As money is tight for most students, I think it is really important to spend it well, as well as getting a balanced diet. It is very tempting for me to live off ready meals and takeaways, now that everything is right at my front door in Brighton, and although I do allow myself the occasional treat, I try to make most things myself.
On average I spend about £30 every two weeks on food, however this changes slightly depending on supermarket. Today I shopped at my trusted fav Aldi and spent £29.68.
It is all well and good getting lots of food for your money, however it is then making sure nothing is wasted which is the most important!
Here are some tips of mine!
Write a List
I have said it before, and I will say it again, a list is the best way to ensure you buy exactly what you need without going off track. It can be hard in supermarkets when you see a big pack of biscuits on offer, or your favourite crisps on roll back, but by sticking to a list, you can keep these spur of the moment purchases to a minimum.
I have mine on my notes on my phone so I can check it off as I go.
I also choose to section all my ingredients into different categories, for example meat, then fish, then carbs. This ensures I don’t forget anything either.
- Make a Meal Plan
Whether you create this before or after your go shopping, a meal plan is a great way to choose your favourite things as well as sticking to a budget and minimising food waste.
I knew I had some idea of what I wanted to make this week so I went shopping prior to making a food plan. However, when I got home I made the following…
Now that this meal plan has been created I have some idea about how much of each item I will use at a time. I know that I will not be able to stick to this plan 100%, and maybe some items will be used up quicker than others, but it is a good start.
- Order Your Fridge As I always have leftovers between shops I ensure that I do my own little stock rotation in the fridge. By bringing all of my older items to the front it means that these will get used the quickest, and this reduces waste.
- Meal Prep
I think quite a lot of my money used to be spent on lunch at uni, and although a tuna melt from the canteen is one of my favs, by making myself a packed lunch it saves money whilst using up any leftover I may have from the previous night.
If I have some veggies that need cooking up I find it easier to make a big batch and then portion these out into Tupperware boxes along with brown rice or salad.
- The Freezer Is Your Friend
Avoiding certain ingredients like pasta, most other food products can be frozen, and taste pretty good after too! This is great if you have ingredients that are coming close to their sell by date, and you don’t want to chuck them away- cook them up and freeze them!
I love checking the reduced section of food stores and more often than not, there are some great meat and fish deals.
(TIP 6- CHECK THE REDUCED SECTION)
Although 2 salmon fillets may not fit into your weekly meal plan, they can be easily separated and frozen for another time.
Similarly, if you bulk buy chicken on offer, this can be frozen too. (Just be careful about re-heating and salmonella!)
Not only can your raw ingredients be frozen, but big one-pot dishes like jambalaya, stew and curries can too. Therefore, if one day you are feeling too lazy to cook, or you fancy something a bit different, you can delve into the freezer and use up leftovers.
Some of these points seem really simple, but they really do help save food waste and money. Check my other blog posts for simple recipes that are easy and great for low budgets!