrubber to clean the dishes.

3. Boil water. Use the coffee machine to heat water to cook food. Don’t forget to follow directions on the coffee machine, leaving out the coffee.

4. Follow directions. Read the package and follow the directions to complete the meal.

Sample three-day meal plan for less than $20:

Day 1: Breakfast: Mini cinnamon bagels and hot chocolate

Lunch: Chicken Ramen noodles

Dinner: Macaroni and cheese

Day 2: Breakfast: Pop tarts and hot chocolate

Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich*

Dinner: Sausage gumbo

Day 3: Breakfast: Mini cinnamon bagels and hot chocolate

Lunch: Macaroni and cheese

Dinner: Beef stew and cheesy mashed potatoes

*For the grilled cheese sandwich: 1. Clean iron, while it’s still cool, 2. Heat iron on a low setting, 3. Press iron on bread to melt cheese.

The secret to creating a meal plan is choosing foods that can be made using only hot water or just need to be heated. Meals can include something as simple as ramen noodles to spaghetti. Be creative and have fun.