Accepting a university admission offer equals accepting the perspective of several years of living on a shoestring budget.
And while spending your student loans on social life rather than food may be hard to avoid, with a dose of creativity and common sense, you don’t have to face a kitchen of empty cupboards. Follow these simple kitchen life-hacks that will end your kitchen nightmares, and help you keep some cash in your pocket.
Although improving your eco-friendly kitchen habits is a long-term investment, this time it is different type of recycling that saves your pennies. Does a Wednesday chilli con carne after a Tuesday spag-bol lunch in a school canteen sound familiar? Follow the same trick, and use your creativity to prepare your next day lunch out of your dinner leftovers. Buying your own lunch every day is not a great penny saver.
2. Shopping lists
How many times have we come back from a shopping adventure to find that we have bought another can of tomatoes in addition to the ones already decorating the cupboard shelf? Keep a shopping list on your fridge door, and take a note of ‘to-buy’ ingredients as you use them up. Alternatively, use phone apps such as Out of Milk or Buy me a Pie to help you keep an eye on your shopping habits.
3. Reorganise your fridge
Have you ever found a saggy head of lettuce rotting somewhere at the bottom of the vegetable drawer of your fridge? If so, it’s time for some serious reorganisation. Put the food due to go off first right where you can see it in your fridge, and your food wasting habits will end once and for all.
4. ‘Best before’ is overrated!
If it smells like a cucumber, and it looks like a cucumber…then don’t hesitate to eat it, even after the ‘best before’ date expires. Most products are still fine even after the ‘best before’ critical period, but use your senses (literally!) to avoid nasty surprises.
5. Share the joy of cooking
Nothing saves as much time and money in the student kitchen as sharing the duties. If you live with flatmates, take turns to prepare daily meals, and share daily products. If you live alone, a weekly cook up arrangement with friends will take the kitchen weight off your shoulders.
6. The ‘use it all’ game
To avoid buying excess food, use your culinary creativity, and play the ‘use it all’ game. The point is to create a meal out of the gems hidden in your kitchen cupboards. As the products get used up, the cooking gets tougher! Whoever gives up, cooks for the whole week!
7. Plant your own
While university flats and dorms usually occupy the urban landscape, you really don’t need a plot of land to grow your own greens. Watercress, fresh herbs, and even tomatoes can be grown in the serenity of your apartment. All you need to do is invest in a set of pots, and you’re ready to turn into an urban gardener.