Freshers: How to make your budget stretch

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OKAY Freshers, you’ve received your first loan payment, you’ve figured out your weekly budget, and now you’re staring at the sums in front of you trying to understand how you’re going to turn those figures into food for the next term. Well, that’s how I felt anyway during my first week as a Fresher, trying to get to grips with where to shop, what to buy and whether to share food with people I didn’t actually know yet. And so, without further ado, here are some tips on how to survive on a budget.

Tip 1
Lidl is your new best friend. Especially for those of you wonderful people living on the seafront. I’d never been in before coming to uni, and for all you fellow supermarket snobs, give Lidl a chance. You may be surprised. It’s cheap, has tons of fresh fruit and veg, a bakery, and milk is £1- always a bonus. Oh, and alcohol is also very well-priced, and their knock-off brands are brilliant (when consumed responsibly of course).

Tip 2
Morrisons is brilliant for stocking up if you can be bothered to walk, or, for the more faint-hearted, get a taxi- if you go with a group, it’s £1 each with Ow’s taxis (07807298440). However, BE WARNED – those who venture to Morrisons rarely come out without at least five products they do not need/will not end up eating/did not actually intend to buy. However, the range is of course a lot bigger than Co-op or Lidl.

Tip 3
Anyone who tells you that you cannot eat healthily on a budget is lying. In fact, it’s a lot cheaper to buy fruit and veg most of the time than it is to buy microwave meals and takeaways.

Tip 4
For those of you who only know how to make baked beans on toast, and always burn the toast – do not panic! Cooking is not a crazily complex art that you can never aspire to master. Learn to cook pasta and rice, and base a lot of your sauces on chopped tomatoes and basic herbs and spices. It’s fun and cheaper than you realise, and BBC Good Food is brilliant for simple recipes.

Tip 5
If you can, find a housemate (or two) who has similar eating patterns and habits to you and eat with them. It’ll save you money and it’s more sociable. Even if it doesn’t work out it will teach you a lot about budgeting.

Tip 6
Try and leave at least some of your weekly budget for food. Alcohol will not keep you alive, and nobody likes a starving Fresher.