Food costs can easily escalate quickly when you’re at University. If you don’t get it right then you could be spending much more on food than you need to. But, it doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Here’s a guide on how to shop for food whilst you’re at uni…
Before you go:
• Consider doing your shop online. That way, you’ll be able to track the cost of your shop much more easily and arrange a time which suits you. Plus, you won’t get distracted by things you don’t really need! Shopping this way will also give you more time for other things, as you’ll only have to collect and/or unpack your shopping.
• Make a meal plan. Work out exactly what you’re going to eat over the next week or two and this will determine what you need to buy. It’s important to only buy useful stuff, that you can spread out over the week to make meals. There’s no point going shopping, spending £50 on food for a few weeks and not having enough ingredients to make meals with.
• Make a shopping list with what you need to buy. By already doing a meal plan, you should know what you need to buy and by doing this regularly you should know roughly how much your shop is going to cost you before you leave your door.
• Plan to bulk buy if you can. Get together with your flatmates and buy stuff like toilet roll and washing up liquid together. It’ll end up much cheaper in the long run.
• Bring a suitcase or a rucksack along with you. It can be a real pain trying to struggle back to your accommodation with plastic bags hanging by the tips of your fingers, so take something else to carry it.
• Although it doesn’t cost that much to get the bus to the supermarket, could you save a few quid by walking? It’s much healthier and nicer to take a short stroll there. You could always walk there and get the bus back if you’ve got loads of bags. Don’t forget that there is a market every Thursday on campus, where you can get things like bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, usually for a fraction of supermarket prices.
• Collect any coupons or vouchers that you come across and take them with you.
• Don’t go while you’re hungry. You’ll end up spending much more than you originally planned to. Have a decent meal before you go so you won’t be tempted!
Whilst you’re there
• Don’t be tempted by special offers- especially at the end of the aisles. The offers available may look good, but be careful, as they often encourage you to spend more money and make you get more stuff than you actually need. If you really need to buy from the on offer aisle, at least buy it instead of one of the other meals you planned for the week, or buy freezable items that will last a while before you have to use them.
• STICK TO YOUR LIST and tick stuff off when you’ve got it. You don’t have to stick to your list religiously, but when you’re picking suff up that you hadn’t planned for, think “do I really need this?” The answer is probably no, as you would have covered most things in your shopping list.
• When buying fresh stuff, search for the longest best before date by looking at the back of the shelf. It will make it last a bit longer and that way you’re getting a bit more for your money!
• Once you’ve checked your list and made sure you haven’t forgotten anything, grab a small treat for when you get home as a reward, like a chocolate bar or some ice cream. With the promise of a treat like that, you’re less likely to buy other stuff that you hadn’t planned for!
When you get home
• Pack away everything as soon as you get home, as things may start to defrost or go off if you just leave them on the side and remember to keep your receipt in case you need to return anything!