Moving away from home and learning how to live independently can be quite stressful. Going grocery shopping can make things even more difficult, especially when you don’t know what to buy. You’re on your own to restock the fridge since your parents won’t be doing it for you. Therefore, the following is my comprehensive guide to shopping on a budget.
Firstly, your supermarket of choice. Budget-conscious shopping may prevent you from visiting upscale supermarkets unless you have extra cash to spend, but for the best value and lowest price, I suggest Asda or Aldi. Choosing long-life foods that can be stored in containers in the fridge can be very useful, especially when you come home after a busy day and don’t want to cook. Meal prepping is a fantastic way to save time and money while you’re at university. Since I commute to the university every day, I enjoy making pasta salads for lunch. Buying vegetables for these is very helpful, and getting some from these supermarkets is even easier, especially since all fruits and vegetables cost around £1 or less. I recommend stocking up on fruits and vegetables because you can use them in every meal. If you ever run out of fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables like peas or sweetcorn can be a great alternative. To keep things interesting, try purchasing a variety of different ones that you can mix and match. Some of my go-to dinner options include green beans, broccoli and carrots.
When planning meals for the week, I would start with protein unless you’re vegan or vegetarian then I would skip this paragraph. This may be a more expensive part of your shop but you want to get the most for your money, so make sure to use as much as possible to get the most value. Chicken breasts are essential for your store because they can be used in most meals. If you want smaller pieces, you can even purchase diced chicken breast, which will save you time from having to cut and prepare the chicken and is priced similarly to, if not slightly less than, breasts at Asda. Instead of buying the same things each week, you could also add sausages, ham or even fish to make your meals interesting.
Next up is carbs and this includes foods like pasta and rice, very common foods for students to live on at university. It can be easy to default to pot noodles for this but creating a stir fry is a very quick recipe that includes vegetables as well. You may also not think of it but you could have sweet potatoes as an alternative carb, which makes the dish a bit sweeter. Don’t forget to buy dairy products such as milk and yoghurt as well.
A traditional food from home always makes me feel better when I’m feeling homesick, and buying a snack from your hometown also gives you the chance to share it with friends and introduce them to it.
And finally, since everyone enjoys a treat now and then, you should buy some of your favourite snacks, especially some popcorn and sweets for movie nights with friends!