Tips for life on a budget Part 1: Eating

Living on a student budget is and always will be notorious for living off baked beans, sacrificing weekly grocery bills for that one night out with friends, and travelling back home for the holidays by hitchhiking because you can’t afford the bus.

But your university experience doesn’t have to be this way!

Using these tips, students budgets can be stretched to cover every expense needed in the cash-depleted life of a uni student.

Cheap food

Food is one of the most important, yet hard-to-budget necessities in the life of a uni student.

The best ways to ensure you have enough sustenance to get through your day include:

  • try to limit the amount of times you eat out. That weekly late-night pizza run could be eating chunks out of your food budget that, added up, could be better spent buying a full set of cutlery so you don’t have to use the end of a spoon whenever you want to spread Vegemite on toast
  • cook your own food. It’s what everyone tells you to do, but sometimes it’s just hard to summon up enough willpower to get the job done. But it will be worth the struggle. Use that saved money to buy yourself something you would not have otherwise been able to afford
  • buy home brand or brandless foods at supermarkets like Aldi, Coles, Woolies and IGA. Keep an eye out for brands like ‘Select’, ‘Smart Buy’ and ‘Black and Gold’
  • look for discounts. When buying groceries, always look in the reduced or marked down section of the store. These sections almost always have deals ranging anywhere from 20-80% off. The price of products in these sections is usually lower by the end of the day (but do check – the product is generally close to its use-by date)
  • remember the ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates are almost always a precaution. Many foods are completely fine to eat past their ‘best before’ dates, but remember if food has a fuzzy green coating that just shouldn’t be there, or smells suspicious, chances are you probably should not be eating it
  • when buying fast food, look for discounts and student deals. As a student, many places will offer you discounts of up to 15%.