Your stomach is growling, but you have nothing in your cupboards. What is a better plan? To order an expensive takeaway? Or plan a healthy and affordable meal? We know what most university students would do! But it is not always the best idea for their financial future.

Eating on a budget is essential at university. With limited funds and little time to work, students need to be experts in personal finance and money management. After our “How to save money at university blog”, we are showing off our best seven food shopping ideas for university students to help you make it to the end of term with cash to spare. Scroll down to get started.

1. Take The Time To Plan

Often, the main barrier university students face is not having enough time to plan meals. However, carving out 10 minutes per week will help you make a rough meal guide, and then you can prepare a student shopping list that includes all necessary ingredients and no costly impulse buys.

Pro Tip: Write out the price of each item on the list. This way, you will have an approximate budget in your mind before visiting the store.

2. Prioritise Simple Recipes

Let’s face it: university is not the time to make stunning five-course meals. Simple yet nutritious meals are the way to go. Remember, you have to keep it healthy!

A student-focused cookbook can be a serious help for those who need inspiration. NOSH for Students: A Fun Student Cookbook is known for its meal plans and handy shopping lists. Perfect if you are new to food shopping on a budget.

3. Say Yes To Leftovers

Does the idea of leaving food make you wince? Embracing leftovers is critical at university. Not only does this save food, but it also saves you time. All you have to do is heat up last night’s pasta.

Some students even cook two or three portions at a time to ensure they have enough leftovers to cover upcoming meals. Saving money at uni has never been so easy.

4. Use Own Brand Produce

A good rule of thumb (and something you will see in every student guide) is to skip brand names and focus on own-brand supermarket products. Typically, you will save 50p to £1 with each own-brand purchase. The price of branded essentials quickly adds up, and you will be thankful for the extra cash when you are on a night out.

5. Buy Bulk And Freeze

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to “What food should you buy at uni?” But one piece of advice we’d swear by is to buy freezable food in bulk and make the most of your freezer space. Frozen goods cost less than fresh ones, and they last longer.

This is also ideal if you are not exactly sure when you will use the ingredients, as freezing them gives you more flexibility.

6. Skip Ready Meals

Unfortunately, ready meals should not be on your uni food shopping list. Yes, these meals are quick, easy and taste great. However, they cost more than raw ingredients and are not great for your health. Sorry!

7. Sign Up For Loyalty Cards

Finally, if you are on a mission to save money on food, double-check that you are signed up for as many loyalty cards as possible. From the Tesco Clubcard to the Lidl Plus membership, these schemes can shave pennies off each purchase.

University Saving Tips: Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these quick food shopping tips have inspired you to take control of your university budget. No more eating baked beans out of a tin in the last week of term!

Want to learn more about money management? Jump to the Cash ASAP blog now.