As we reach the end of the academic year, I’m willing to bet your student loan is on its last legs. That being said, there are some handy tips and tricks for us all to get our money’s worth on a budget. When it comes to food, being a broke student should never get in the way, so here’s a guide to how you can get cheap food at uni – everything you need to know.
1. Apps, apps and more apps
If you’re not the best cook, or struggle to find the effort to do a food shop, eating out is probably a regular activity for you. Luckily, it’s pretty common for a lot of restaurants and fast food places to give out special discounts and offers on their apps. So, get downloading!
A few of our favourite examples for new sign-ups to the app include:
- KFC – a free side or a soft drink
- Krispy Kreme – a free doughnut
- Taco Bell – a free crunchy taco
- Greggs – a free hot drink
There are plenty of rewards options you can check out as well, for example:
- KFC’s loyalty scheme, ‘The Colonel’s Club’, allows you to collect and save up chicken stamps to get free food and money off orders
- Costa’s loyalty cards are a must-have for tired students during deadline seasons
2. Student discounts
Student-friendly websites like these offer a huge range of discounts across the board – from food and drink to fashion. All you need is to sign up for an account using your student email and you’re set.
Their best current deals include 35% off Domino’s, 30% off Pizza Express between Sunday and Thursday and 20% off YO! Sushi.
3. Go as a mystery diner
Don’t worry, you can leave the fake moustache, sunglasses and trench coat disguise at home. Believe it or not, there are actually ways to get paid to visit restaurants as an undercover diner.
Many popular restaurants, like Wagamama and Leon, will employ you to help ensure the food and service are up to scratch. All you need to do is sign up online to a mystery dining firm, where you can upload receipts and reports to get reimbursed for your meal:
This one is by far one of our top options for getting cheap (or free) food at uni.
4. Grocery deliveries
Apps like Deliveroo, UberEats and Just Eat are renowned for robbing students of their hard-earned money and granted, we let them.
As convenient as they admittedly are, there are also many quick grocery delivery services tailored to student budgets that we’d recommend.
A testimony from a Gorillas user says it all:
“Hands down the best grocery delivery service I’ve ever used, friendly riders, super-fast, great prices & customer service is top-notch! 5/5 banana rating.”
Gorillas offer between £10 and £20 off your first order, as an added bonus.
Many popular supermarkets also offer online deliveries – perfect if you can split the cost between your housemates:
Asda – £40 minimum spend, 50p delivery
Iceland – Free delivery over £40
Aldi – £20 minimum spend
5. Shop smarter
Any seasoned bargain professional will be all too familiar with the reduced items aisle of any supermarket. Without a doubt, it should be your go-to as a student. After all, what more could you want than a £1 ready meal and 10p spring onions? You can check out our full guide on food shopping on a budget here.
Note: keep an eye on the expiry date, as most reduced items are on their last day of freshness. Though, as a student, realistically we can’t afford to be picky.
Last, but definitely not least, make sure you make the most of your and your friends’ birthdays by grabbing any freebies on offer.
Many restaurants will offer the birthday boy or girl a free dessert, a discount on their bill or a special offer to really make their day. Also, keep an eye on your emails for any newsletters; chances are they’ll send you a code for a birthday treat. Check out our full guide to getting free things on your birthday here.
- Greggs – free sweet treat of your choice
- Costa – free cake slice
- Lidl – free cookie
- Frankie & Benny’s – free main meal (when another main is bought)
So there you have it – your cheat code sheet to getting cheap food at uni. For more tricks of the trade, take a look at Savvy ways to get free or cheap food.