TOP TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST UNI GROCERY SHOP
By Rebecca Maher on September 15th, 2023
Stepping into a supermarket for your first ever grocery shop can be a little overwhelming. Not knowing where to begin, facing three different kinds of tomatoes, multiple types of onions and endless options of rice and pasta. Never mind knowing what brand to choose from. In this week’s blog, we share our top tips to help you with your first visit to the supermarket while at university.
Before you head grocery shopping, plan a list of the items you will need. Including food supplies, toiletries, kitchen, and homeware items and even stationary. Your first supermarket shop will probably be a big one, so make sure you have everything you need.
By making a weekly meal plan before food shopping, this will help you reduce your spending and stay focused on the food items you really need at the shop. It also stops you impulse spending and avoiding waste.
To get some of best bargains, try shopping later in the day. It’s best to go an hour or so before closing time, or at about 7pm in 24-hour stores. All the items that go out of date the following day will be heavily reduced. The shop just wants to get rid of them before they are disposed, so look out for those yellow ‘reduced’ stickers. Once you have found a bargain, you can make the most of reduced food items by freezing what you can. Just be mindful of your storage space, especially if you are sharing kitchen space with others.
It is easy to get into the habit of sticking to specific brands we know and trust. But, supermarket’s own branded items are actually very similar. Sometimes even better, and for a fraction of the cost. For example, Heinz Ketchup can cost an estimated £3.40, whereas if you buy Asda or Aldi’s own brand, you can expect to pay less than £1.00. So next time you are food shopping, set yourself a challenge of only buying supermarket’s own branded items to see how much you can save.
For cupboard staples like rice, spices and sauces, head to the world food aisle. This is one of the best ways to save money on food shopping. Items can be up to 75% cheaper than domestic equivalents. It’s not that the quality is any worse, products are more authentic. The only reason for the price difference is down to the brands not being as popular or well-known.
Shopping for the essentials can be very expensive, especially if they all run out at once. If you see branded items on offer at an affordable price, stock up. This will help you save money in the long run. Alternatively, head to your nearest discount stores like Home Bargains and Pound Stretcher for regular and affordable home and grocery items.
Many UK supermarkets have loyalty cards. With these, you can collect points that can be later used for future shops. By opting into supermarket loyalty schemes, you can even save there and then on your shopping. For example, Tesco Clubcard offers the best deals on all household items from cereal, branded items and more.
Make the most of your student discount, it is what it is there for! There are so many supermarket discounts available, including Co-op offering 10% with a Totum card.
If you are on a strict budget whilst living at university, using food apps is a great way of getting discounted items from restaurants, cafes and even supermarkets.
In most cities, you will never be too far away from these affordable supermarkets. It is a good idea to shop around in the below shops to make the most of your grocery budget.
Doing the food shop can feel like a bit of a chore, but it is a great phase of newfound independence. Everything you do will be for yourself, to keep you going and to help you thrive.