Budgeting is important in every aspect of University life. It can, though, be really easily to overspend on food, so this post is dedicated to that. Suggestions of how to keep the finances ticking along, and not spend too much on things you don’t need.
- Avoid meal deals.
The first one is important for students: stop buying meal deals! The ready meals and lunch meal deals at supermarkets seem like a good thing, but will actually cost you a lot more in the long run. 3 meals costing about £6 in the supermarket could be made for half that if you did it yourself, and you’d have plenty of leftovers. If you’re counting the pennies, it’s really worth doing everything from scratch, and avoiding everything already prepared in the supermarkets.
- Buy for a week.
Some students tend to pick up food as and when they need it, particularly if they have to lug shopping back a bit of a way. Instead, try and shop for a week, and make a comprehensible list so you’ve got everything you need. This will mean there are no unexpected costs, and you won’t run out of food. If you buy things in bulk, too, it may cost more at the time, but it’ll save you money in the long run. Everything’s cheaper in larger quantities!
- Prepare meals in advance
Meal prep is important if you have a really busy week. Make the most of your fridge and freezer space and prepare meals in advance, so you know exactly what you’re cooking and when. This will stop you from straying and heading towards a takeaway or ready meal, and will give you more time to do other things when the evenings come in.
- Cook for others.
If you can come to some sort of agreement with your friends and flatmates, you can cook in bulk, which will be cheaper between you. Do a few meals like this a week (splitting the responsibilities) and you’ll find you save a few quid. It also means you get the odd night off cooking!
- Don’t ‘pop’ into a supermarket.
I have a really bad habit of ‘popping’ into the supermarket to pick up some fruit or a snack for the evening, and coming out with £10 worth of shopping (which only lasts a couple of days!). Don’t pop into large supermarkets just because of the convenience. If you want snacks for the week again buy in bulk. (A multipack of crisps compared to a big £1 bag every time you’re hungry, for example).
In regards to fruit, it can get really expensive, especially if you’re buying the pre-prepared stuff. Instead, buy whole fruit (melon, pineapple, etc), share it between friends or keep it refrigerated and it can last you days, or even a week.