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BECOME A MONEY SAVING EXPERT Become a money saving expert. There are loads of cookbooks out there (points to cheap shopping section, and recipes here on this site, which I hoped would persuade students that they can make wonderful and cheap meals every day.

Sometimes the recipes might sound pretty quick to make and are genially cheap. Unfortunately, sometimes, but for many students, they still want to grab the fast(er) food (yes I know you give in easily) and decide to skip the money saving process so they can spend time on other things. So how can you buy whatever you want, including ready meals (but easy does it! Look at the fat content and salt and you’ll soon walk away, at least you would if you knew what it meant). Well I understand, it’s not always simple, but if you’re willing to put in the initial effort in, there are plenty ways you can batter down the bills that will, unfortunately, attempt to drowned you. Now down to business.

Supermarkets give stuff away free.
Fine, not free but close enough, use the Buy One Get One Free offers (BOGOF) from supermarkets in fact several supermarkets, use them all for their special offers. The more shops you can check, the better. Check out most supermarkets offers online Google, a student’s best friend . . . second to Studentstyle.net obviously. It’s great when you see how much is there at half price, Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF), and similar. If you’re a very picky eater (never a good starting point) this might not work. But if you’re willing to sacrifice a very particular shopping list and if you only look at special offers you’ll find your food money going a lot further. There are even offers on alcohol, so try to grab those instead (no I’m not promoting drinking and this is not an excuse to buy it, although, it would be a funny one). In fact, try buying nothing but offers in each of the supermarkets around you. That’s how it should be done. With so many BOGOFs, you’ll soon walk out with double the shopping, but with the same amount of money. Carrying it all back home might be a hassle though.

If you can’t stop the spending, list it.
If you really must write a shopping list with specific products (or if you only want to use one supermarket per shop), check where the product is cheapest (trust me, I found a lot of things were always on offer in at least one of the supermarkets nearby). Also, buy the cheapest brand there. Unless you’re an academic food snob who wishes to max out on the credit cards from day 1, I know cheap products may send a cold shiver down you but don’t worry. Sometimes you’re getting exactly the same food as the more expensive product, just with crappier packaging, just like EBay and PayPal the product comes from the same owner and (in the majority of cases) the same production process. And if it doesn’t taste quite as good as the brand you’re used to, is the slightly better taste REALLY worth two or three times the price? Stick some ketchup on it.

The power of coupon collecting
You’ve probably seen various food product coupons in magazines and completely ignored them, why? Because we’re all food snobs and don’t want to look cheap. If it’s for some brand of butter that you couldn’t care less about, for instance, you’d just turn the page. But (now here is a good trick) what some of the supermarkets do is take the money-off vouchers and coupons, even if you haven’t purchased that particular product. They don’t all do it, plus it depends on who is serving you sometimes, but if you’re happy to try it each time, it’s worth a go. It might only mean a 60p here and a 40p there, but it’s still money better in your pocket. It all adds up, go shopping 4 times a month save 1 each time you save 53 pounds in the year and that’s half your TV license.

Meals with housemates
Now this one depends on your circumstances. It might be super easy or it could be nigh on impossible. But you’re sure to get a good selection of meals if you can gang together with some of your housemates to take turns making meals (don’t announce your culinary kitchen skills you might get stuck doing them all!). That way, you’d be able to have some of your meals cooked for you and you’d only need to take one turn ever week or so to do the cooking. AND…it’s usually a lot cheaper! If you can pull this one off, it’s a fantastic thing to do and will also make you closer to your roommates, which is only a good thing.
If you spend, say, 25 a week on your shopping, you’d be surprised just how much you’d get if four or five of you contributed 20 each and did one big shop for all your meals together, plus remember BOGOF and never be afraid to try new food.

Bigger Portions
If you can’t do the clubbing together thing with roommates, for whatever reason, how about making a meal to last you? Make it big enough to create a few more servings and then fridge/freeze it. That way, you can still look to cheaper grub. The only thing is, you might get bored with the same food over several days. But sometimes when you’re trying to save money for better things it’s worth it, isn’t it?

Don’t Impulse Buy
Just don’t. Yes, the sweets and goodies are by the till for a reason. No, you don’t have to succumb to it, you are stronger than the usual fool who falls into this marketing trap (sorry if you’re a fool)

Go down the market
Find out if there’s a market that comes to town on a regular basis and utilize their (usually) cheaper prices on fruit and vegetables as well as meat (I recommend you read the articles on in the students should know section). Similarly, if there is a farm shop nearby, they might have decent prices on fruit and vegetables, especially if you buy in bulk and combine some of the tips above. If you like a bit of a sweet snack sometimes, a load of different fruits might be a cheaper and healthier way to eat, rather than fatty and sugary snacks.. Cough ready meals … cough. I know that’s boring and you’ve probably heard that advice time and time again, but it’s true. You know it, I know it that person out the window, go look, see them? They know it too.

A trick to shopping
You won’t be tempted to pick up half the amount of stuff you might have done on an empty stomach, it will heighten your resilience to impulse buying and clever (or so they think) marketing by the shops.

Buy fruit and vegetables loose
You pay loads extra for packaging; excess packaging is getting a hard time in the press anyway at the moment. If you buy packaged food you lose, you can save money and tell people you’re doing it for the love of the environment! (Hey it’s a good cover up if you don’t want to look like you’re on a tight budget).
 

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