food & drink

8 ways to food shop on a budget

Written by Emmi Bowles

Moving away to university can become quite a challenge, especially when you have to budget your money and cook for yourself, neither of which are the easiest of things to do. But with these simple tips and tricks you might be able to save yourself some time and money.

Buy in bulk and freeze

Buying your food in bulk and freezing is a great way to spend less. Make the most of your parents offering to buy you food when you first arrive and stock up. It is usually cheaper to buy bigger packets of things so in the long run you will save a lot. By freezing things as well you don’t have to worry about it going out of date.

Local fruit and veg and butchers shops

Have a scout around when you move in and find your local fruit and veg shops and butchers.  These usually offer better quality stock at a decent price. You can often find deals and reduced stock at much lower prices than the supermarkets because they are independent stores.

Buy brown

Not only is brown bread, rice and pasta better for you but it tends to last longer. Most loaves of bread will be ok a couple days after their best before date, but brown bread is good for another 4-5 days. Brown alternatives aren’t always cheaper but it is still better when it comes to your heath and your cupboard.

Aldi and Lidl are your best friends

The luxury of Marks and Spencer’s or Waitrose is great but when you are trying to save the extra pennies then Aldi and Lidl are your new best friends. Not only can you get food and home supplies at super cheap prices but they have new deals each week from power tools to wellies.

Remember your multi buys and deals

It is so easy to walk around a shop and pick up stuff that’s on your list, or just click on things that we want when online shopping, but you need to always remember to check out the deals and multi-buys because you could miss out on some serious savings.

Never shop on an empty stomach

When you go shopping when you are hungry it is so easy to grab chocolate, crisps, ice cream and so many more things that you just don’t need to buy.  It’s nice to have some treats in the cupboard but you don’t need to buy the whole sweet shop. If you eat before you go shopping you will be more likely to stick to a list and only buy what you need, not what you want.

Stop being brand conscious

If you are used to Heinz beans or Cadbury’s hot chocolate then it is easy to just keep buying it at university.  But if you can steer yourself away from the branded products you can find non-branded or the supermarket’s own branded products for a much cheaper price – and in all honesty, most of the time they taste the same.


If you share food with the people you live with then you will spend a lot less. Whether this is milk, bread and sugar, or you all pitch in to buy ingredients to cook meals together. It is cheaper to buy one lot of ingredients and feed four people than to buy the same ingredients four times to feed one person each. Plus it can reduce the amount of pots and pans that need washing up.


Despite all of these tips and tricks it is down to you as an adult to budget your money appropriately and find the best way to do so, that works for you.