Budget Friendly Meals
Date 5 October 2022
Living in university is quite expensive. The cost of accommodation, travel and lessons can be high, however food doesn’t need to be. I’m here to help.
Staying healthy on a budget
There are many challenges a university student living in accommodation (or on their own) faces. One huge challenge is budgeting money. Taking care of high living costs, laundry, bills, travel, and miscellaneous other things can be difficult, but food budgeting doesn’t need to be.
Some students wake up and have these for breakfast and that’s all they will eat for 3-4hrs. Now, you don’t need to eat a five-course Full English every day before lessons of course – but at least save the cereal bars for dessert.
Challenges you may face
- The allure of cheap, highly accessible, very tempting fast food and takeaways
- Predominantly shopping at high cost supermarkets
- Lack of skills is a demotivator.
How to possibly solve them
Regulate you going out or buying in. Have a schedule for these – say once a week, or a few times a month. Think about it – that £15 you spend ONCE on lovely, juicy KFC chicken will last you around 30 minutes. Whereas you could buy a 1kg bag of rice, two tins of kidney beans, mixed veg and a pack of chicken all for just about £10. Cooking is a pain, it’s hard, long, and the mess is always annoying, however it’s always cheaper, healthier and far more sustainable than a takeaway. Top tip: delete those takeaway apps – out of sight, out of mind. This will help with your temptation (however you will still have to keep up the disciplined effort daily).
High cost supermarkets
I’ve never shopped there myself, but I hear that the prices at Waitrose cost a pretty penny. Well, as your average student-peasant, my heart has been split by Lidl and Aldi (nothing against Waitrose, I just prefer these).
For example, my budget for the week is £50. And £25-£35 of that a week is for food shopping. Anything from snacks and drinks, to ingredients to cook meals that’ll last 3-5 days, to food for work. Plan what you’ll make in a week. My mum always taught me to make food to last 2-3 days. Time is precious. I don’t like cooking every day, I have other things to do. That means I’d be cleaning all the time, spending an hour a day cooking, etc. Whereas I can cook once every say three days, spend one to one and a half hours there and then cooking, and I would have freed myself up for days. £5 for transport. £5 for buying food in the canteen. £5 for any extra miscellaneous items.
Lack of skill or experience is a big demotivator
Cooking is hard. I’ve been cooking consistently for a good year now and, despite that, my skills are mediocre on average. It takes time, however it’s a critical skill everyone should learn. Have a flatmate/friend cook with you, or to just be there. Maybe even have that friend/flatmate help you cook or show you how (I did last year). Ask your mum for recipes. Ask her for voice messages or videos and to watch/listen as you cook along.
Mckenny Ndifor loves going to the gym, exercising, reading, gaming and cooking. He is very passionate about healthy eating.