Food shopping on a budget

Being a student doesn't mean you have to live off baked beans and super noodles. Learning to budget your money and spending wisely at the supermarket will not only help get you through your time at university, it will become a useful skill throughout your life too.

Supermarket shopping tips

  • Big food shops
    Doing one big weekly (or longer) food shop and stocking up your cupboards will help prevent the need for popping to the convenience store or ordering a takeaway. Try and keep your cupboards stocked as best you can. But beware house mates who might help themselves! Why not come up with a shared cooking schedule between you.
  • Make a shopping list
    Make a list and stick to it, this way you will avoid the chance of impulse buying by only getting what you need.
  • Shop around
    Get the best deals by shopping around and comparing prices at different supermarkets. Supermarkets regularly change offer deals to capture people who habitually buy the same things as they were initially cheap. It’s worth shopping around as you can often find your normal goods cheaper elsewhere. It may be worth making trips to the likes of Aldi and Lidl if you can manage a big shop now and again. Or perhaps your hall or house share can all pitch in for one big communal shopping trip?
  • Cook in bulk
    It can work out cheaper and healthier to make meals from scratch. If you are going to do this then it is best to cook in bulk and then freeze your left overs. Keeping your freezer stocked is ideal for the times when you want something quick and easy.
  • Make Packed Lunches
    If you are have classes all day and you are going to be out around lunch time, make a packed lunch. This works out a lot cheaper than buying lunch out.
  • Don’t shop when you’re hungry
    Shopping when you are hungry will only result in you buying things you want that you don’t need.
  • Don’t buy fruit and vegetables in multi packs
    Only buy what you need. Often buying loose fruit and veg will work out cheaper and save on wastage.
  • Check out the local market if there is one
    You can often buy bags full of fruit and vegetables at really low prices and without all that extra packaging too, so you’ll be doing the environment a favour at the same time!
  • Time it right
    Head to the supermarket around 7-8pm or up to an hour before closing to buy reduced products. You can pick up really cheap meat that is going out of date and just freeze it for a longer shelf life.
  • Don’t just get special offers
    Supermarkets use cunning tactics to make you buy special offers that may not be that special. Sale offers often go at the front of the store so you are more likely to grab that rather than checking the isles where there are likely to be better prices.

If you want to save even more money on your groceries, shop with GetPaidTo and receive cashback with any of our online stores below.

Kitchen Staples

Remember to keep your kitchen stocked with ingredients to make quick and easy meals. We think these kitchen staples are a must have for students.

  • Oil
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweetcorn
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Herbs and spices
  • Sugar
  • Baked beans/spaghetti
  • Potatoes
  • Tinned tuna
  • Soup – tinned or packets
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Ketchup
  • Bread
  • Jam
  • Tea/coffee
  • Cereal
  • Custard
  • Frozen food - Fish fingers, burgers, ice cream etc.


If you do find yourself wanting to order a takeaway rather than cooking a meal, you should order with friends and split the cost. As an occasional spend it won’t dent your budget too much and why not save more money by using discount codes and vouchers and getting some cashback on your dinner?

If you order with GetPaidTo, you can receive cashback on any of our online takeaways listed below:

Dinner parties

Another cost effective way of feeding yourself (and getting fed) is to create dinner party nights. It’s always much cheaper to cook for many people than just yourself. To get started, invite as many friends as you can host over for a meal and then watch the invitations return!

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a simple veggie curry, shepherd’s pie, toad in the hole...something easy, nutritious and filling. Make sure your guests all bring a bottle – then you’ll save on drinks too!

Not only will you save yourself some money, it is also a great way of making new friends and socializing on a budget.

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