Being a student often comes with costs that you may not have factored in when you applied to come to university. Transport, accommodation and food are all vital, but can amount to an extortionate (and unwelcome) bill if you’re not mindful of how you’re spending your money.
We hope you find these budgeting tips useful in saving you money when you purchase and prepare your food.
Reducing your food waste is an easy way to save and can also help you to live more sustainably. If you’re guilty of throwing a lot away or forgetting about the food at the back of the fridge, get creative and repurpose your leftovers. It is safe and more often than not your dinner will be even more delicious the second time around! Try making a stock with your leftover vegetables, or bake a delicious cake with your old bananas. For ideas and recipes, keep an eye out for food blogs that suit your tastes.
Making small changes to the way you store and prepare food can also help to reduce waste and save you money. Keep your bread in the freezer and defrost a couple of slices at a time to stop it from going stale. If you struggle to get through it in time, fruit can also be kept in the freezer and then defrosted.
Sharing the responsibility of food shopping and cooking amongst your flatmates can make a surprising difference to your food bill. Even if you’re only sharing the basics, a big bag of pasta or rice is far less expensive than several small packets.
Making a meal go further by cooking in bulk with your friends is a simple step towards being more cost-effective and also eliminates food waste. Cooking and eating together is also a brilliant way to get to know each other and socialise.
You can also join a community like OLIO, an app that connects neighbours with each other and local shops so that surplus food can be shared and not thrown away. This is a brilliant way to repurpose your leftovers, connect to people in your community, and make a positive environmental impact.
Adopting a more organised approach to your weekly shop is another great way to save money in the long-run. Start by planning your meals and writing a shopping list. By sticking to a list, you are far more likely to avoid waste and will inevitably spend less. Most of us have a tendency to forget about the food that’s lurking at the back of our cupboards. Be thorough and remind yourself of what you have before you plan your shopping trip.
Familiarise yourself with the communal kettle and microwave facilities on your campus. If you can prepare in advance, you can easily heat your lunch when you’re out and about rather than buying lunch in the university canteens.
If your studies are fuelled by tea and coffee, consider investing in a reusable cup. Not only is it more sustainable, but coffee shops often offer a discount for people who bring their own reusable cups with them.
If you bring your own reusable cup with you to purchase hot drinks at our university canteens, you will be rewarded with a stamp. For every ten stamps you collect you will receive a free hot drink.
Finally, ask for discount. If you do decide to treat yourself to a meal out or a takeaway, your student or NUS extra card can land you some amazing discount. Use it while you can!