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Thrifty student shopping for one


There is a lot of advice around now for students, from people who have been there, done that and are still trying to pay their student loan. My memories of being a student are a little vague now, but I did go shopping with two students this week. One problem with the big supermarkets is they have offers that are suitable for families with a commercial size freezer. 2 packs of chicken for £6 is good, unless you are short of money or freezer space, then Tesco expect you to buy one for £4.00. That is £10.62 a kilogram compared to £7.96 with the offer.

Is this discrimination against students, single people and  elderly people who live alone? I don’t just check offers on websites like some writers, I get out there and look for myself! I went shopping with two students this week! I wish I had gone to Aldi now, but we needed lots of things like a can opener and cooking things, so we needed a larger supermarket. I decided on Morrison’s mainly because they do cooked food and a good selection. Their prices weren’t good and neither is their website. The only real bargain I saw was a cheap electric kettle for £5.00. We spent too much money and didn’t get everything we wanted. The can opener wasn’t very good either.

The first thing to buy as a student or anyone who lives alone is your staple foods. For me that is potatoes, you might prefer bread. My international students wanted rice. We need protein foods and a good source of protein is egg. We bought 15 and 14 of those survived the journey back to the halls of residence! You can get 15 for £1.25 in Aldi and Asda, I think Morrison’s was a little more expensive.  Free range might taste a little better, but is it worth paying twice as much for them?

You can also look at other sources of protein like pulses, peas and beans aren’t as good as meat. The protein doesn’t contain as many amino acids as in meat and eggs. Milk and cheese are also good sources of protein and calcium and milk is fairly good value. Grated cheese on a baked potato with some vegetables is fairly easy to cook (use the microwave) and good value.

You need fruit and vegetables too. We are in the final days of summer here in the UK, but it feels more like winter. The colds and other winter illnesses have started already. You need vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C is essential and so buy the cheap fruit, but also buy fruit juice. Orange juice and blackcurrant juice are both good sources of vitamin C. You might like to buy some paracetamol or ibuprofen just in case you get a cold or headache too; get those from Poundland if you have one close by. There is some tummy bugs around too, like norovirus. The best anti-diarrheal you are likely to find is Imodium; ask for it by it’s generic name in a pharmacy – loperamide hydrochloride (2mg). If you ask for it using the generic name, the pharmacist should advise the cheapest one. The same can apply to acne treatments (the ones advertised on TV are the most expensive)

Be smart when cooking. If you have a slice of bread that’s going a little stale, toast it. If you have left over boiled potato, put it in a plastic container in the fridge and then fry it later in a little sunflower oil, sprinkle with a little pepper for flavour, or give it a squirt of tomato ketchup when it’s fried golden brown. Left over rice can go off easily, keep it away from uncooked meat and  always wash your hands well after handling uncooked meat and poultry. Left over rice can be kept in the fridge and stir fried later with onion, egg and veggies to make a nourishing and healthy egg fried rice. Make good use of frozen vegetables, a portion (80g) of frozen peas costs as little as 8p. Peas contain protein, fibre and vitamins and so are good nutritionally and they are frugal.

When you use the oven, try to make good use of it. Cook extra chicken to eat cold later in the day, for example. Also in winter try cooking soups and stews with whatever vegetables are in season. You will find stew packs in most supermarkets.

The Aldi super six this week are 39p each. You need broccoli for the vitamin C and celery to make chicken and celery soup. The onions and carrots would make a good soup too! I’m not so sure about the lettuce, but the spring onions would be good for stir fry.

Do you have questions? Please use the comments box. You can also subscribe to this blog when you comment, just enter your details and tick the box. You can also get Windows Live Essentials and use instant messenger to phone home, the other programs are useful too. I used live writer to write this! There are even more amazing blogs on the home page. Enjoy your studies…


9 responses

  1. Left over rice is one of the biggest causes of food poisoning. That is one tip I would never pass on. We currently have two international students lodging with us, and we too are helping them to cook thriftily and healthily. I totally agree that most supermarkets seem to offer bargains if you bulk buy, so for meat go to the butcher and buy the quantity you need. I would also argue that pulses contain more protien than meat! also if they have a kitty and cook together this brings the costs down. I lived in a shared house of five and cooking collectively meant we only had to cook once or twice a week each. Avoid the big supermarkets and shop at Aldi. Go for the fresh vegetables on offer. They recently had Heinz beans in a multipack that worked out almost as cheap as the own brand. My other top tip, is make your own soup!

    20, September 2012 at 11:55 am

    • Hi Coral,

      Yes, I did warn about the dangers of keeping cooked rice. It does get contaminated. I think it is better to cook just enough and use it all. I was trying to make the point that there are dangers of reheating food. I am sure some students will stir fry left over rice and other things and so I hope they will be aware of the dangers of contamination. The same applies to soups and stews, they taste better when reheated, but they should be cooled and then stored in the fridge. The protein in pulses doesn’t have all the amino acids that milk, eggs, meat and poultry do. I think you can get away with that, vegans seem quite healthy! I think it is better to include at least milk and eggs in your diet.

      Thanks for the comment. I shall be shopping in Aldi later. I got a wok from Aldi, but they didn’t have a can opener.

      I just checked out your Facebook page. The last time I drove through Bearwood. I was a student!

      20, September 2012 at 12:15 pm

  2. Fei

    ALDI is cheaper than ASDA and it has much more products to choose.

    20, September 2012 at 12:53 pm

    • I think Asda has more to choose from, but Aldi is definitely cheaper!
      Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

      20, September 2012 at 6:54 pm

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