6th November 2023
I’m sorry to break it to you but whilst at university you will have to spend your money on other things than just alcohol, nights out and takeaways.
Horrific thought isn’t it?
As scary as it is to think about we are all adults now. And, as adults we have to start doing exciting adult things like weekly food shops.
“Go to uni” they said. “It will be fun” they said.
LGSM have compiled the best tips to help you become a money saving expert.
Martin Lewis eat your heart out.
Your world is about to get rocked by the ins and outs of budgeting, meal planning and deal hunting…
Budgeting isn’t really the first thing that comes to mind when you think about uni. I’d much rather spend my time getting drunk off cheap vodka with my flatmates and regretting it the next day.
However, budgeting is one of the most effective ways to be smart with your money so you don’t leave yourself short/ spend too much on your weekly food shop.
First you need to find out how much money you have to last you until your next loan (our second instalment is January, hang in there!). If you have a part time job then don’t forget to add your average income for the amount of weeks you are budgeting for.
Once you know how much money you have, you need to work out your outgoings for the weeks until your next loan. This could include money for rent, phone bill, uni books, going out etc which all need deducting from the amount. After doing this you may be quite deflated at how expensive living really is (I feel you). Take a deep breath, make yourself a cuppa (or something stronger) and have a biscuit. I can’t say this will solve the expensiveness of adulting but it may take your mind off it for a little bit.
Finally, divide the end amount by how many weeks you need your budget to last you. And, wallah – you now have your very own food budget!
Now you just have to stick to your budget without being tempted to dip into your student overdraft for a cheeky takeaway once… or twice a week.
We’ve all gone on our weekly shop to Aldi without a shopping list and come out with random items that will not and I repeat, will NOT, make a meal. But, hey ho, at least you have the whole of the middle isle instead!
If you plan what meals you are going to eat on a weekly basis then you will know exactly what items you need to get from the supermarket. So, in theory, you should stop spending money on unnecessary items when you follow a meal plan.
You’re also more likely to actually cook rather than getting a takeaway if you know exactly what you are eating for each meal and have the right ingredients in.
So, meal planning is not only good for maintaining a healthy lifestyle but it also does wonders for your bank account. Saving money seems a little bit easier, right?
One of the freedoms of moving to university is cooking your own food. With this freedom comes a whole world of meals to explore. It doesn’t have to be as boring as pot noodles everyday. You can go crazy and follow a recipe once in a while you know!
Whether you’ve only just learnt there’s other ways to cook than waiting for the microwave to ding or you rival Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen, there’s recipes out there for everyone.
From blog posts to YouTube videos and Tik Toks, there’s so many places to find meal ideas for beginner level cooks to pros.
A simple search of ‘easy student meal ideas’ on Youtube will bring up tonnes of foodie inspo. You may even… wait for it… enjoy cooking by the end of your time at uni. Emphasis on the may.
Once you’ve found some meals you reckon you could chef up in the kitchen it’s time to put them into a meal plan.
You could set out your meal plan in a table format with Monday to Friday along the top and breakfast, lunch, tea/dinner (the classic war between the north and south) down the side. In each box write what you are having to eat that day.
You may also want to include snacks in your meal plan to get you through your never ending deadlines. Keep going, you’re doing amazing!
Batch cooking your meals is an absolute game changer.
You’ll save money as buying your ingredients in bulk is proven to be cheaper. If you really want to be the next Martin Lewis then check the price per unit of the item (such as price per 100g) before you buy. You can find this on the shelf label in the supermarket. Scout out the cheapest price per unit for the best deal. Proper nice, proper bargain.
Not only will you save your pennies but you will also have more time to do your uni work (a.k.a procrastinating and then rewarding yourself with a 5 hour break) and (more importantly) making the best memories!
Batch cooking is simply making a large quantity of, for example, chilli con carne which will last you a few meals when re-heated. You can either eat the meals within a few days or freeze them for an emergency meal when you’re feeling too lazy to cook!
Make sure you write down the date you cooked the food, especially if you are not freezing the meal, so you don’t end up eating a dodgy cottage pie you thought you cooked two days ago but in reality it was two weeks ago.
You’ll need to find a time in the week where you can spare a couple hours (max) to batch cook some meals. Sunday is always a good day to put your chef hat on and get cooking as it prepares you for the week ahead.
Plus, we all feel like getting our lives together on a Sunday right? Whether we actually act on it or not is a completely different matter.
You can bulk cook breakfast, lunch and dinner/tea (yes, the war between dinner or tea continues).
Once again, there’s so many bulk prepping ideas on Youtube, blogs and Tik Tok etc. You can batch prep anything from curries to salads and so much more!
If your budget does not accommodate splashing out on all big brand food items and the Asda Extra Special Range then you’re going to have to prioritise which items you get to splurge on each week.
Some people have to have Heinz beans, some are loyal to Lurpak butter and some Coca-Cola addicts would NEVER EVER settle for Morrisons’ saver brand.
Only buying a select few branded items will save you money and help you keep on track with your budget.
You’ve slept through your alarm. It’s 11:00am and you’ve missed breakfast. You decide to pop to Aldi to get your food shopping out of the way.
You’re down the pizza isle, practically drooling over the cheesy, doughy goodness.
Your stomach rumbles. You buy everything in sight.
The golden rule to food shopping is NEVER EVER go to the supermarket hungry as you will most likely go over your budget buying unnecessary food because your stomach is telling you to.
For those of you that made it this far – well done, you are now a money saving legend (something you’ve always dreamed of being, I’m sure).
To find out the best food and drinks that Liverpool has to offer, and tasty recipes, check out some of our other articles!
Feature Image Credit: Pixaby