How to eat well on a small student budget

By Shannon Clark on 17-03-2018

Everyone starts uni with good intentions of eating well while you’re away from home. And then term starts and things fall by the wayside. Good intentions are left in the corner and you begin a life that consists of long lie-ins, pot noodles, takeaways, and pasta for dinner, and you’ve never even stepped foot inside the gym that you signed up for. And it’s understandable, uni is hard work and expensive!  The thing is though, that eating healthily on a student budget is possible and far easier (as well as cheaper!) than you might have previously imagined. So, if like many others, you’re finding yourself in a rut of eating the same stereotypical student meals, we’ve got a few tips to help prove that you can eat well on a student budget!

Plan, plan, plan

It sounds so boring, but it can save you a hefty amount of your loan each month if you plan your meals in advance. Planning your meals is a great way of stopping yourself from buying a tonne of food that you don’t actually need and will probably just throw away at the end of the week! If you can it is also advisable to plan your lunches in advance and try to push yourself to get up early in the mornings for breakfast. If you leave the house hungry and with no lunch to get you through the afternoon, it will be much harder for you to stop those cheeky visits to the local cafe on the way to or from campus.

Speak to your local shop

Speak to the staff in your local shop to find out what time they discount their food. Every shop has a different time and if you find out at the start of the term then you can get there each day before anyone else. Hone in on the meat and fresh fruit or veg in these sections as they are often the most expensive ingredients on your shopping list but once you return home you can freeze them, so you’ve got a stash of food to rely on later on in the week.

Cook in bulk

If you’ve got enough freezing space, then cooking in bulk can really help you to save your pennies. Spaghetti Bolognese, soup, and curries are all great meals that you can freeze and then use for either dinner or lunch later. Cooking twice as much as you need and then freezing the leftovers is also a really simple way of ensuring that you don’t waste any fresh food you’ve bought for the meal.

Buy fresh food

We’ve all heard the argument that fast food is cheaper than fresh. But it isn’t strictly true! Find out where and when your local market is on each week and then pop down to grab yourself a whole heap of incredibly cheap fresh fruit and veg! Or, if you’re lucky enough to have a good amount of freezer space then buy frozen. It will last for months and ensures you can still get a healthy dose of your 5 a day without having to buy expensive fresh produce from your local shop all the time.

Stock up in advance

Stock up your cupboards at the start of term. Buy any essential staple items that will last for several months, such as herbs and spices. They might seem unnecessary but when you’re on your third chicken meal of the week, they can instantly transform your meal into one that tastes completely different to the two that came before it.

Eat with the seasons

Seasonal cooking sounds like something a middle-aged woman would swear by. But it can actually be a great way of helping you to save money on your weekly shop. A quick Google search will show you what is in season at what time of the year. And you just then have to plan your meals around the seasonal changes. For example, butternut squash, apples, and salmon are just a few ingredients that are still found in abundance during February and are therefore cheaper than out of season foods that have to be imported in.

So there you go. You’ve now got a few simple tips to help you eat fresh food, get a few of your 5 a day, stay away from the dreaded pot noodles AND save money while you do it! Happy eating!

Shannon Clark writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs, visit our website.




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