From course materials, accommodation and transport, to bills, stationary, and your social life, university costs soon add up and food often becomes the thing you cut back on.
If you’re scrimping when it comes to your supermarket shop and want to get the most out of every penny in your pocket, take a look at some of these top money saving tips:
- Leave it late
Forget the old saying “the early bird catches the worm” – it’s the night owl that reaps the benefits when it comes to your supermarket shop. Towards the end of the day, most supermarkets will reduce the price of fresh goods, such as bread, cakes and fish to get what they can for the produce before they’re forced to chuck it.
- Buy in bulk
Whether it’s food, clothes, cosmetics or beverages, most things are cheaper when you buy in bulk. If you’re worried about perishable goods going out of date before you get round to rustling something up with them, make a big batch of your chosen meal and freeze a few portions for another day.
- Brand hierarchy
Step down the brand hierarchy and try some supermarket own brand produce. If it’s not for you then you can always go back to branded items, but there’s no harm in giving it a go to save some all-important pennies.
Let’s take the good old baked bean as an example. For a four-pack of Sainsbury’s own brand baked beans you’d pay £1.15*, but a four-pack of Heinz beans would set you back £2.50 – that’s more than double the price. Now, imagine you make similar savings across all of the items in your basket – it’ll soon add up!
- Live by your list
If you don’t rock up to the shops prepared with a list, you’re asking for trouble. Before you hit the shelves, sit down at home and have a think about what meals you want to plan for the days or week ahead and write down the ingredients you’ll need for them. This way you’ll avoid making any spontaneous – and expensive – purchases.
- Don’t go on an empty stomach
If you’re wandering around with a rumbling stomach, you’ll want to put everything and anything in your trolley. You’ll end up with a mound of junk food, riddled with regret and a hole in your wallet afterwards. Not the ideal outcome, I’m sure you’ll agree.
- Venture further afield
Just because your local food store is M&S or Waitrose, you’re not obliged to shop there. For the amount you could save, it’s well worth travelling further afield to find a cheaper alternative, such as Aldi, Lidl or one of the big four.
- Cash in
Most people don’t get money back because they either can’t be bothered or simply forget, but if you make the most of money-off vouchers, loyalty cards and money back schemes, you could save a bob or two.
*Prices correct at time of writing (05/08/16)
Bryony Pearce from Ocean Finance