October 14, 2016 - bellvue-admin - Student Life
Students are not famed for their expertise when it comes to shopping savvy. To help you change all that and save some much needed money along the way, here are 8 ways to keep costs down…and do so without missing out on all your favourite foods.
1. Make a List…and Stick to It!
Whilst keeping to a weekly meal plan is not perhaps very realistic for the average student, or something many are likely to want to do, making a list (and sticking to it) can still save you a lot of money otherwise frittered by hitting the supermarket with a clue as to what you need or want.
2. Stock Up on the Essentials
Try to never run out of the essentials, which in most student house include pasta, rice, oil, condiments, spices, fruit, vegetables and freezer staples.
Realising you haven’t the basics to make a reasonable or filling meal is likely to result in either ordering yet another costly take away or making a trip to the shop, where most of us struggle to restrict ourselves to getting only that which we are there to buy.
3. Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach
An important and age old tip for anybody doing the weekly shop is to never do so on an empty stomach. The reasoning behind this tip is obvious; enter a place full of food when hungry and you are more likely to think with your stomach than your brain.
4. Ditch the Brands
Most of us are guilty of reaching straight for the branded names in the supermarket, without even having given the supermarket own and value ranges a go. We recognise a familiar brand, trust it and go for it. Unfortunately, this can quickly burn a hole in a student’s pocket. So, it is worth at least giving non-branded foods a go, especially as the difference in price in some instances can be literally tenfold.
5. Shop Around
As a student grocery shopping is unlikely to top your list of exciting things to do, but because shopping wisely can mean having the money to actually do some of the things that are on your ‘list of exciting things’ such as hit the pubs and clubs, it is worth shopping around.
Further, for students moving to a new area, familiarising yourself with a range of your local shops, markets, the local butcher and the likes can prove a great way to get your bearings, as well as get some good deals.
6. Be Wary of Offers
Offers save us money right? Whilst that is the logic, it isn’t always strictly true. A buy one get one free offer on a named brand might still mean that it costs more to buy than a supermarket own alternative.
Then, before reaching for an item, especially one that is on offer, always take a closer look at the price breakdown on the label affixed to the shelf where in most cases the cost per gram will be clearly stated.
This is surest way to know you are getting the best deal and is likely to save you falling prey to offers that only result in buying double of everything. After all, stockpiling can be a good idea, but in most cases this isn’t true. Rather, most of us will just let food languish at the back of the cupboard or fridge whilst we head out to buy even more.
7. Don’t Throw it…Freeze It!
Don’t throw out leftovers. Rather, bag them up and bung them in the freezer. Simply doing this will not only save you money, but effectively you have just created you own convenience meal. Simply defrost, reheat and enjoy. This can also be done with foods when they are nearing their use by dates.
8. Hunt for Reduced Items
Last but not least, it is worth knowing that most major supermarkets and even some smaller stores and market stall holders will reduce the prices of certain items near closing time. In supermarkets this is done on products that are ready to be eaten and items such as tins that have become dinted.
At the market fruit and vegetable sellers often bag up mixes of fresh produce to sell it off at the end of the day. Some even and routinely sell these bags for as little as a pound.
Hence, it is worth shopping near closing time to at least see what is going cheap. This can also be a great way, on a tight budget, of affording a few luxuries as sometimes supermarkets will also sell cakes and treats for as little as a few pence to avoid throwing them away.