Uni food essentials: Master the shopping list for your student accommodation

Most students have a budget of some sort to stick to – and some students cook and eat meals together to save money. But how does the food shop work and should you shop together?

What should be in your uni shopping list?

There’s plenty of tasty food you can buy on a budget. Especially if you’re flexible and you look out for bargains and deals.

See which supermarkets are near your accommodation (you can use our accommodation search to check where you might be) and what’s good value at each one. You could always shop at one of them for most things, but nip into another to get their bargains.

And if there are a few simple meals you like to have every week or so, have a look at ways you can vary them. That way you can see what ingredients are on offer each time you go food shopping. Like spaghetti bolognese for example. It might not be as authentic without beef mince, but it’s still tasty with any kind of meat or vegan mince – so you could just get whichever’s on offer.


1. Student food shopping list

Try to think about meals rather than just snacks – your money will go way further. Plus, if you’re not that into cooking, think about what’s easy, tasty and good value.

  • Breakfast – cereal and milk, toast, porridge, yoghurt
  • Bread and eggs – sandwiches, omelettes, scrambled egg on toast
  • Pasta and rice – good with any sauce, veggies, meat or alternatives
  • Stir fry noodles – with beansprouts and veggies
  • Budget flavours – try mixed herbs, smoked paprika, garlic and chilli
  • Your five a day – fruit and veg to keep freshers’ flu away

2. House essentials

It’s no good having some tasty bargains in if all your plates are dirty and there’s no washing up liquid. Before you go for your food shop, check if you have these.

  • Washing up liquid and cloth/scourer/brush
  • Hand soap
  • Bin bags
  • Toilet roll

3. Do your shop solo or split it with your housemates?

If you’ve got similar tastes and appetites, you might find it easier to do a big shop together and split the cost equally. Or you might decide to buy food separately and just split the house essentials like hand soap.

Either way you could still share some of the cooking – it’s a great idea to make a meal for your housemates every now and again. Maybe each of you cooks a meal for everyone once week or once a month, and otherwise you keep your food separate?

But what if you each buy your own food and you can’t remember whose is whose? In that case you might get into labelling-your-food-in-the-fridge territory – that’s ok, as long as you aim to have an easy-going, considerate household you’ll have no problems.

Want more tips on mastering your uni food shop?

Have a chat with current students to see how they do their shopping. Ask them what the mains things are that they forget. It’s no fun having to go back to the shop multiple times a day.

Ready to go?

Check out our university packing list, and advice on settling in to your student accommodation

Or start your student accommodation search here