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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Saving money on your food bill while staying healthy


Sam Merriweather from StudentWhat writes for us on how to stay healthy this year whilst still looking after the pennies.

The New Year is upon us. It seems so long ago that you were enjoying that lovely Christmas meal (mainly because you didn’t have to cook it). As uni starts again it is a great time to fulfil some resolutions. The more the better so how about 2 in 1? Follow these tips and before you know it your body and your wallet could be healthier!

Bye Bye Ready Meals

Number one place to start. Get rid of those ready meals and start cooking! It will save you money and do wonders for your health at the same time. At StudentWhat we are not good cooks AT ALL however we have developed the ability to make a few simple, nutritious but also cheap meals. We can now make Spaghetti Bolognese in 14 minutes for £1.28 a serving (Google ‘Bolognese in 14 minutes’ and we’ll be there). You also can cook a portion of mixed veg in the microwave in 3 ½ minutes that costs you 8p so you do not have an excuse not to eat vegetables!

Plan your meals and the shop

This is an easy way to make sure you don’t spend money on unhealthy food and on items you don’t need (usually the same thing). It only takes a few minutes to work out what you want for the week and can save you serious cash over the term. Don’t be ridiculous and say to yourself you’re not going to eat anything bad because that just isn’t going to happen. However maybe buy 1 or 2 treats and limit yourself to that for the week.

Do your shop online and play the system.

Supermarkets are always offering deals of up to £20 off your first online shop. That is serious money! Simply google the supermarket ‘s name and ‘online grocery voucher code’ and you’ll find one. There is always a minimum spend but you can shop with your friends and get the money off on your account and then next time they can set up an account and you can shop together and get the money off again. Then you can move supermarkets…Genius!

Online shopping also allows you to:
·         Give you a better overview of what you’re buying.
·         Compare prices more efficiently.
·         Reduces impulse buys!

Just be aware the first time you shop that you look at the weight of the foods, as you don’t want to buy a half size tin of something accidentally.

Cook in bulk and invest in tupperware

We all know buying in bulk = money savings, however you can often get caught out buying too much of something then watching it go to waste. This month a report from Institution of Mechanical Engineers found that 30-50% of food is thrown away before it reaches our stomachs!

Following step 2 (planning) and having Tupperware can reduce this waste massively. It can also save you time, energy and money as you can cook once and have 3/4 meals ready to go. Remember to reheat the meals thoroughly though to avoid any unsettled stomachs.

Get a balance between cheap and healthy

Trying to save money can lead to the purchasing of unhealthy food. Look at the labels and work our what you can afford to downgrade and what you shouldn’t. For example we don’t recommend buying the most basic beef mince as it is often 20%+ fat however the medium beef mince that is usually around £2.70 or the medium-higher quality mince that is usually 3 for £10 is a good option. On the other hand with tinned chopped tomatoes there is almost no point in buying fancy ones, go basic and you could save around 40%.

If you would like to get some ideas about cheap, healthy and quick recipes as well as seeing the current voucher codes for the supermarket intro offers our Food Section would be a good place to start J.

So there you have it good luck with 2013, I hope it is a good one! Good luck with the exams/hope they have gone well!