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The first uni food shop

Published Monday, 29 September, 2014 by Claire Keen

It will soon be time to venture out on your first ever food shop by yourself without someone to hold your hand during the process. It won’t be long until your parents’ food parcel will have run out and it will be time to make that trip to the supermarket.

Things to know:

There are a few things which are very handy to know when you go food shopping. Firstly never, and I mean NEVER, go shopping on an empty stomach, you will always give into temptations and therefore buy more food that essentially you don’t need. It is always important to go food shopping with a list as well, that will reduce the amount of unneeded purchasing and therefore save you money in the long run. This will make you budget and know exactly how much you are going to spend. It is a good idea to only take cash with you so that you stick to your decided amount and therefore don’t over spend. Your budget is very dependent on your personal finances but don’t worry about trying to spend as little as you can, it is very possible to spend as little as £10 a week on your groceries.

Another useful tool to learn for when you go food shopping is to be smart; by smart I mean play the supermarkets at their own game! It is a known fact that supermarkets put their most profitable, often most expensive, product in eye level view of the customer, so you need to learn to shelf scan! As soon as you know what you want to buy, make sure you scour the shelves for cheapest version – this will be helpful in saving money for future purchases. However be wary of buy one get one half price, or buy one get one free deals as you may be spending more money on something you are never going to use.

Finally it is also time to get all your prejudices out the way, you may be used to branded Tesco or Waitrose products at home but it is very unlikely that being a student you will be able to afford these at university. So get your bag for life at the ready and head down to your local Aldi or Lidl and you may be surprised by what you find!

What to buy?

It is always essential to have store cupboard ingredients in such as pasta, rice, and condiments for example ketchup and other useful things like salt and pepper. These are useful for many different meals and last a long time in your cupboard so you don’t have to worry about them going out of date. Another useful thing to make sure you have in is tins; these last for years and are always helpful when you really can’t be bothered to cook!

It’s also very difficult to cook for one, so don’t worry about buying sauces for more than one person and freezing them once cooked; it’s also very handy as dinners are then ready in the freezer. Meals such as Bolognese, curry, chilli con carne and stir fry are all perfect meals to freeze ready for the next time you want to eat them.

Finally make sure you buy food for packed lunches; bread and cheese can both be frozen and therefore last quite a while and can be used as and when you need them. Buying this will also stop you from spending excess money in the fairly expensive university shops.

Don’t forget to stick to your budgets as student loans will disappear quicker than you think!

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