Buying food on a budget
By Frances Atkins. Frances is a MA Graduate currently working in London as a Content Writer. She has a keen interest in fiction and poetry, and uses her spare time to hone her writing skills.
If you are looking for a job or have just started an internship you are probably concerned about wasting money. One area where you can significantly save funds is your food budget. If you eat three meals and have a snack between lunch and dinner, the total cost can add up for a week.
With experience of being an intern, I find it useful to tackle food meal-by-meal. Here are my tips for saving:
● Bypass coffee shops completely. Their overpriced croissants and bagels look delicious but seriously lack value for money.
● Instead of blowing £3 on breakfast in the High Street, spend Sunday shopping in a supermarket. For the same money you could actually buy all you breakfasts for the week ahead.
● My top purchase would be slow-releasing energy cereals or porridge. Porridge sachets can be bought cheaply in packs of eight and will see you through to lunch without hunger pangs. They come in a variety of flavours – apple and cinnamon, blueberry etc. to stop you getting bored mid-week.
● Make your own lunch: in the morning prepare a sandwich or whatever you fancy, rather than paying someone else to do it for you.
● Bulk up your lunch time meal with fruit and salad – adding a banana is filling and compliments most lunches, all for just pennies.
● Ask anyone in HR what kitchen services they supply: it is common to be offered free hot drinks and use of a fridge and microwave, meaning you can enjoy fresh food and ready meals.
● Never buy individual snacks as the price is marked up.
● Suggest to colleagues or other interns that one person should bring in a treat for everyone one day a week. This will be socially rewarding and cut costs for everyone. Just make sure when it’s your day, you choose a snack everyone will like and check for allergies.
● My top tip would be to visit your local supermarket in the evening when baked goods have extreme price reductions. I have bought a triple chocolate muffin for a jaw-dropping 5p and saved it for work the next day.
● Choose meals you personally like and cook several portions at once. This saves money and time – you can freeze the portions, simply reheating them when you next want them. (Interning can be stressful and hard work, so evenings are precious time for relaxing, rather than hours spent cooking.)
● Alternatively, eat with friends or family to reduce money spent: cooking a meal for three or four and sharing the cost is an economical habit to get into.
● It is worth keeping an eye out for deals in-store. ‘3 for 2’, ‘buy one get one free’ etc.
● Stick to main courses and choose meals that will fill you up.
● Check online for voucher codes and special offers to save money at High Street restaurants.
● Remember tap water is available for free – you don’t want to buy an expensive drink and finish it too quickly because of thirst.
As you begin to cut down expenses I recommend recording all that you spend on food in a week and see what is superfluous. Just remember you are interning to gain experience and land yourself that paid graduate job so your budgeting won’t necessarily have to last!
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