A guide to smart spending on food
If you’re like me, someone who spends several hours of the day thinking about food, then you’re most likely to waste away your money on daily snacks, weekly treats and going out for meals. Not to say that going out for meals is wasting money becuase depending on where you go and who you go with, it can actually be a great use of time. However, it is easy to be persuaded by friends, family and yourself to use up money that, as a student, you often don’t have. So I’ll just give you some easy tips and tricks that are so useful if you’re wanting to save a bit of cash.
Firstly cooking at home. Preparing meals at home for many seems like a daunting task, sometimes all you want to do is just sit on the sofa and veg out, but cooking can be so easy and enjoyable the more you practice. What I do to prevent myself from spending money on lunches at university is cooking roasted veg. Sounds random but honestly they’re so worth it. I cut up large slices of peppers, red onions, courgettes, butternut squash, and aubergine and roast for 15 minutes then add in some cherry tomatoes and cook for another 15 minutes, sometimes depending on how large you cut the veg it might take longer. Also you can put in whatever veg you want that roasts 🙂 Once they’re done the world is your oyster! You can put roast veg in salad, with salmon, rice, ratatouille, pasta, etc. Roasted veg is dead simple and usually lasts me monday-friday. I always use the veg for my salads which I take to uni. Another handy trick is batch cooking, if you haven’t heard about batch cooking as a student trust me you will! Cooking in large quantities is perfect because you can box up 3/4 portions, freeze and all you need to do is microwave when you get home. I batch cook things like chill con carne, risotto (although its not that fab after frozen), pasta, lasagne, pies, etc. Definitely worth it and saves you time cooking later in the week.
Secondly, pre-buying snacks at the supermarket. Rather than spending bits of money on campus, which all adds up, coming prepared to uni is a sneaky way of stopping these bad habits. You’ll find that supermarkets have a variety of food that you can pack away in your bag for after lunch, for me this is usually, pink lady apples as they come in a pack of 4 or 6 which lasts the week, yoghurts also come in large quantities, crisps or breakfast biscuits. If you’re trying to be healthy, light bites or low sugared breakfast biscuits are brilliant, even rice crackers take away the hunger. If you are finding that this isn’t stopping you from buying food on campus then don’t bring any money, so you literally have no option.
Thridly, smart shopping! After having shopped at a variety of different supermarkets I hope I can shed some light on the cheapest places to go. In first year, the only real option for shopping was tesco, iceland is brilliant for frozen foods but for general shopping tesco was the only way to go. However, typically after I leave to live in leamington, they open up an Aldi at Cannon Park! Aldi is literally a god send for students, cheap, good quality food that I used to buy when I went back home and bring back to uni. Aldi is by far the best option! Now that I am in leamington, we have morrisons, tesco, iceland and there is an asda and sainburys however they’re too far away from me. I would say that asda and tesco are cheapest. Morrisons is more expensive than people think and I don’t shop at sainburys but I think they’re reasonably priced. Also, buying the supermarket brand products is significantly cheaper, I know the food quality might not be as good but sometimes its better. Plus, there is no point buying fancy brands like cathedral city cheese or activia yoghurts honestly tesco’s own is just as good.
Finally, eating out. We all do it, we all love it but the moment we see the bill our hearts sink. So, some easy ways to reduce money worries when eating out. Choose a cheap place to eat. Wetherspoons is ridiculously cheap and not bad with food quality, pub food is often cheaper than restaurant food (and bigger in quantity I might add) and choose somewhere that has great discount. For example, Zizzi’s takes NUS student discount and pizza express often have daily deals for students. I would avoid places like GBK, Nandos and Yo Sushi, despite their food being delicious I wouldn’t say it is particularly cheap. Try and only go on special occasions because there are so many other places to eat especially in leamington that are less expensive.
I hope this has been helpful, you really don’t need to stress about food because it can be so simple. The more you cook the easy it is sometimes it is even relaxing. There will definitely be more useful websites online about this sort of thing so definitely do some more exploring. Happy cooking!