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There's more to food than instant noodles
PlanningPlan your meals for the week before you go shopping. That way, you don't buy extra stuff that you don't need. Write down everything that's needed for the coming week's meals and make your shopping list. Most importantly, stick to it when you're at the supermarket.
Lunches and SnacksFor a cheap hot meal, try $3 lunches, served every day from 12 - 2pm at OUSA Recreation Centre. They're filling, vegetarian, healthy and absolutely delicious. If you need a cheap way to up your veggie intake AND save money, this is the easiest way to do it. You can also save time and money by making extra food at dinner and having the leftovers for lunch. Of course, there's no point making extra food if you can't store it or won't use it. The amount you spend on snacks can quickly add up. If you're tempted to snack during the day, prepare in advance by packing stuff like dried fruit, nuts and seeds. Or, if you've got the time (and ability), why not dabble in home baking? Your cookies will probably be much cheaper and will be free of additives and other scary things. Yum!
ShoppingBuy in bulk - but carefully. Sometimes it's cheaper to buy in bulk, but sometimes the bulk bins are a cleverly disguised rip-off. Check value for money by dividing the weight of the product by its price (and don't be embarrassed about taking your calculator to the supermarket - lots of students do it). Remember, you have to be able to store what you buy, and be able to use it before it goes off.
On Special! How can I lose?! Don't be tempted to buy something just because it's on special. It's not a bargain if you don't really want/need 10,000 plastic forks.
The New World supermarkets (Centre City and Gardens) are pretty nice to students. They have a courtesy shuttle van that will take you and your shopping home if you've spent over $50
Centre City NW shuttle times: Mon-Wed 6-9pm; Sun 10am-7pm
Gardies NW shuttle times: Mon 4-8pm; Sun 12-8pm
Buy your fruit and veg on campus from Hinton's Fruit and Veg stall outside the OUSA Main Office, near Union Grill. Convenient, fresh and cheap! Or go to the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. They sell pretty much everything. If you can stumble out of bed and make it before midday, you can get a coffee there, some breakfast (mmmm, crepes and bacon butties), stop and watch the buskers, pick up your fruit and veg and head home feeling satisfied that you have real fresh produce (and are helping local business).
Healthy Eating for Poor StudentsYou don't have to be sickly and malnourished just because you're a student. You can eat healthily, you just have to be smart and learn a few tricks.
- Veggies are generally cheaper than meat so bulk out that stir-fry with a bit more broccoli and a little less beef.
- Fresh is best but frozen and tinned are good too! Budget tinned tomatoes are a students' best friend, as are Pam's mixed veggies.
- Learn to love mince (unless you're a veggo). It's cheap and versatile! It can be very fatty so you don't need to use much oil (if any) when cooking mince.
- Drink water. It's free! Juice is full of sugar anyway. After a while you won't even miss it.
- Jazz up your 2 minute noodles with an egg! Or use those cheap noodles as a base for your healthy stir-fry.
- Too many takeaways will transfer the fat from your wallet to your arse.
-Coffee can be your best friend but your wallet's worst nightmare. You'll pay $3-4 for a coffee on campus, which quickly adds up. You can get a whole lunch for that price! Buying coffee for home is much cheaper. If a cup at brekky isn't cutting the mustard, bring coffee from home in a thermos!
-Educate yourself! Find some good cookbooks or recipes online. Think about your diet and whether you're getting all the nutrients you need for those long study sessions. Your body is a temple and what-not.
- Eat at your friends house
- And last but not least, watch out for alcohol. It kills off the brain cells you are trying to cultivate and it's high in sugar.