The Art of Budgeting: Lunch

Share Post To:

Photo from (Lexis Nexis

Being a student is all about mastering the delicate art of scrimping and saving and doing just about anything to avoid reaching that dreaded overdraft limit. This is certainly not always easy! If you’ve just left home, it is likely that budgeting for things like food is a task you have never needed to consider before and it may take a little bit of practice.

So this week, I trekked around campus in the hope of finding the tastiest on-campus lunch, which will give you the best value for money and help you save your precious pennies over the course of the year.


This is an obvious starting point for a value meal deal. For £3, you can find an enormous sandwich and salad selection, which despite some rather sad looking egg mayo or ham sandwiches, on the whole looked rather tasty. The snack selection is strong and you can even please your mum and get fruit as part of the deal. The Tesco meal deal seems like a very easy option – that is until you see the queues. During the peak rush at mid-day, the queue often wraps around the entire shop and then out the door. Is this worth it for a slightly mediocre sandwich? I’m thinking maybe not.

Bakery 164

Now you can’t discuss lunching on campus without a mention of Bakery 164. Deemed by many as the best sandwiches around campus, this tiny shop gets absolutely rammed every day. And I can see why, with sandwiches such as chicken satay, peppered squid or chicken & sweet potato curry. These sound undoubtedly delicious but is Bakery 164 quite so good for your bank balance? Prices vary but tend to come in at just under £3 per sandwich (with no drink or snack included). Compared to other meal deals on offer, this is definitely not the best value for money. Maybe one to save just for treat day.


Located just a few doors down from Bakery 164, in my opinion this sandwich shop is a little-known gem. The meal deal costs £3.30 and gives you a huge choice of paninis and sandwiches, a bag of Walkers crisps and a drink. This may be a little more expensive than Tesco but you get a hot sandwich, which for me, is definitely worth that tiny extra 30p. Although it does get busy in the middle of the day, the queues are nothing on Tesco or Bakery 164, so ideal if you’re in a bit of a hurry to your next lecture.

Salad Box

Another popular option is Salad Box, tucked away just opposite Essentials in the union. If you’ve had a particularly heavy weekend, a salad here may seem the perfect way to rid yourself of some of your fast food guilt. However, Salad Box is not so kind to your wallet. A salad or wrap costs £3.65 – the most expensive lunch I found. Sure, they may have some tempting toppings but when far cheaper salads are on offer in Tesco, this is definitely not your most budget-friendly option.


There is a plethora of different meal deals to choose from in our beloved union shop. The most budget friendly is Essentials’ own meal deal, costing just £2.39. However, it must be said that the sandwiches did look particularly unappetizing. My favourite deal on offer was from Urban Eat for £3.29. It must be said, this decision was mainly based on the punny flavour names, eg, ‘shabby chic pea’ or ‘feta the better’ but aside from that, they did look like pretty delicious.

By the end of my tour, I felt like I’d become an absolute expert in the sandwiches of Leeds University. So which is the ultimate best, budget-friendly sandwich to get you through a day at uni? My two clear favourites were Ciabatta and Essentials – both offer tasty sandwiches at a very low price.

By Alice Green

Leave a Reply