Student food budget: How much is enough? And top tips for spending less

How much do you need for a student food budget? We take a look at just how much is enough!

student food budget 1

When that student loan payment hits your bank account for a brief few minutes it feels like you’re the richest person around.

But quickly comes the rent, bills, perhaps paying off payday online lender loan and before you know it you’re dangerously close to going into the red.

When it comes to budgeting at University, how much can you live on?

Student food budget: How much do you need?

Let’s start with a worse case scenario. Assuming you’ve access to water (to drink!) then £5 will provide more than enough instant noodles to keep you alive, if providing a rather boring and unhealthy diet.

But you don’t need much more to enjoy some actual food – you can eat for just £10 a week if you buy wisely and carefully plan meals well ahead of time. And no, you won’t be living off beans on toast.

At £20 or so per week your student food budget can actually provide you with some very nice, healthy and varied meals.

And at £30 or over you should consider yourself pretty privileged.

So much do you need? We’d say £15-25 per week is enough to give you a nice, balanced and varied diet – if you put the effort in. More than that and you really shouldn’t have any problems.

How to spend your student food budget

Of course, it’s pretty easy coming up with a number but just how do you spend it?

Cook yourself and PLAN

Ready meals are expensive. Learn to cook easy student recipes yourself and plan your meals ahead of time. Take an hour out each week to plan roughly your meals for the next seven days. Pick meals that share common ingredients to save money. For example, a pack of mince can be used to make Shepherd’s pie, burgers, lasagna, bolognese, chilli con carne, meatballs and even curry.

Use budget supermarkets

Avoid Waitrose and use Aldi and Lidl for good deals. Iceland is also great for, well, freezer stuff.

Buy in bulk (and freeze)

Gram for gram things generally get cheaper the more you buy, so it’s good to invest in food when you have the money for long term savings. This is especially true with meat which you can easily cut up and prepare before freezing until you want to cook with it. You can also freeze a load of other stuff such as eggs, milk and bread.

Go veggie

Meat is ultimately pretty expensive and can be substituted in many cases for cheaper alternatives. Vegetarian meats are often just as costly, so trying beans, quinoa, eggs and other non-meat proteins is the way to go.

Buy and cook together

Don’t just buy in bulk but cook in bulk too and share the costs. The bigger the meal you make the more you’ll each save as the cost per serving will go down, therefore every one wins! Big, cheap and homemade dishes like lasagna, toad in the hole and pasta bakes are great things to make and share.

Avoid eating out and on the go

Fast and pre-packaged food is expensive so avoid it where you can. Ready made sandwiches are one of the biggest food rip odds with more than £2 for a couple of slices of bread and a bit of filling. Make your own packed lunches! > 12 cheap and easy student lunch ideas for University


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