Food Price Inflation: Tips For Food Shopping On A Budget

Grace Carty

With inflation rising a whopping 5.4% in the last year, it is harder than ever for students to stay within their budget. Nutritious food is sadly one of the first sacrifices to be made in a bid to save some extra cash. Following her experience with budgeting, Grace Carty has put together some tips which she has found helpful when trying to stay on track with spending.  

Meal Kit Discount Codes 

The rise of meal kits has facilitated the food education of many individuals. Those who would regard themselves as clueless in the kitchen can now prepare meals which you could easily find in a restaurant. 

From the outside, these services can appear to be for those with much more financial freedom, and yes, without any codes, they are quite expensive. 

However, many of these companies offer great deals for students or first-time users, with codes and vouchers to redeem if you refer a friend. Gousto offers 60% of your first box and will then provide you with vouchers if you refer others. Alternatively, Hello Fresh offers students 50% of their first box and then 35% off their next three. 

It is important to note that you should cancel any monthly subscriptions once you have redeemed your offers, otherwise, you may find yourself being charged for boxes that will fall outside of the budget. 

Too Good to Go 

Too Good to Go, an app that advocates for less food waste, is one of my favourite foodie finds. It allows you to eat great food at a great price, giving you that take-away buzz without the hefty price tag. 

Simply check the app at around lunchtime, to make sure you don’t miss the deals, and have a browse at the restaurants and shops offering discounted food for that day. The range of items can vary from hot meals to mystery bags. 

In Nottingham City Centre, there are a range of different shops offering the service: Caffe Nero, Yo Sushi, Krispy Kreme, Millie’s Cookies, and Ed’s Diner.

It is also great for students who are busy during the day, as most places ask you to collect your items in the late afternoon or early evening. 

Food shop in the evening

When you do require a big food shop, it is economically beneficial to go in the evening. By doing this, you will be able to grab all of the ‘whoopsie’ items which have been reduced before the shop closes for the day. 

Most of them will be dated for the same or following day, however, you can always pop items in the freezer and use them for meals over the next few weeks. 

Don’t go shopping when you are hungry 

If you are going to do your trip to the shops in the evening, ensure that you have eaten your dinner before you go. Otherwise, you may find yourself quite trolley-happy and end up buying items based on appearance rather than necessity. 

Meal Plan 

I find a trip to the supermarket much more time and cost-efficient when I have set out a meal plan for the week. By having a list on my phone, I can easily go straight to the aisles that I need. Although the thought of browsing the bakery section is very appealing, it’s a dangerous place for me and my bank account. 

Meal planning is also great for maintaining a healthy lifestyle alongside studying. After a busy day, I know that I have all of the ingredients to make a hearty meal.

Shopping with Friends 

If you are in a flat or house with people with a similar budget, it can be great to do the weekly shop together. 

Not only does it allow you to make the trip more social, but it also means that you can buy items in bulk, as opposed to smaller packets which will cost more per gram. If it works for you, you could also cook the meals together and freeze portions for those days when cooking is not first on the agenda. 

Loyalty Cards 

I am a huge advocate for budget supermarkets and my growing love for Lidl is rapidly showing my age. Despite my affinity for German food shops, I know that branded items can be necessary sometimes. 

Due to the great ‘Clubcard price’ that Tesco offers, individuals can now buy selected branded items at a cheaper price. Alongside providing great deals, the Clubcard membership allows you to save up points that you can then use in restaurants or on days out. 

As a student, it can be quite worrying to know that prices are rising and although the implementation of these tips can be useful, it is incredibly important to reach out if you are struggling financially. If you are worried about money, please contact the team at Student Services who can provide great support, advice, and help.

Grace Carty

Featured image courtesy of Brooke Lark via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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