Cooking: Save money with these top ten tips for student meals
Cooking is an essential life skill that most students only start to pick up at University, so with that in mind here’s our guide to making delicious meals without breaking the bank.
Spices make things interesting!
Spices can make even the blandest of foods interesting. Things like rice and pasta may be dirt cheap, but they can get boring after a while. Fortunately, a huge host of spices and seasoning can improve that, and they’ll usually last a heck of a long time, too.
You’ll no doubt already use salt and pepper, but look into things like oregano, cumin, paprika, curry and chilli powder. Do your research online on what to use or just be adventurous and experiment!
It’s not just for the savory either, with something like cinnamon turning french toast into a whole other brilliant experience.
Reduce your waste!
Throwing away food is practically throwing away money, so don’t do it! Understand what fills you up and keep your portion sizes enough to stop you being hungry, but no more. If you do have leftovers, save them or reuse them! Leftover meat especially can be used in all kinds of meals.
And of course, keep an eye on use-by dates for your products. For cupboard items, this won’t be an issue, but fresh products may only have a few days before they starting going off, so eat them before you have to bin them.
But just because something is going off, doesn’t mean it has to be binned. If you’re not going to eat it, freeze it: Meats, bread and even milk can all be frozen and kept beyond any dates printed on the packaging.
Try veggie alternatives
Next time you go shopping, take a look at the vegetarian options or research from veggie recipes. You may find that some meals in particular may be cheaper and yet still taste exactly the same. Veggie recipes can also be cheaper to make and allow you to explore and improve your cooking skills beyond the usual meat and fish. Nut roast, anyone?
Plan your meals ahead in a bid to give yourself time to search for the best and cheapest goods, as well as taking advantage of bulk savings and no need to regularly make trips to the shops, also saving you cash on petrol or bus fares.
Use comparison sites
Use websites like MySupermarket to compare you weekly shopping basket to see which store is offering the cheapest prices right now.
Supermarket prices change all the time so be sure to check regularly even if you’re always buying the same products.
The website also has a handy tool to look for cheaper alternatives, but a drawback of the site is that it doesn’t search every supermarket, with neither Lidl nor Aldi included.
Get quick and easy recipes
Use websites like our sister site Student Eats to find quick, fast and cheap recipes designed and tested for students, and a student kitchen!