Picture this: you’ve just moved out; the first student loan has dropped and you’ve got more money than you know what to do with. You decide it’s probably a good time to go out and do your first real shop, so you walk into the nearest supermarket and spend £75 on sweets, chocolate, and alcohol. As the week continues you realise that your body maybe needs more than refined sugars to continue functioning, so you order 4 takeaways to give yourself something of more substance. All in all, you’ve spent a month’s food budget in 5 days, and it’s only the first week of uni! Shopping wisely and stopping habits like this before they begin are vital if you want to have both a healthy body and healthy bank account! First things first, set yourself a reasonable budget; food is expensive so a top-end budget of £40-50 is good for most people.
Step two: try not to constantly break this budget. It’s all well and good setting aside a chunk of money for your weekly shop, but then blowing it buying snacks from your on-campus shop defeats the object entirely! Treat all food and snacks as part of this budget and try and be realistic with what amount you’ll really be spending on snacks every week. For myself, a single shop helps me to limit spending – as lots of smaller shops allows more opportunity for indulgence and then overspending! Cooking in bulk can help you to save both money and time! Big pasta and rice-based meals mean that you can cook every other day and helps with your shopping as you only need to think about half the amount of meals – lovely. Shopping on a Sunday can also help as a lot of supermarkets have great discounts at close to their closing time, meaning you can grab a bargain!
Another tip: check your expiry dates!!! There’s nothing worse than a fridge filled with gone off milk and chicken that’s 3 days out of date, for either you or your new flat mates. Always keep a track of the expiry dates of fresh foods and make sure that when you buy it from the shops you try and grab the latest expiry date you can. If you do buy short-dated produce you can always freeze it- with meat and bread lasting months in the freezer instead of days in a fridge. Keep it simple! Cooking meals with bulky carbs such as potato, pasta, and rice will help keep prices down and keep you fuller for longer, as well as making meal planning that bit easier.
Remember! Keep it simple, keep it in budget, and keep it nice! Find foods you like that are quick and easy to cook, focusing on foods that fill you up!