I’ve been sticking to the same routine for my food shopping since the beginning of second year, so I feel like I have pretty much nailed it when it comes to sticking to my budget. Some people don’t follow a strict budget and buy food as and when, if you have the means to do that then thats great, but to make the most out of my money I find this the easiest, it also helps me stick to healthy eating. I am also the type of person who likes to go out and often I need to manage to make room in my budget for vodka.
Firstly, the key is to meal plan. I meal plan my life away, I am a creature of habit so this doesn’t actually take too long to do each week. It usually looks something like this:
Lunch: Eggs on toast/soup and toast
Dinner: Sausage pasta/curry/risotto/fajitas etc.
My meal plan sheets are from wilkinson’s, they have a section for snacks and a tear off shopping list. I take whatever food is on the meal plan and put all the ingredients on the list ready to tear off and take shopping with me. This way I don’t go in buying unnecessary things like 5 bars of chocolate, which I probably would do if left to roam Asda long enough, and therefore it saves me money.
Next is the actual shopping, I prefer to go to the shops myself rather than order online. But you could alternatively do a big online shop with your flatmates to save on the delivery cost. Some items I tend to go for the cheaper options for as they tend to make no difference for example, frozen fruit/veg, tinned sweetcorn, pasta, rice, and it means you can spend a bit more on the nicer items such as snacks (need to save the pennies for Dairy Milk) meat, or fresh fruit. I also like to buy large bags of risotto, rice and pasta as it is better value for money, and it means that it will save you money in subsequent weeks as you only have to buy them every so often.
Once it comes to actual cooking, I tend to cook my meals in bulk. Especially if I’m doing a sausage pasta, stir fry, or curry, as it means I can cook 3 meals at once and refrigerate them to eat in the coming days, and I only end up cooking 2/3 times a week then. In terms of my snacks, I tend to buy multipacks, as it means I can just grab a pack/bar on my way to uni to eat in between lectures. Once or twice a week I will go to my local shop and buy myself a pack of chocolate buttons or a bar of chocolate, but I find that not having this in my cupboard means I won’t buy it unless I feel like I really want it.
Lastly I would recommend setting aside money each week for additional food, for example if you’re at uni all day and know you will only have time to grab a quick sandwich, or if you fancy doing your work in a coffee shop, as then you will have the flexibility without having already spent an entire weeks money on food.
Hope you found this helpful,