This can also be a lot higher if you regularly visit your local corner shop or use high-end supermarkets (especially for fancy pre-drinks!).
Luckily, there are plenty of easy ways to cut your food bills without missing out on some of your favs. Smart spending habits and simple planning can make a huge difference, and you’ll have more flexibility when it comes to managing your holy student loan. Here are some of the best food shopping tips for students:
Visit budget-friendly supermarkets
Average food prices vary massively between different supermarkets. For instance, your food shop will cost a lot more at Waitrose when compared to Aldi or Lidl. Often, it is worth travelling a bit further to shop at budget-friendly supermarkets, as you should be able to save significant amounts on your groceries and cut your average utility bills. You can also use price comparison apps like the Latest Deals to compare supermarket prices in real time and nab the best deals.
Switch to store-brand products
Switching to store-brand products is an easy way to reduce your food bills and save money on your food shopping. In fact, you could save an impressive £520 on your student food bill each year just by switching to own-brand products according to Save the Student. Imagine all of the alcohol fun things you could buy with the savings! The best part is, store-brand items often taste just as good as your favourite brands, but at a fraction of the price (although it will take some trial and error). However, savvy shoppers are willing to experiment with different store-brand products to find the best items and save money on their weekly food shop.
Plan meals in advance
Planning your meals in advance is another easy way to reduce your food costs, as you won’t need to shop as often. Popping into convenience stores like Sainsbury’s Local and Tesco Metro on your way home every day will quickly add up and leave you with a much bigger food bill at the end of the month. Avoid this by being organised and start planning your meals and study snacks before you go food shopping. You should also keep in mind that your food budget will go a lot further if you shop at larger supermarkets.
Cook meals in bulk
Cooking your meals in bulk is one of the best ways to reduce food waste and save on your weekly food shop. You can easily prepare a batch of meals at the weekend and keep them stored in the fridge to eat throughout the week. You can also freeze homemade meals and keep them safely stored for between three to six months.
Another awesome benefit of cooking in bulk is that it is usually so much healthier as you are less likely to reach for convenient junk food. Some of the best meals to cook in bulk include bolognese, chilli, soup, cottage pie, and curries. You can find inspiration for quick and tasty recipes by reading cooking blogs and food articles online. So, bin the Pot Noodles, call on your inner MasterChef, and get cooking!
Take advantage of discounts
Supermarkets regularly run discounts that can save you money on your weekly food shop. Make an effort to scour the shelves and compare different offers, and try to choose food items based on the best prices available at the time. It is also a good idea to stock up on items while they are on discount, especially if they have a long lifespan and won’t go off anytime soon. Many student websites like NUS Extra also have dedicated sections where you can find student discounts on various things such as food (and drink!), clothing, and activities. Become the master of saving by visiting these sites regularly and keep an eye out for any vouchers that could save you money.
Sticking to your budget can be a challenge and you may find yourself strapped for cash at the end of the month. There’s no need to scrimp on food when you’re a student as there are plenty of thrifty ways to cut your grocery bills without sacrificing quality. Use the above suggestions to make food shopping more affordable and get the most out of your student loa