Published February 28, 2018

Efficient Food Shopping: Advice for Students

Food is right up there with rent as one of the biggest expenses students have while at uni. Learn how to make your student loan go further at the supermarket with these money-saving food-shopping tips!

1. Compare and save

With so many amazing money-saving apps around, comparing prices across online retailers and supermarkets is easy. Check out these comparison apps for students and start saving on everything from broccoli and bananas to course books and stationery.

2. Choose bargain basics

Make significant savings overnight by trying supermarket downshifting. You could save up to a third on your weekly basket by switching to cheaper, own-brand alternatives. These products are often just as tasty as their branded alternatives, but cost half as much (sometimes even less). Now, that’s what we call a bargain!

3. Buy reduced-price foods

Did you know that you can make huge savings by buying food that’s close to, or past, its sell-by date? Online traders like Approved Foods specialise in selling food that supermarkets can’t sell for exactly this reason. There are huge savings to be made on lots of expired household grocery items, including health products, alcohol, and groceries.

4. Know when to shop

Shopping on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Hunger pangs and low blood sugar are your worst enemies when it comes to your weekly shop, so forget last-minute supermarket dashes.

Instead, find out when your local supermarkets mark down their fresh produce and schedule your food-shops around these times. You’re guaranteed to find some stickered gold in the reduced section (not literally, but you get the idea).

5. Budget

It might not be glamorous, but a food budget is essential if you want your student loan to feed you all term. Set a weekly budget, and stick to it.

6. Buy in bulk

You can save hundreds of pounds over the year by buying everyday essentials in bulk. If you know someone with a Costco card, even better. Just try to be realistic – nobody needs 100 tins of tuna, even if it is on sale…

7. Plan and prep

Last-minute meals can cost the most. Think about it: you’ve just left a lecture, you know you haven’t got anything in your fridge, and you’re starving. What do you do? If you’re anything like us, you either head to the closest takeaway for a cheeky pie and chips to go, or you go to a supermarket and buy a ready meal. How much food could you have bought from the supermarket for the £10 it cost you for a single meal?

Meal planning is one of the best ways to cut back on last-minute emergency food splurges. By thinking 4-5 days ahead, preparing meals in advance, and making sure you’ve always got some grab-and-go snacks ready and waiting in your fridge, you won’t be as likely to be tempted by the takeaway.

8. Freeze your food

When it comes to making the most of the food you buy and limiting food waste, your freezer is your best friend. Cooking bolognese? Make an extra batch and freeze it for another day. Found a great deal on discounted mincemeat? Buy extra and freeze it for the next round of lasagne.

9. Be a savvy shopper

Do you know how to recognise a great deal in the supermarket? Supermarkets use all kinds of sneaky tricks to encourage us to buy more, from hiking the prices of products in their buy-one-get-one-free deals, to promoting bulk-sized items that don’t offer any savings. If in doubt, always double-check labels to see if you’re really getting the deal you think you are.

10. Share the cost

If you hate cooking, or you don’t have the energy to cook a entire meal from scratch if it’s just for you, there is a really simple solution. Get together with your flatmates and create a rota to share evening cooking duties and costs. Not only will you get to know each other better, but you’ll also all save money too. Bonus!

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Looking for the best deals on student accommodation in Plymouth, Salford, or Dundee? Take a closer look at our fully-managed locations.

And continuing the topic of efficient student living, check out our blog on how to make money part-time!

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