Spend a penny, save a pound! – A guide to food shopping for freshers.

Whilst Freshers’ week can cost you a pretty penny purchasing tickets for the best events in town, it’s also a good time to start saving and becoming a little savvy when spending your student loan…Here at the Gryphon, we’ve got some tips on how you can make the most of your cash when it comes to food shopping. Whether you’re living on campus or further out from the city centre, we’ve got all the recommendations you’ll need to make the most of your student loan this Freshers’ week.

Top tips to live by:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask if a store has student discount and don’t go shopping on an empty stomach. It’s always good to shop around and compare prices before committing to purchasing anything. Whether you’re shopping at big brand stores or local grocery shops, it’s a sound idea to hunt for any extra perks retailers may be offering to students to beat the competition.

    Bergman Fitness
  2. Secondly, impulse buying is a no go: the morning after the heavy night before can leave you feeling worse for wear, particularly when you find out you’ve eaten all of your emergency food rations. This is the worst time to shop as you’re likely to impulse purchase the entire snack aisle, spending a week’s food budget on microwave meals and convenience food.
The Sun

To avoid overspending at the supermarket, make a list of the essentials you need and stick to it as closely as possible. Bargain hunting after 5pm is a great opportunity to find a good deal: during the evening before closing, big brand supermarkets offer discounts of up to 75% by marking perishable products with yellow reduction stickers, so be sure to look out for these. Currently, Morrisons is one of the only supermarkets that occasionally offers student discount, although it’s not always year-round. With a valid student ID and the code from the UNiDAYS app, Leeds students can often get a 10% discount off their food shop and it’s also good to download the app to browse other discounts available for cash-strapped students!

If you’re lucky enough to live on campus, take advantage of the independent cafés and stores on your doorstep. Bakery 164 is popular for students, offering reasonably priced, healthy fast food daily. And almost every Leeds student will reassure you that this is one you don’t want to miss out on.

Likewise, The Smoothie Company hidden opposite Parkinson Steps does a great range of freshly made sandwiches and smoothies…although some items can be pricey, the freshly made smoothie of the week is £2.50, a small price to pay for a heathy kick to revive you during Freshers’. For others living further out in the Tannery or Sentinal Towers, smaller convenience stores like Nisa or Tesco Express can sometimes be expensive, so we’d recommend considering online shopping to get the best deals online delivered straight to your door. Look out for the price promise guarantee on branded goods as supermarkets sometimes offer money-off vouchers if the comparable shop was cheaper elsewhere and if you split your delivery between you and your flatmates, you’re likely to save more on delivery costs.

Last but not least, it’s worth investing in a Refresh Card. Although you may begin the year with the best of intentions, inevitably there will be days when you just can’t face cooking anymore. With a Refresh card, you can get discounts off food on campus and if you’re a big tea or coffee drinker, there’s 10% off hot drinks and your 11th drink is always free! It’s a great way of guilt-free spending by collecting reward points to spend later – happy shopping!

Julia Constable 

Image: [Cafe 164]