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Hello! I am Jaime from Colorado and on the MLit (Hons) English Programme here at BU. I have found out that eating out can be quite expensive in the UK! Fortunately, it is much cheaper to buy your own groceries and you can save a lot of money by cooking for yourself, which is a big step on your way to eating well!

Planning Your Meals

Most refrigerators and freezers are not very large, especially if you are in student accommodation, so your first step is to avoid buying in bulk. Also bear in mind that whatever you buy, you’ll have to walk/bus home with. Shops in the UK charge for bags, so it is a good idea to purchase (or bring with you) a few high-quality bags and take them with you to the supermarket.

The most important thing to know is that many food items have a short expiration time. Most bread loaves expire in just a few days. If you have flatmates, you can decide to share food and costs, but you can also freeze portions to save for later.

I would suggest buying no more than a week’s worth of meals. Plan what you will want to eat for the coming week and just get those items, ensuring that nothing goes to waste! If you get bored having the same items all the time, it is simple to rotate your choices.

Cooking at Home

Depending on where you are living, your cooking options may vary and this can play an important role in what you can cook. Most shared student flats have a microwave, hobs (stove top burners) and an oven (a stove); however, most studio flats do not have ovens. Instead they have a very small microwave/convection oven unit. You can still cook and bake, but it is quite different to having an actual stove. If you like to make a meal last for several days, check with your accommodation if slow cookers are allowed.

Where to shop

Tesco is higher priced than Aldi, Lidl, and ASDA, but their main stores have a wider option of international brands and varieties than other stores. If you live next to a Co-op, these are great places to buy immediate items. They are slightly higher priced, but are most often open 24 hours.

Eating healthily can be a challenge no matter where you live, but with a little planning and budgeting, it can be easier than you might expect!