Ways To Avoid eating Out Of A Skip At Uni by Jack Shannon

You’re a student. You’re broke. You’re hungry. And your mum is probably 900 miles away turning your old room into a penguin sanctuary. But  never fear, because the SPG is here to help. Below are our top five tips to avoid every student’s nightmare- eating food out of the bins behind the local corner shop

The first thing to remember of course is that….

1) YOU ARE NOT YOUR MUM

Chances are your parents enjoy a significantly better standard of living at the moment than you do as a student. They probably have a car instead of a bus pass and might own their own home instead of sharing digs with a creepy guy who dresses in black and burns holes in your bread with a cigarette.

Consequently, when you first go shopping for yourself it might be tempting to get all the brands and products that you know and love. After all, that’s what mum buys. Chances are, mum was buying not just for herself, but for the rest of the family as well. You can’t afford to think like that. Remember, you are buying for yourself and on your own budget. There will be plenty of time for family sized jars of organic pesto hand rolled on the thighs of Peruvian albino snow leopards when you have made your millions. Until then, stick to the supermarket cheepo stuff, which reminds me….

2) HERBS ARE REALLY CHEAP AND A GREAT WAY OF ADDING FLAVOUR

Herbs and spices are not just for KFC. Anyone can add flavour to a dish by chucking on a few cheap, but delectable additions. At the very basic level, a handful of chopped up fried onion can make any crappy sauce taste better. Put in a teaspoon of mixed herbs and it’s almost as good as the stuff Lloyd Grossman flogs to horny middle aged housewives.

If there is a pound shop nearby, get yourself down there and get yourself a big-ass jar of mixed herbs for a quid. But be careful because…

3) POUND SHOPS ARE BARGAIN! (EXCEPT WHEN THEY’RE NOT… )

Pound shops are full of bargains. But remember, it’s only a bargain if you actually need it. These kinds of shop are great for things like kitchen gadgets, bacon, fancy dress for that novelty Pimps and Ho’s disco at the Student union, last minute Xmas presents etc. But although you can get a few bargains if your know where to look, beware brand name products. You can get a packet of Jammy Dodgers for only a quid! FANTASTIC! Buy you can get supermarket own brand ones for around 30p if you can get to a big supermarket.

4) GO TO A BIG SUPERMARKET

There will be a shop on campus, it will be expensive. There will be a local small shop. It will be expensive. There will be a lovely local shop selling organic, fair trade hummus staffed by a really good looking girl with pink hair and some strangely attractive piercings. It will be expensive.

If you want to buy things for a reasonable price, you need to get into town and you need to go to the big supermarket. Get on the bus. The price of a bus ticket will probably be a lot less then how much you will save if you do a big shop. If the bus doesn’t go there, then herd some mates together and split the cost of a taxi.

Go on a Sunday evening or Tuesday afternoon when all the good reduced stuff is on the shelves. But one last tip, and if you don’t listen to any of my other unsolicited advice, please, please PLEASE listen to this:

5) FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T GO SHOPPING WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY!

It’s probably a layover from our past as a hunter-gatherer society- when you’re hungry, go get some food. But when your stomach is empty, so is your brain. Going shopping when you’re hungry is the equivalent of getting blind drunk at the School Dayz Disco Nite in town after a messy break up. You’re not thinking clearly, you’re not as picky about what you put in your body and in the morning you will regret it bitterly and in the morning you will cry into your pillow and wonder what the hell that rash is.

Make a shopping list and stick to it. Put on a cheap black suit and some sunglasses and pretend to be a doorman. If it’s not on the list, it’s not coming in! (The trolley in this case is a nightclub. The bargains on offer that you pick up in this case are hot girls who are wearing trainers so they get in anyway. And I don’t know, the bog roll is a drunken investment banker? Not sure where I am going with this to be honest.)

When making your list, think meals. Make big batches that you can decant into individual portions, stick in the freezer and take out in the morning before lectures.

Remember, with a bit of forward planning, you too can live the student dream of NOT having to eat out of a bin. Or at the bare minimum, less often.

Jack Shannon is a former student, cook and author of The Book Of Streg
Follow him on Twitter: @Jack_Shannon

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