If it’s your first time away from home, prepare to be shocked by how much you’ll spend on food. Here are 10 ways to cut some food costs…

Budgeting and housekeeping are essential skills to learn in your time as a student. While it can be tempting to settle for takeaways and ready meals, especially in your first few weeks at uni, becoming self-sufficient is incredibly rewarding - both for you and your wallet. Here are 10 of our top ways to save money on food.

Plan your meals

Come up with a meal plan each week and stick to it. You can cook dishes like chilli con carne and spaghetti bolognese in bulk. Freezing the leftovers and defrosting them throughout the week saves money and time.

Buy in bulk

Bulk buying will save you a fortune on staples like grains, legumes and beans. That 15kg bag of rice might look excessive, but you won’t need to buy another until next term.

Stick to frozen vegetables

Frozen vegetables give you the same health benefits as fresh, but they’re much cheaper. You’ll also save a significant amount of money on wastage.

Go vegetarian

Meat is one of the most expensive ingredients on your shopping list. Replacing it with other sources of protein (like tofu, Quorn or lentils) will slash your food bill.

Or buy larger cuts

If meat is an essential part of your diet, it’s much cheaper to buy larger cuts and use them in multiple meals. You can roast a side of beef on Sunday and use the leftovers in sandwiches and stir fries throughout the week.

Sign up for customer discounts

Most of the major supermarkets offer a home delivery option, which usually comes with a hefty discount for first time registrants. Ocado is particularly good. You’ll get 30% off your first order, all without needing to leave the house.

Be smart about what you spend

Switching to supermarket value ranges could save you around a third on your weekly shop. That frees you up to spend a little more on the things you like. Our top tip here is to shell out on tinned tomatoes - you will taste the difference.

Student discount

Both Morrison’s and the Co-operative offer 10% discounts to students with an NUS card. Over time this really adds up.

Cook with your housemates

Cooking together is a great way to save money, make new friends and (if you’re lucky) learn some new recipes. If you don’t live with any aspiring chefs, soups and vegetable curries are simple to prepare and require lots of communal chopping.

Use Supercook

Supercook is designed to reduce food waste. Simply tap in the ingredients you’re looking to use up and it will recommend recipes for you. It’s a great way to find a purpose for that errant bag of carrots.

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