“Your talent is a seed; cultivate it, and in no time, you will harvest successMatshona Dhliwayo, Zimbabwean philosopher

How to manage a food budget while at University in Ireland

Ireland is an island nation located in Europe famous for its culture the world over. Ireland is a favourite study destination for African students. If you love literature, history, and nature, Ireland should be your number one choice for your undergraduate or graduate degree. 

The Irish people are proud of their culture and work hard to preserve it. Ireland is an Anglophone country making it an attractive option for African students who already speak English and those who want to speak it well. 

Ireland is home to many international students from other parts of the world too. Most of the students that study in Ireland come from the European Union, Switzerland, the UK, and North America. Tuition fees in Ireland are reasonable too compared to other parts of the world.

Ireland, nicknamed “the land of saints and scholars,” has produced some Nobel Laureates like William C. Campbell Physiology or Medicine, 2015  and John Hume who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998.

A reasonable food budget for a student depends on dietary needs and preference, but a strict rule of thumb for a basic thrifty but nutritious grocery budget is 100 euros. Here are some suggestions that will enable you to manage your budget without breaking a bank. 

  • Meal prep is essential. Planning your meals will help you to manage your money more effectively. Knowing what you are going to eat will mean you won’t buy food unnecessarily. Changing your food to make it healthy but tasty is a great option too. 
  • Find new recipes, separate your meals into grab and go portions to be refrigerated or frozen and eat it next week. Food containers can be found in supermarkets, so make use of them.  Do not forget to put dates on the storage bags or tins so your food won’t go bad before you eat it.
  • Shop for reduced items. When product prices drop prices, you should seize the moment and buy in bulk. Buying reduced items helps to cut costs leaving you with more money to spend. Check for reduced products in supermarkets and local shops.
  • Always set a budget before heading to the grocery store. Deciding how much you would like to spend before leaving the house is essential. It prevents you from overspending. Another clever way to help you stick to your budget is by only taking cash to the store.
  • Some shops even have products that they sell to students at student discounts. Be on the lookout for that.
  • Ireland allows its students to work part-time. It is a good idea to take advantage of this to supplement your student budget.
  • Come up with a shopping list and stick to it. To avoid impulse buying, you need a shopping list and don’t deviate from it.
  • Don’t buy anything that isn’t on your shopping list.  Some stores have items at a discount, but that doesn’t mean you have to get them if you don’t need them. Remember to stick to your shopping list.
  • Buy store brands where possible the quality is the same, and you save money.
  • Buy in bulk if you are sharing an apartment with fellow students. Asian supermarkets often offer good value. Things that have a more extended shelf, like rice and flour, are better bought in bulk. Never stockpile fresh ingredients like milk.
  • Shop by season. Items are cheaper when they are in season. There is more supply than demand.
  • Avoid snack-size packages and ready-cooked items. These items are costly. The whole point of grocery shopping is to help you save money and indulge in a well-balanced diet.
  • Avoid buying food in convenience stores as they are costly.
  • Avoid eating out as it is costly in the long run. Try as much as you can to cook your food.
  • If you are going to use fresh herbs, you can grow your own.
  • Shop around your home area to save on transport.
  • Always know where to buy groceries. Find out about the local supermarkets so you can easily compare prices and quality. Local supermarkets offer good quality food at a lower price. Other affordable places and very good quality include German discount supermarkets, Aldi and Lidl.
  • Bring your packed lunch to school. You can think this is more childish, but it’s an excellent way to save money. Bringing your meal is no doubt the best way to spend less.
  • When packing your meals, ensure to have a healthy meal. You can find salad containers at flying Tiger in Dublin.
  • You may also choose to dave on the cost of living by joining forces with your roommates to buy food in bulk.
  • Buy a leap card which happens to be cheaper for students than paying cash every time you need to use public transport.
  • Don’t waste your food. If you make a considerable amount, don’t bin it. You can use it the next day. You will save a load of money just by saving the remaining food.
  • Don’t shop on an empty stomach. Shopping when hungry will make you buy more food than you would have. Most supermarkets have sneaky tactics to make you buy more. Strolling past delicious snacks when you are hungry will most likely attract you to buy them.