How to make your money go further on your food shop
With your rent, food shopping, phone bill and other outgoings to think about, it’s never been more important to find ways to save a few £’s wherever you can!
One thing to remember is that budgeting and managing your money are skills to learn over time. Everyone will have their own ways of managing money and doing what works best for them so don’t put pressure on yourself to find the best method straight away. To help get yourself started, why not try getting into some helpful habits next time you do your food shop...
Before you head to the shops
First things first, check what you have in the cupboard! There’s nothing worse than realising that you’ve bought something that you already have. Take a quick picture or write down what meals you can make from the ingredients you already have. Need inspiration? Use this recipe generator to find out what tasty meals you can make using the ingredients already in your cupboard.
Think ahead and make a shopping list. It’s not always easy to know what days you will be in for dinner but thinking ahead on what you might need for the week will help save you overspending and save your food from going to waste.
Oh and before you leave, take a few shopping bags! You don’t want to get caught with no bags at the end of your shop and have to pay for new ones.
At the shops
Try to stick to your list and not be too tempted to buy things you might not use. One way to make sure your food won’t go to waste is to check whether the food you’re buying is able to be frozen. This means that if your plans change and you don’t eat what you bought, you can stick in the freezer and enjoy it another day. Don’t forget to check for expiry dates as well! Try to buy items which have longer expiration or best before dates.
Love Food Not Waste share some helpful tips of safely defrosting and reheating food.
Consider the difference in cost between buying own-brands rather than the more expensive brands. Often you’ll find that the supermarkets offer much cheaper options that don’t always compromise on taste.
Try buying a mix of fresh, frozen and cupboard foods. If you buy all fresh ingredients, it’ll go off much quicker. Try swapping out a fresh soup for a tinned one or fresh vegetables for frozen.
Finally, why not try shopping at later times in the day, usually after around 6/7pm a lot of supermarkets start reducing prices of food because they’re coming close to their best before or use by date.
After your shopping trip
Did you make any savings on your shop by buying own-brands or did you find a good two for one deal? Try working out what you saved and put it towards something else e.g. a night out or save it for a rainy day. You’ll be surprised how quickly small savings will add up.
Help make your meals go further by using leftovers for lunch or share with your flatmates. Or try bringing a packed lunch or leftovers to uni rather than buying something every day. Did you know that you can use the microwave in Vine Court Mezzanine at lunch time? The Guild also offers microwaves and a hot water urn so you can make yourself a coffee for your next lecture!
These small habits can go a long way!
If you do find that money worries are impacting your mental health or if you feel that you need some extra support, the University has a Money Advice and Guidance team who give advice and look into what support might be available to you.
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