Re:alternative to shakes
Any sort of high protein food would be good.
Personally though if money is tight then just buy a bulk bag of whey powder from one of the board sponsors. Have one straight after you train. Then use food throughout the day to meet your protein requirements.
If you have one shake a day a 2.5 kg bag would last ages.
"Believe To Achieve"
Currently taking a year out from competing to add some size on.