When I was preparing for university I had my parents telling me that I must be careful with my money and set budgets. Well… I didn’t really end up doing that. I spent money as and when I needed to so I had no idea how much I was spending each week. The biggest chunk of my money goes on food. I am obsessed with it. I love my meals out, lunch out, the occasional takeaway, I can’t resist the smell of the homemade soup in Delicious in the Charles Wilson building and I love to cook. It’s a case of bye-bye money, hello calories. But, during my time at university I have picked up some tricks on how to save some money on food. So if you love food just as much as me, then here are some tips which you might find useful:
It might go without saying but always have breakfast before you leave the house. It is the most important meal of the day and if you don’t have it you’ll get to uni and before you know you’ll be at the queue in Starbucks. A loaf of bread is less than £1 and you’ll get a weeks’ worth of breakfast out of that!
Buy your fruit and veg at the grocery store, not the supermarket. Paying for your vegetables by weight and without the packaging is a whole lot cheaper (and more environmentally friendly) than buying it at the supermarket. And it tastes so much nicer. There are grocery shops on Queens Road and I’m pretty sure they’ll be some in Oadby. There is also the market in town which does super cheap fruit and veg.
If you like soup, buy a thermal flask. I recently bought myself a flask thinking that I could take tea in it to help me get through the day. But then I thought about putting soup in it. And that was a great idea! It keeps it hot for 6-8 hours. So rather than spending £2 on the soup in Delicious (well I’ll still buy it occasionally because it is really tasty!) I spend 80p/90p on a can of soup or make my own.
If you’re close to a supermarket then take a visit there in the evening (at 4/5 o’ clock is good) and purchase the items that they have reduced because they’ve reached their sell by date, you can buy all sorts for very little money! Don’t be put off that its past its sell by date because it doesn’t mean it’s not edible, that’s just a way the shop ensures they don’t end up selling gone off food by setting a date in which they should sell it by. You’ll know if food is gone off because it will be mouldy. That goes for everything, don’t rely on sell by dates and use by dates, you don’t want to end up throwing something away when it’s still perfectly ok to eat.
Spend some time in the supermarket to compare prices. Shopping isn’t a pleasant task and normally once you get in the supermarket you just want to get it done as quickly as possible. But by doing this you might be missing out on some the good deals or picking things up when there is a cheaper alternative. Have a browse and take your time. Or shop online, that is a really good way to compare prices- you can share the delivery costs with your housemates too which means there is very little extra cost involved (I spent 50p on delivery when I shared the cost between 3 people).
Become veggie! Ok so you don’t have to actually become vegetarian, but going meat free occasionally will save you money (and gives you a chance to try out new recipes) because meat is quite costly. If you’re making a curry for example, rather than spending a couple of quid on chicken breasts substitute them for a tin of chickpeas which costs less than £1.
So they’re just a few tips which I have found to help me lower the amount of money I spend on food. This is not to say that you shouldn’t still treat yourself. Because I save money this way I am able to treat myself to the occasional meal out or takeaway.
I hope this helps!