How To Buy Food As An Almost Broke Student

Food shopping on a student budget can prove tricky especially when there isn't much of a budget to spend.

Get discounted food online

Online supermarket Approved Food offers huge savings on food. The website specialises in surplus and short-dated stock, food that is either near or just passed its 'best before' date. It's still good to eat, but costs a fraction of the retail price.

What not to buy

Don't bother with expensive ready meals which almost always cost far more than the raw ingredients you can purchase to make yourself. It'll also be a lot healthier made at home rather than in a factory being pumped with chemicals to keep it preserved.

Get budget busting recipes

You can make huge savings with these budget busting student recipes and don't underestimate the student classic super noodles - here are 8 ways to improve instant noodles.


Buy groceries from Amazon

Amazon sells EVERYTHING - including food - and there are deals to be had. Before heading down to the local supermarket, check out Amazon to see if you can fill your basket cheaper online.


Plan your meals ahead and you'll save loads: Select cheap dishes that share common ingredients to minimise your spend. For instance, you can turn one packet of mince into meatballs burgers, lasagne, Shepard's pie and much more. When you head to the shops, make yourself a shopping list and stick to it strictly to avoid impulse buys.

Don't waste

Never waste food. In shops, search for items with a long a shelf date as possible, keep an eye on foods that are nearing their expiration and use them up! Even if food does go 'off' you may be able to eat it - brown bananas can become banana loaf cake while you can turn stale bread into a delicious pudding.

Win at supermarket reductions

You can't guarantee it but supermarket reductions can mean HUGE bargains. Check out the reduced isles or sections when you're shopping to see if there is a good offer to be had.

Supermarket Reductions

Love your freezer

You can freeze pretty much anything (including milk and bread!) so love your freezer to avoid waste and get more for your money (see below). Consider buying prepared frozen fruit, veg, fish and meat ahead of fresh alternatives as they'll last a lot longer and you don't have to worry about preparing it for freezing yourself.

Buy in bulk if you can

It costs more upfront but you'll make long-term savings buying in bulk so if you have the money to hand it makes sense. We're not necessarily talking crates of stuff here, but simply buying bigger packets of foods you often eat (rice, pasta, etc.) works out cheaper gram for gram. Same goes for meat, buying a pack of eight chicken breasts for a month will be cheaper than buying packs of two each week. As above, use your freezer to store what you don't plan to immediately use.

About the author: Thomas Brella

Thomas Brella is the founder of Student Hacks, starting the website in 2013 while studying at the University of Brighton to share tips and tricks on life as a cash-strapped student. He's now spent over 10 years scoping out the best ways to live on a budget

More on: Food Money
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