Student guide: Deals, tips and tricks to save on food shopping

Navigating the maze of grocery shopping as a student can be a budgeting battle. With the need to balance healthy eating against the constraints of a student budget, finding effective ways to save on your weekly food shop becomes crucial. Check out our tips and tricks to finesse your grocery shopping so it hits the big three: low price, healthy, DELICIOUS!

The world of online grocery shopping: convenience meets savings

The rise of online grocery shopping has revolutionised the way we buy our food. For students, there’s a double advantage: the convenience of shopping from your dorm or house and access to exclusive online deals—cheap food, ordered from the couch? What could be better?! Websites and apps often have first-time user discounts, seasonal sales and exclusive online vouchers that can significantly reduce your bill.

UNiDAYS: Your go-to for grocery discounts

UNiDAYS isn’t just about fashion and tech; it’s a goldmine for grocery savings too. We partner with major grocery brands and delivery services, offering discounts and deals specifically for students. These can range from percentage-off discounts to special offers on delivery services.

You might be familiar with UNiDAYS fashion and tech benefits, or may even save on a cheeky meal out every now and again, but did you know you can save on the weekly food shop too? With grocery perks like Morrisons click and collect, you can create your meal plan for less—plus, no getting distracted by those impulse purchases!

A saving on your first Uber Eats grocery shop is another great option, with supermarkets like Sainsbury’s, Asda and Co-op on hand to zoom those student food staples right to your door (or, if you’re like us, it’s emergency biscuits).

Smart shopping with vouchers and coupons

No need to collect paper food coupons any more, grocery vouchers have gone digital. Keep an eye out for digital coupons that can be used for online shopping—voucher websites, apps and student forums are good places to look for these. Remember, small savings on individual items can soon add up to substantial amounts.

If your local supermarket has an app or loyalty scheme, regular food shops can quickly add up to savings for students, and you might even get an abundance of personalised food coupons and monthly discounts—free Lidl bakery item, anyone?

Bulk buying and sharing: friends that grocery shop together, stay together

One of the best ways to save money is to buy in bulk—think big bags of rice, pasta and other non-perishables. If storage is an issue, or if you're worried about items going off, consider teaming up with friends or housemates. This way, you can split the cost and the groceries, making it more affordable for everyone.

Putting in an online shop? Team up with housemates to save on delivery and share some basics. No house needs 5 different tubs of butter in the fridge! Why not plan a cute fakeaway night together, while you’re at it?! There’s loads of cheap, easy and delicious recipes on TikTok and it’s way more cost effective than ordering in.

Seasonal and local produce: fresher and cheaper

Buying seasonal produce is another smart way to save. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are often cheaper and fresher. Look out for local markets or farm shops – these places can offer quality produce at lower prices than you might find in big supermarkets.

Meal planning: Reduce waste and unnecessary spending

Meal planning is an underrated tool in a student’s arsenal. By planning your meals for the week, you can buy exactly what you need, reducing both food waste and impulse purchases. This also helps in making healthier food choices, a challenge for many students.

Understanding offers and deals

While offers and deals are tempting, it’s important to understand them correctly. A 'buy one get one free' offer is only a good deal if you need both items. Be cautious of deals that encourage you to buy more than you need, leading to potential waste and overspending.

The art of freezer-friendly cooking

Make your grocery shop streeeeetch! Cooking in batches and freezing meals not only saves time but also money. Buying ingredients in larger, more cost-effective packs and cooking meals that freeze well means you always have a homemade meal ready, reducing the temptation to order costly takeaways. We love tasty curries, soups and lasagne for this hack—a quick blast in the microwave or airfryer and you’re set to scran.

Keep an eye on expiry dates

When shopping in-store, check the expiry dates on fresh products. Items close to their sell-by date are often discounted in the ‘reduced section’ of the supermarket. These can be great for things you plan on cooking on the day, or for recipes that you plan to cook and eat over a few days.

Got some veggies on the turn? Make an ‘everything soup’ or pop them in the freezer to add to pasta sauces. Blend your less-than-best veggies with a stock cube and some seasoning for tasty, easy lunches that would have ended up in the bin—everyone’s a winner, including the planet!

So, being a student doesn’t have to mean compromising tasty or healthy food, it just takes a bit of planning and some handy, money-saving tips. . Embrace smart shopping strategies, check UNiDAYS often for the best food deals and you can make your food budget stretch much further.

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