As students, we are always trying to find new ways of staying within our budget, whether it’s using someone else’s Netflix password, bringing our laundry home to save coins on the washing machine or living off of beans on toast. Although all these techniques can save you some pennies, your grocery shop is probably what is using up most of your budget. Try these eight tips to save money on groceries and you might just find your budget a little less stretched next month.
1. Frozen Section
When you’re doing your grocery shop, it’s easy to overlook the frozen section. However, buying frozen foods is a great way to reduce your grocery bill. Fresh fruit and vegetables probably make up the majority of your food bill, and not only that, but they won’t last long so you can often end up with a lot of food waste which isn’t good both economically and environmentally. If you take a look in the frozen section of the supermarket, you’ll find a lot of options to buy frozen fruit and vegetables that come in much bigger quantities and that cost less. Also, frozen vegetables like peppers or onions will often come pre-chopped to save you some time in the kitchen.
2. Don’t Forget Own Brands
There are always some things in your grocery shop that you won’t want to steer off brand for, but if you’re trying to reduce your spending, buying own brand products will definitely help. Stores like Aldi and Lidl produce a lot of items that are amusingly similar to branded products like their own brand Pringles and Pimms (entitled Prongles and Peyton’s with identical packaging) which are often just as good, and, half the price. Especially when it comes to things like beans or pasta, there really is no difference between the products.
3. Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals at the start of the week before you do your grocery shop is the best way to cut down on your food bill and make sure that you have enough to last you for the week. By doing this, you can then make a corresponding shopping list including exactly the right amount of what you need for all of your meals that week. If you do your grocery shop without this, you’ll often end up buying too much of something, or picking up things that you don’t really need and you’ll spend a lot of unnecessary money. This will also stop you from doing a lot of convenience shops; picking up one or two things throughout the week, which massively increases the money you’re spending on groceries without you even noticing.
4. Don’t Shop Hungry
Grocery shopping hungry is a mistake that we’ve all made, and it definitely does not agree with a student budget. When you grocery shop hungry you end up buying way more than you need, so again, you end up with both food and money wasted. Try to plan your grocery shops for just after a meal to help you reduce your food bill!
5. Buy In Bulk
When it comes to dried goods like rice, pasta and oats, save some money by buying them in bulk. From most supermarkets you can buy these in huge quantities and for really low prices. This works really well when you’re living in a flat or a house where you can all share, instead of each individually buying the same things. Buying in bulk also means you can cook meals in bulk and then freeze them which will also save you time.
6. Look For Discounts
You can often miss them, but a lot of stores will have discounts, coupons and promo codes that can take a little bit of money off your grocery shop. Before you shop, look online for any coupons for different stores to see where you can get the best deals. Even if it’s only a tiny bit of money, this adds up and can make a real difference to how much you spend over a few months. Also, make sure to always carry your student ID around with you, as a lot of stores will sometimes offer a student discount.
7. Stick To Vegetarian
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan then your grocery bill is likely to be a lot lower than those of meat eaters. Wherever you shop, meat is going to be more expensive than vegetables, so even if it’s only for a few nights a week, try to eat a little bit more vegetarian as a way of helping to stick to your food budget. Products like Quorn and vegetarian sausages are good replacements for meat that are not only cheaper, but have less of an environmental impact.
8. Try It Online
Doing your grocery shop online is another great way to spend less money on food. It will help you to only buy exactly what you need as you won’t be tempted by snacks on the shelves, and it makes it easier to buy items in bulk as you don’t have to try to carry huge bags of pasta home somehow. You’ll also find a lot more deals and discounts on your online shop that aren’t available in store so definitely have a look at your supermarket’s website before your next food shop.