A weekly food shop for under £20

LIVING on a tight budget is never easy at university, especially in Aber where there are pubs aplenty. You’ll be limiting your budget for food shopping even more in order to accommodate your nights out during term and (if you’ve joined them) the costs associated with sports teams and/or societies! It is quite simple to live on £20 or under per week but it really does depend on where you shop.

Photo - Rebecca James

Photo – Rebecca James

Lidl:

It goes without saying that Lidl is the students’ best friend. It has cheap cans of food, great for cliché students’ beans on toast, and offers on the meat products such as chops, minced beef and sometimes steak. I personally survived on around £15 a week through shopping at Lidl. The trick is to find things you’re willing to mix together and eat again later in the week if you’ve cooked up too much, or items that are easy to freeze to be cooked later. My favourite was to cook up pasta and a tin of meatballs which I added vegetables such as sweetcorn to – this recipe would be the basic blue print for typical dinner. Another recommendation is to use Lidl to get the basic ingredients for the recipes in the student cookbooks you’ve probably received this summer before coming to university. Just remember to go at a time where it won’t be overly packed with people so you can look around the store at your leisure.

Iceland:

For cheap food and drink, Iceland is your next best choice. Bags of frozen sausages for £2 are a god send for those hung-over breakfasts! Iceland is also a good source for ready meals that you can just pop in the microwave or oven when you get in from a long day/night’s work in the computer rooms or library. But be aware that these ready meals are slightly costly and will cut into your food budget. Iceland is perfect for you if you need a cheap pizza or something but just make sure that you have plenty of room in your freezer!

CK’s:

CK’s is a fresher’s paradise, as it is not too far from most of the university accommodation and has a wide range of products. In comparison to the likes of Lidl it is a bit more expensive but does have great offers every now and then – one of my former housemates bought what we termed as “half a pig” from CK’s for a knock down price and ended up living on that for about two weeks. CK’s stays open until late, and regularly have offers on energy drinks which is useful for those wanting to pull an all-nighter.

Photo - Rebecca James

Photo – Rebecca James

Spar:

There are three spar stores in Aberystwyth, one that is open 24 hours and two that are open from around 7/8 in the morning to late at night. Spar has often got special offers on products that are worth checking out and their pizzas are brilliant value for a quick bite to eat at home between lectures.

Morrisons:

As one of the biggest shops in Aberystwyth, Morrisons offers a wide range of products. However, if you are looking to keep within your £20 budget then it’s best to just buy the own brand products rather than the more popular brands. This is probably the only way you can successfully stick to your budget in Morrisons, unless you’re willing to live on packs of noodles for the rest of the week!

Co-Op:

Generally the Co-Op is quite a reasonable shop but in all honesty it is a good idea to keep an eye on the amount you are spending in Co-Op as it is easy to get carried away (especially in their alcohol section).

To summarise,  your best shops for keeping to a budget of £20 a week are Lidl, and Iceland but do keep your eyes out for special offers in other shops. It is also worth looking for blogs and online for student recipes which will help you create great tasting food out of ingredients that you might be able to save money on.