April 17, 2019, by Alina
Tips for saving money on your food shop
Those dreaded two words ‘food shop’ make students cringe so easily, either because it means spending money or because it means a long hike in the rain which just seems like too much effort. Nonetheless, although we don’t have parents around us to make sure that we’re getting our 5 a day (unless they mean overpriced coffees?), it’s something we all have to do so I thought I would put together a few tips to make it that little bit less expensive and tedious. Happy shopping! 😉
Don’t roll your eyes at this one – I know it is a fairly obvious one and we all know that we should plan our weekly shops but rarely end up doing them. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do this religiously, however, when I do it saves me so much money and time! By keeping a little list throughout the week of things that you’re running out of, it’ll save you from picking up random groceries that you never needed and missing out on staple food to live off for the rest of the week (I didn’t plan last week and ended up with too much tomato sauce and absolutely zero pasta 🙁 ) By planning not only what you’ll buy in your shop, but also when you’ll go, you’ll be much likely to make the journey fit in around your busy schedule and it will stop you from panic buying frozen pizzas for extortionate prices at Sainsbury’s last minute. Also, keep an eye on when your local shops do close – they often have heavy discounts at the end of the day that you can benefit from and you can add this into your schedule, too!
Considering the many jokes that exist about how skint students are, you would think that we would at least try to budget! Get your housemates together and suggest a rota where every week a different person does the shop, or you all chip in a fiver for the lot. By budgeting, you’ll find that you will be more attentive to cheaper replacements in stores and those pennies will add up towards the end of term when we’re all scraping by until the next student loan! If you manage to stick to a strict(ish) budget throughout a term, then you can treat yourself later on during the exam season – rather than the other way round!
As a meat-eater, I adore a lovely steak, however, I have found that by eating mostly vegetarian meals throughout the week I have saved so much money from not buying meat! My favourite replacement for chicken is ‘Quorn pieces’ – one bag costs a couple of quid from Lidl, they taste great in a cheeky stir-fry, they’re much healthier and I don’t have to worry about giving anyone salmonella. Lidl also stocks a lot of frozen fruit and veg – the berries make great snacks and the frozen broccoli and carrots can go into most dishes and still taste great! Consider changing up your diet to see what frozen alternatives there are – you can’t go wrong!
There are some brilliant (and all too relatable) points here! Making that list is a crucial element to keeping your shop efficient. Many of my housemates often make it a social occasion and weirdly enjoy pushing a trolley around the shops together for half an hour which definitely takes away the chore-factor. Another good idea if the weather is gross and the shop is a bit of a trek away is to combine forces to do an online order with delivery – if you are flexible with delivery times you can get this really cheap.