Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

3 Ways to Eat for Less as a Student

3 Ways to Eat for Less as a Student

When we think about grocery shopping we instantly think that by going to a budget supermarket such as Aldi, we’ll save loads of money! But really, this isn’t always the case. Granted by shopping at Aldi you can probably half your Waitrose food bill, but we’re students so a Waitrose bill is never the problem – but an Aldi one is!

How do we reduce an already discounted bill further? Is that even possible? You bet it is…

  1. Use multiple supermarkets!
Aldi, Tesco or Sainsbury's?!
Aldi, Tesco or Sainsbury’s?!

Different supermarkets run different offers to entice you in. Seen an unbeatable offer advertised on TV? That’s probably what we call a loss leader. By this, we mean that the supermarket is actually losing money! Crazy right? The idea behind a loss leader is that a supermarket takes a small loss in order to get you through the shop doors to spend money on other items which are more profitable. Clever. But we’re also clever, and we’re going to resist!

By visiting multiple supermarkets we can take advantage of different loss leaders while resisting the temptation to spend elsewhere. It’s hard but it will pay off. Top tip: read the cost per 100g part of the shelf label when purchasing an item with multiple variations – for example chocolate. Cadburys can come in multipack bars, family sized bars or bags – all contain the same chocolate, but at different prices. You can save loads just by glancing at the per 100g marking below on the shelf label – it’s that easy to save money!

2. Use a local butcher

Butchers are best!
Butchers are best!

A common misconception people have is that butchers are expensive. Some can be, some not so. A butchers I use, Crawshaws, recently opened a ‘factory store’ locally in West Bromwich and I’ve almost halved my spend on meat since shopping there. I couldn’t believe how much I was saving. And, by freezing meat, it lasts forever – there’s no need to worry about wastage again!

For comparison purposes, I bought 1kg of fresh chicken breast for £4.99 at Crawshaws compared to £2.50 for 300g at Tesco. That’s a massive £8.34 for a KG! And the quality is so much better at a butchers. Not to mention you’ll be likely supporting local business too.

3. Go to the market

Remember to haggle
Remember to haggle

Old fashioned right? Wrong! Markets are not just for the elderly…. And as above, supporting local business is important. Thinking of starting a business yourself when you’re older? If this mind-set translates well in future, local business will flourish which is extremely important for our economy. And our wallets.

Anyway, back on track – The bullring has a great market which sells fresh fruit and veg at a fraction of the supermarket equivalent price and what’s more? You can haggle! As a student I’ve learnt to haggle in most situations. Unfortunately, in supermarkets such as Tesco you’re likely not dealing with the owner and therefore don’t have the power to haggle. The owner has the authority to reduce prices if he/she thinks it will lead to a sale, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Well that’s just three of the tips I use on a weekly basis to reduce my grocery bill by almost a third! Other tips include:

  • Using a cash and carry for bulk purchases
  • Avoiding branded basic food items
  • Use vouchers
  • Freeze leftovers
  • Avoid local convenience stores

Happy shopping! And try not to blow all of the money saved at the pub on the way home…


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