Warning: Requires LOTS of freezer space!
When I tell people that I lived off £100 a month during my first year as a student they often look at me in amazement and whilst I did find it hard at times to keep up with social activities I ate well all year, only have one pot noodle and that was because I was craving it. Other than that moment of weakness on my part I ate home prepared and cooked meals every day. My secret? Making the most of supermarket offers!
Morrison’s, my local supermarket, does a deal on meat where you can buy three packets for £10. So at the beginning of term when life isn’t as hectic I bulk buy. Along with this meat I stock up with cupboard supplies from Aldi before I arrive at uni (a tin of chopped tomatoes is just 30p!) as well as packets of tomatoes, onions, peppers and of course garlic! I then make all my favourite meals – chilli con carne, meatballs in a home-made pasta sauce, beef goulash, fish pie, 4-veg curry – and portion them out before freezing them; easy! It also means I don’t have to worry about cooking for the next couple of weeks or so apart from when I integrate sausages and mash, and a pork chop into my diet when they’re on offer. As well as this I always try to cut down on chips and have home-made sweet potato fries instead.
I made a total of 28 meals over two days and it cost me under £90, including all the meat. I think that’s quite good, even with my still-limited knowledge of food prices!
Tip: Buying and cooking a whole chicken is a great way to get more meat for less. 1 chicken gives 2 breasts, 2 wings and enough left-over meat to provide about 4 portions which I use in stir-fries or in curry sauces.