International Student Life in London: Food shopping

So today i’ll be sharing how i’ve approached buying food and some hacks i’ve learned in my time here to make your money go further. So in London, eating out even for things which (probably) should be cheap, like burgers, is expensive. A burger with fries is looking to cost you at least £11 which is ridiculous. That being said though, if you buy ingredients and cook for yourself its really affordable – of course it involves a lot more effort and isn’t particularly exciting, but you will save so much money if you do.

So what i did, was set aside about £20 a week for my weekly shop – i would spend between £15-£20. It doesn’t sound like much, but if you know were to go and plan out what you want to cook it is definitely possible. Some weeks i would spend well under, others i would spend more, but overall i would be left with a few pounds each week. This left over money i used to grab a pint, a coffee, or a £3 Tesco meal deal for lunch, or pool it over the month to eat out once (or more regularly if i had saved more than expected in a month). Eating at home and cooking can be boring, so i felt like i had to reward myself every now and then so i could keep going with it – obviously not a huge reward but it worked for me.

So where should you go to shop? Head to a Tesco Metro if you’re in London – Tesco is the biggest supermarket chain in the UK, and have a range of different sized stores. In London, the biggest you will probably find is Tesco Metro – but of course if you’re moving here do your research as there are bigger ones in different parts of London. In central London the lower-priced shops like Lidl and Aldi just don’t exist, so for price, range and convenience Tesco is the way to go.

I would strongly recommend signing up for a tesco clubcard – you earn points for every £ you spend and each quarter you receive coupons which you can use to subsidise future shops. So for example, i had acquired 750 points over a quarter and recieved £7.50 voucher on my shopping for a week which is a massive saving  given my budget for the week was £20. What i also did to maximise my points, which can be done by anyone if you have people come and visit you, is to give them an extra card. I had four visitors come and combined they earned me nearly 400 points across the time they were here, which made a big difference.

JT

 

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