UNI TIPS: How to eat well on a budget

Monday, 27 February 2017

Hi everyone!

I'm really keen to do a series about uni, a sort of university survival guide if you will?

This week's post is about how to stick to a budget.when it comes to buying food and still eat plenty.

It's so difficult at university to not only stay on budget every week, but also to avoid temptation of easy to reach takeaways and the convenient, but normally much more expensive student shop. I've picked up some ideas in my first and second semesters about how to try and not overspend while still eating well.

How to stay on budget

1) Something I have started doing recently which I've found works quite well is taking out a set amount of cash each week to spend on food and drink and not spend anymore. It's meant that I don't spend more than necessary because I'm more aware of exactly how much I'm spending.

2) Top up shops vs Weekly shops: I'm still not sure which one is the best. Some of my friends get their food delivered to uni and that's all they will buy for the whole week whereas some others just are constantly topping up what's in their fridge every couple of days to complete their meals. I've still not worked out what is the best to do but I think if you're living in a flat or student house where you're quite close and get on, then a weekly delivery is your best option because you're then not overspending on essentials and can probably make more use of multi save deals online saving you more money overall.

3) Plan your meals!! I cannot stress enough how helpful this is, it means you're thinking about what you'll be eating over the course of the whole week and then making sure you buy enough to sustain you through the time.

4) Things in the cupboard you forget most of the time even exist can form the basis of so many meals. My cupboard has a mix of dry foods, tinned foods and seasoning which will all last for ages! A lot of these things you might only use a tiny bit of at a time but they're so worth having as you never know when you might need them!

Examples of foods you might keep in your cupboard:
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Couscous
  • Soy sauce
  • Oil (sunflower oil is cheapest, cooking sprays also are a great low calorie alternative and last absolutely ages)
  • Soup
  • Tuna
  • Gravy granules
  • salt/pepper/seasoning (such as fajita mixes)/spices/herbs
  • Oats 
  • Hot chocolate/coffee
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Tinned vegetables such as sweetcorn
5) Make use of the freezer. I feel like there's a reputation that some students just live off chicken nuggets a potato waffles (which for some seems to be reality), however freezing your food will save you money. I always keep loaves of bread as well as pitta/muffins to make sure they don't go out of date. The same with meat, meaning you can take out what you need at the time. Lots of my friends also make dishes in bulk so they can use them throughout the coming weeks meaning they always have something spare to eat if they're too tired to make something from scratch or are a bit strapped for cash.

6) Takeaways: We've all had the experience where we come back after having a bit too much to drink and what do we fancy? Kebabs, pizza, chips... all the carbs we can get our hands on! However, the odd Dominos every week or two can have really sting your bank account (Trust me, I know). In terms of staying on budget a friend recently told me that she has pizza/garlic bread in the freezer for when she comes back and might fancy something like that, which is probably about a quarter of the price of a takeaway and will satisfy your cravings. However, if you do reeeeally fancy a takeaway the chains always have deals/offers on (www.vouchercodes.co.uk is a fantastic website)

7) That links onto my last point, make use of offers! The website I linked above is not only great for takeaways but also has a lot of offers for restaurants such as pizza express and ASK Italian. The NUS card also offers you money off many restaurant chains making meals out that little bit more affordable. Also I would highly recommend getting a clubcard for Tesco/Sainsbury's as the points you get can translate into vouchers for your favourite restaurants as well as giving you money of food.

Hope you enjoyed reading and if this helps even a couple of people then it's more than done its job!

Lottie <3

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