Student Advice Service – Money Matters

News from the Student Advice Service at the University of Brighton

How to eat well on a tight budget

This guest blog has been written by Dani, one of the University’s Student Information Desk Advisers. This is a subject very close to Dani’s heart, having recently been a student here at Brighton with lived experience of living on a tight budget. This article brings together academic research, practical suggestions and local resources for you to consider and explore.

Recent research indicates that 91% of students in England are worried about the cost of living, with almost two-thirds (62%) reducing their food spending to cover other expenses.

It can be tough to manage your finances as a student, and with food shopping becoming one of the most significant expenses, it can be easy to rely on your student overdraft to get by.

But don’t worry, there are some tips and tricks that you can use to make the most of your money and ensure that you maintain a nutritious and balanced diet, even on a budget.

Changing Your Tastes

As someone who likes sticking to routines, I get how simple it is to buy your favourite branded products from the grocery store. But here’s a secret: the ingredients in those products are often identical to those in the store’s own-brand items, and sometimes they’re even better!

A recent study revealed that switching to a store’s own-brand products can save up to 30% on your total grocery bill. That’s a lot of savings to put toward other things like textbooks, outings with friends, or future financial investments.

So, next time you’re at the store, consider trying out some own-brand products. You might be surprised at how much money you can save without compromising on quality.

Compare Retailer Prices

With, you can easily compare prices across different stores and make an informed decision on your grocery shopping. The app allows you to find the cheapest deals for your weekly shop, all in one place. Simply search for the items you need, and the app will show you the prices at all 15 of the UK’s biggest stores.

Get to Know Your Surroundings

Familiarising yourself with the closing times of your local retailers can help you find quality items at reduced rates. In case your retailer doesn’t have a discounted goods aisle, you may find these tips from money-saving experts on when to find discounted goods particularly helpful.

Don’t forget, loyalty cards are also a great way of receiving discounted prices on some of your favourite items!

Consider Alternatives to Big Retailers

Local grocery stores and food markets often have competitive rates and discounts that can even beat the prices of big retailers, all whilst being sustainable!

One great example is the Open Market, which offers delicious groceries starting at just £1 per bowl. How’s that for a steal?

Using Apps and Incentives for Affordable Food

Sainsbury’s has recently launched its  ‘Taste Me, Don’t Waste Me’  £2 fruit and veg boxes that contain perfectly good produce that may not look perfect but is still edible.

Lidl has also joined the cause with their ‘Bargain Veg Box, making healthy food more affordable for everyone.

Food waste apps such as Too Good To Go and Olio are also fantastic resources for getting high-quality surplus food from top brands at a fraction of the price. Believe it or not, big brands such as Starbucks, Costa Coffee, and even Aldi have partnered with these apps to sell surplus food that would otherwise go to waste.

Free or Low-Cost Community Meals and Foodbanks

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Remember, there’s no shame in asking for assistance when you need it.

Food banks and community kitchens can be a valuable resource for those experiencing financial difficulty, providing free or low-cost food to those in need.

If you require more emergency support, find out how your community can help you.

You can also read a different article post dedicated to no-referral free and cheap local food provision 

Thank you for this excellent article Dani 🙂

Student Advice Service

budget mealsfoodshopping

Helen Abrahams • April 21, 2023

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