Tricks and tips for cooking on a budget

Magda Budzynska·26 February 2021·5 min read
Tricks and tips for cooking on a budget

Groceries are the second-largest expense on the student spending list just after the rent. However, there are a few things which you can do to limit your food spending. Cooking on a budget doesn’t mean eating less or more boring. It’s the opposite! It’s all about being creative and enjoying the process. Whenever you discover a new way to cut your food expenses it will definitely make you very happy and eager to learn more. So here it is, few tricks which will help you reduce the number of small heart attacks when you check your bank account or get a notification that your money balance is lower than ever. Most of us have been there, right?

  1. Find the cheapest supermarket!

Lidl and Aldi are the cheapest options for making groceries. Sometimes you won't be able to find a specific branded product you so desperately want to get hold of. However, there is usually a way to substitute! It's highly recommended to look at a price tag and compare the same products provided by different brands. You never know, maybe you will discover that the cheaper alternative will be a better option for your taste buds. Check out Morrisons or Co-Op as they offer student discounts and sometimes they are the best places to find bargains. Two frozen pizzas and an ice cream bucket just for a fiver sound good? Try making use of the loyalty programmes offered by the supermarkets. Tesco Clubcard or Lidl Plus app which gives you a chance to win a discount for your next shopping after each buy. They also offer weekly coupons for different product ranges.

2. Apps

Olio is an amazing food-sharing app where you can get food for free. Yes, you read that right: everything is free! Starting with veggies to dairy and ending with grains. Don’t worry, even though everything is free nothing on Olio is inedible. It’s wonderful as it helps reduce food waste by allowing local communities to share their food surpluses with those who are willing to consume them. Olio has already gained over 2.5 million users. The next great food app is Too Good To Go which will help you kill two birds with one stone. Not only will you reduce your food expenses but also the app will help you address the issue of food waste. How does it work you may ask? It's very easy. Local business i.e. restaurants, cafes, or any other food selling spots will advertise on the app a Magic Bag full of food which otherwise would end up in the trash. It’s tasty stuff sold at great prices with an addition of mystery as you never know what you will find in your Magic Bag.

3. Freezer is your best friend

Another great way to help you save some money on food is taking care of the things you’ve already bought. Whenever you find yourself wondering if you manage to eat your cheese before the best before date or the bread you bought becomes stale just pop it into your freezer. This machine is a true lifesaver when it comes to avoiding food waste and hence money waste. What’s more, you can use it to store the frozen fruits and vegetables which are a much cheaper alternative to fresh products.

4. Leftovers

Again the best method for the leftovers is to freeze them. If you cooked a huge portion of food for your dinner and you know that even with the help from your flatmates you won’t be able to consume it all, put it into a container and freeze it. It’s also a great way to save time as whenever you are overwhelmed with deadlines and too busy to cook you can just defrost and heat up the meal that you have already prepped. In the case of vegetable leftovers, remember to never throw them away. Just put them in the large pot add some water and boil everything. Voila! You end up with a broth or a tasty soup.

5. Grow your own food

Last but not least you can lower your cooking expenses if you find yourself to be open to developing your gardening skills. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need full gardening equipment. If you are new to this, start re-growing your own spring onion. All you need are the ends of the bulbs with roots. Simply put them in a glass with water and watch them grow. After few days you will discover a new, free of charge and very tasty addition to your meal.