So in week 1, we discussed budgeting, and I promised that by making cut backs you would have more money to have fun with. So, without further ado I will make good on that promise by showing how you can slice, dice and chop (groan) your food bills down to size.
The key with food bills is to always make a list before you hit the shops. This will force you to think about your spending, helping you to pre-empt ways around costs. Also, it means you are less likely to just chuck anything in the trolley.
Making a list will not only help you stick to your budget and cut some costs, but also help ensure you get that all important balanced diet, so here we go…
At the start of term…
When you arrive (particularly whilst parents are still around) it’s a good idea to stock up on cupboard and freezer essentials, here are a few:
|rice, pasta and spaghetti||89p,50p,50p||Buy in bulk for value- you can never have too much pasta!|
|chopped tomatoes||31p||Use own brand for essentials like this|
|beans and pulses||>70p||Great to inject protein in vegetarian diets|
|spices (Tabasco, gravy, chilli and mixed herbs)||>£2||Although it may seem like you’re paying more, these are vital for sprucing up home meals|
|tinned sweetcorn, peas and tuna||32p|
|tea, coffee, sugar||>£3||Invest in a flask so you don’t have to pay premium for tea on the go|
|potatoes||£1.45 for 1kilo||Potatoes are healthier than chips, and so versatile- try sweet potatoes for variety!|
|garlic||70p for 3|
|frozen mince||£3 for 450g|
|frozen veg||£1.50||For this extra 50p, you can get veg in steam bags, which is so easy to cook- no excuses!|
|vegetarian alternatives||>£2||Going veggy is so much cheaper!|
|cereals||>£3||After all, it is the most important meal of the day!|
Now, on your weekly shops, you can focus more on those weekly essentials…
|fruit (e.g apples, oranges)||>£2||Check what’s in season|
|veg||reserve >£5 in total||Peppers are normally essential, other veg vary on what dishes you are cooking that week|
|eggs||£1.68||So many options for breakfast, lunch and dinner|
|fruit juice||£1||Source of much needed vitamins|
After buying these, you only need to focus on specific ingredients for that week…
Remember, it is cheaper, and less time consuming to make a large batch of a meal, and freeze it for another day.
It may seem like the shopping list is a bit boring so far, so every week chose one indulgence to treat yourself with- for me it’s usually cheese! If you’re a chocoholic or ice cream fanatic, why not try the own brand- that way you can still indulge whilst watching your wallet.
Find a Friend: Dividing household and food essentials between you and your friends is another great way of saving money. If a large group of you buys together, you may want to consider online shopping. Although it normally has a small delivery charge, it means you can price exactly what you put in your basket, and decide if its really necessary. You will also save time and lugging thin plastic bags through Portswood.
My final tip would be to invest in a student cookbook, and to really be tough on yourself!
Next week, we talk student bank accounts- happy shopping!