As part of National Student Money Week, Money4Medstudents will be bringing you handy tips and advice on how to save money as a student.
Today we’re looking at food shopping.
Everybody needs to eat and eat healthily. Food shopping forms a significant part of our monthly outgoing and supermarkets are where the bulk of the money is spent. However, if you’re careful about what you buy you can save money with your food shopping.
According to the website Love Food, Hate Waste, we throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year which costs us £12bn a year. The easiest way to save money and stop yourself throwing away food is to make a plan – and stick to it! Planning what you are going to eat for the week will help to ensure that you aren’t buying food you don’t need.
It’s also important to think about portion size, you don’t want to be cooking too much and throwing some away. It’s sometimes also better to cook large amounts in one go and then freeze individual portions if you can. Love Food, Hate Waste has a range of useful tools to help you plan your food shopping and make the most of living on a budget. Their portion planner will help you make sure you’re cooking the correct amount.
Don’t start out by thinking “what’s the cheapest way to get what I want”, instead work out how much you can afford and then plan your meals from there. Supermarkets are designed to encourage you to spend money and the costs quickly mount up if you don’t focus on what you need.
To help you meet your budget, try own-branded goods instead of named varieties. Money Saving Expert has a ‘Downshift Challenge’ on supermarket goods to help you save money by buying cheaper brands. They even have a handy tool to calculate how much you could save.
As with insurance and TV, phone and broadband packages, you can find the best deal on food in your local area by comparing the supermarkets. There is a handy website mysupermarket that will help you do this.
As mentioned above, supermarkets are designed to make you spend more. An easy way of getting round this is to go to your local market. Lower overheads for market traders can often mean lower prices, particularly on fruit and vegetables.