Let’s play a game. Head into some of your nearest grocery stores after 5pm with a fiver and see how many meals you can buy before your money runs out.
Shopping for food is one area of the budget that anyone, let alone students, can’t afford to skimp on. Let’s face it, when the end of the loan period approaches, you’re hardly going to be able to sustain a balanced diet and get your 5 a day on a Pot Noodle and faith in a pack of multivits. But good, wholesome food in local supermarkets can burn a whole in the budget, a game of reduced roulette will help you take full advantage of supermarkets’ reduced products. Here are some top tips to help you out:
Hit the shops after 5pm:
Despite what they say about going food shopping on an empty stomach (they say don’t do it) the best deals strike the shelves right when your mouth starts to water. Supermarkets will usually start reducing product prices from 5pm with reductions increasing to up to 90% the closer you get to closing! Sandwiches can drop to 6p each, perfect for tomorrow’s library lunch.
Know where to look:
It’s all about location, location, location. I’m talking the bottom shelf of the dairy section, or a hidden aisle extension at the end of the booze aisle – you have to know where to look.
Supermarkets and smaller shops can often have special dedicated sections when it comes to reduced items and they will usually consist of a refrigerated section and a dried goods/bakery section. Different retailers will provide better deals in different departments so keep a look out for yellow sticker trends in your local shops. For example, in the Fallowfield area, Sainsbury’s will excel in the offers on baked goods such as donuts and Tesco will offer a greater variety of meats and vegetables.
Mix up your shop:
You’ve got to play the field. Maybe Sainsbury’s one day is killing the game on their reductions on meats (I once scored a whole rotisserie chicken for £1.50) and Tesco is offering an unmissable deal on vegetables, by mixing and matching your shops you can collate a balanced nutritious dinner for less than a meal deal.
There are two ways you can go all Frozone on your reductions to make them last; you can either freeze them immediately after purchasing to then defrost and eat whenever you like, or you can cook your meals in bulk and freeze portions of it to defrost and eat whenever you like. According to the NHS’ Eat Well website, it is safe to freeze meat and fish any time before its use by date, as frozen food cannot get any get any more ‘unsafe’, so freeze away! (and check out the Eat Well website https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-store-food-and-leftovers/)