Coming to university and having a food budget for the first time can be daunting. There are many tips and tricks you can use on your trip to the supermarket that will help you stick to your budget and save money. Here are five that I have found the most useful.
Plan your meals for the week
Take an evening to sit down and plan what you are going to cook for each meal during the week. You can then write down your ingredients on a shopping list to take with you. This way you are less likely to get distracted and buy unnecessary items.
Cooking meals like this not only saves you money but also saves you time
Avoid buying ready-made meals
Ready-made meals may seem like a good idea since they are quick and easy to prepare, however, they are a lot more expensive than cooking your meals from scratch.
Instead, try cooking your meals in bulk. Take one afternoon (a Sunday for example) to cook all your meals for the week which you can then put in the fridge or freezer. This way your meal is already waiting for you after a busy day when you can’t be bothered to cook. Cooking meals like this not only saves you money but also saves you time.
Buy frozen vegetables
Fresh vegetables are often expensive and perish quickly. A more affordable option is buying frozen veggies. Buying your veg frozen means you can have a bag in the freezer that will last you weeks longer than any fresh produce you could buy.
Vegetables like peas and broccoli, which are perfect for adding extra nutrients to a meal, are the perfect frozen veg. Some frozen veg can even contain more vitamins than fresh veg since they have been frozen at their ripest.
There is no difference in quality or taste from the named brands
Avoid name brand foods
There is a myth that name brand food tastes better or is better quality than supermarket own brands. This just isn’t true (in most cases). Especially for your basics like canned pulses, tomato passata, and spices, there is no difference in quality or taste from the named brands.
The only difference is that the packaging is fancier and the price tends to be double! You will be surprised by just how much money you can save by avoiding name brand items.
Join supermarket reward schemes
Almost every supermarket has its own loyalty card or form of reward scheme. Sainsbury’s has the Nectar card, Tesco has its Clubcard, and Lidl has Lidl Plus for example. All these schemes allow you to earn points in store or discounts on items on the shelves.
All of these schemes are free to join so are definitely worth signing up for. Your points and rewards will slowly build up through the year and before you know it you will be saving money on your weekly shops!
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