We all know the feeling. Your student loan has barely hit your account and it’s already gone. Maybe it was the ill-advised round of Jägerbombs, or the copious amount of chocolate that you bought to help you make it through the exam period alive. Whatever it was, your overdraft is fast approaching and you haven’t even thought about stocking your cupboards for the rest of the term…
Fear not, here are some easy ways to feed yourself, (and possibly your greedy housemates), without breaking the bank.
1. Shop Independent
Many student accommodation areas have grocers and independent fruit and veg shops nearby. Although at first it may seem more expensive, the produce is often fresher, bigger and most importantly, tastier. It’s a win-win situation, you get the best produce on the cheap.
2. Check the sell-by date
One of the best ways to save money on food is buying food that’s going out of date. This doesn’t mean you need to root through the bins for mouldy Müller corners. Most supermarkets reduce the prices on loads of food when it reaches its sell-by date. This means that the food is still edible, they just need to sell it quickly. The best times hunt for these bargains is the evening or on a Sunday.
3. Bargain buys
Most town centres have a plethora of bargain shops, where you can buy anything from shampoo to scarves for a pound, or the elusive 99p. However, don’t be fooled by their slightly scummy exterior, these shops are a treasure trove for many branded snacks and many other staples to give your kitchen cupboards a well-needed boost, like ketchup, noodles and beans.
4. Never shop hungry
It’s a well-known and widely acknowledged fact that shopping for food when you’re hungry is a mistake for your waistline and your bank account. When you shop for food hungry, you are more likely to buy more food, but also junk that won’t even keep you going past your 10am lecture. Believe me, before you do your weekly shop, eat something, and those Doritos won’t seem so appealing.
5. Plan, plan, plan
University life is hectic to say the least. With all those pre-drinks you need to attend, and that assessment you should probably start, having a meal plan can be extremely useful. Putting a plan together means you can tailor your meals around your plans, making sure you get your stomach lined before a night out. It also means that shopping is stress-free. Put together a list of all the ingredients you will need for your meals, and throw in something extra if you need a treat.
6. Eat together
One of the benefits of university accommodation is the constant comradery. Sharing clothes, lecture notes and gossip is all well and good, but why not extent this to your meals? It’s always cheaper to buy in bulk, and with a group fund, you can always buy dessert. Lasagne, stir frys and fajitas are quick and easy meals to make as a group. (Just make sure you’re not on washing up.)
7. Shop around
As the song says, it pays to shop around. The competition between the big supermarkets means one thing for you, better deals on your favourite products. Pringles for a pound? Throw them in the trolley! Buy one get one free on chocolate oranges? It would be rude not to! These deals are truly too good to miss, and you only have to walk a few steps to get them!