How to budget: student meals

Everyone hears horror stories when you move to uni about how you’ll end up with so little spare cash that you’ll be living on 1 tin of beans to last you a month. Let me dispel those myths and help you plan, shop and save when it comes to your meals at uni. I promise, I will prove that you don’t need to live on a boring, bland diet! Here are a few of my top tips:

Make a list – If you make a set plan for what you’re going to cook in a week and stick to it, you’ll also be able to plan a budget and know exactly how much you’re spending each week. Websites like like Latest Deals are good for looking at the prices in the supermarkets before you shop so you have a rough estimate of how much the food will cost before you actually go shopping.

Set a limit for how much you want to spend – I usually shop for myself and one other person, and set a budget of roughly £35 for the week for two of us, as we alternate weeks for who pays! This works out at just £5 a day for the two of us to eat, and this accounts for all of our meals! You can have cheaper shops by buying frozen instead of fresh and substituting meat out for cheaper options, such as Quorn. If you go in with a list and a goal amount to spend in mind, you won’t go overboard.

Don’t go shopping whilst hungry – This is a big one for me. I always find that if go shopping when I’m hungry I am much more likely to impulse buy junk food and convenience lunches just for the sake of ease. Have a snack or meal before you go so that you know you can go in and out the shop with only what you planned!

Go for cheaper supermarkets – We are very lucky here in Worcester that one of the closest large supermarkets to the university is ALDI. I always shop here for my essentials and pop to the big Sainsbury’s if I ever want any specific nicer, branded bits and pieces.

Learn some simple recipes that use similar ingredients – You don’t need hundreds of specialist ingredients. A lot of the time, basics like tinned tomatoes, beans, tomato puree, cheese, rice, dried herbs and pasta can be reused in all sorts of different dishes. Check out this list of recipes that use tinned tomatoes or these 45 recipes made using eggs.

Good Websites for Recipes and Inspiration:

Tesco Real Food Student Recipes

Tesco Budget Recipes

Student Hut

Jamie Oliver Student Friendly Meals (The bean based recipes are SO cheap)

Delicious Magazine Student Recipes

My Pinterest Board for Cooking

Happy shopping and eating!