When you’re living on a student budget, you need all the help you can get to make the pound in your pocket stretch as far as possible. With food prices rocketing and the cost of living going up, cutting the amount you spend on your groceries could leave you with more spare change for going out and doing the things you really enjoy.
Want to make your student loan stretch further? Here are just six top tips to help you slash your shopping bill come the start of the new term.
Write a List and Stick to it
Never go to the supermarket without a list, because that can lead to all sorts of reckless purchases. If you draw up a list you’ll be less likely to impulse buy or buy something because you can’t remember whether you need it.
Decide if it’s ‘Need’ or ‘Want’
On a similar note, once you’ve penned your shopping list you should pore over it and decide which of the items you need (as in won’t survive without) and which you simply want (herbal teas and avocadoes aren’t an essential in life). We all need our little indulgences now and then but it’s good to go to the shop knowing what you can and can’t do without that week.
Plan Your Meals for a Week
We live in an incredibly wasteful society, and far too much food ends up rotting in the back of the fridge. If you can, plan your meals for the whole week and try to use the leftover ingredients from one night as the basis for tea the next. That should take care of all those half portions of mince or the half can of leftover baked beans, and means you’ll spend less on restocking food that’s gone off.
If you shop with your housemates, things will work out a lot cheaper. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the pack size, the cheaper it will be – if you can all agree you’ll be cooking pasta that week then it’s worth paying for the enormous pack of macaroni and splitting the bill. There’s no way you could get through it on your own, but teamwork can pay off.
Don’t Buy it all at the Supermarket
Discount stores are becoming increasingly popular for a reason. Does it really matter what sort of washing up liquid or kitchen roll you buy? Rather than doing all your grocery shopping at the market, try using discount stores or online retailers for the essentials and check out local markets for a few bargains. The quality is often better from your nearby market, and you’ll save a few pennies too.
If it’s on Sale, Buy it
If there’s something you know you’ll need to buy at some point and you see it on sale, grab it! Tinned goods, cereal and baking ingredients have a very long shelf-life so they won’t go off if you buy them well before you actually need them. If there’s something on offer it’s always worth buying it then and there, because you’ll kick yourself if the price suddenly goes up again when you need it.
Saving money on your shopping is all about getting organised, planning ahead and buying in bulk. Follow these simple rules and you’ll cut your grocery bill and have more cash for the fun stuff in life.
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