When you lived at home, it was easy to take things for granted – especially your parents’ home cooking! However, at university, you have to pay for (and cook) your own food.
With culinary skills in short supply and no steady income, being able to afford the weekly food shop and whip up tasty meals may seem like a challenge – but this needn’t be the case.
Here Caro Lettings offer a few tips to help you manage your money better whilst staying at student accommodation in Liverpool. We’ll also be sharing some cheap and cheerful student recipes in case you’re lacking inspiration!
Top tips for doing the food shop on a budget
When you find yourself in the ‘special buys’ aisle at the supermarket, resisting the temptation to buy snacks and various other items can be difficult.
There are a number of ways you can limit your spending when shopping for food, including:
- Plan your meals – taking time to sit down and write a menu for the week is a great idea. Not only will it prevent you from buying items that you don’t need and wasting them, but it’ll save you money too.
- Check the price – before you put something in your basket or trolley, look closely at the price label. You might have paid less for it last week or you may be able to get it cheaper elsewhere. It’s worth using price comparison websites to help you suss out which shop is offering the best price. And don’t forget cheaper chains, such as Aldi and Lidl.
- Bulk buy – there are huge cash savings to be had from buying certain items in bulk. When you’re writing your shopping list, check if there’s anything your housemates need or any household items that you share (i.e. toilet rolls, washing up liquid, rubber gloves, bin bags, etc).
- Opt for own-brands – instead of picking up Pot Noodles, Heinz Beans and Walkers crisps, consider switching to the supermarket’s own-brand versions. These products are usually available for a fraction of the cost and taste just as good – if not better.
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach – finding the time to do the weekly shop between lectures and social plans is never easy. However, the best time to go food shopping is when you’ve eaten, as your tummy won’t be rumbling and you won’t be tempted to buy snacks to curb pangs of hunger.
- Take advantage of loyalty cards – most major supermarkets have their own loyalty cards and point schemes – i.e. Tesco’s Clubcard and the Nectar card at Sainsbury’s. These are free to register for and provide you with loads of discounts and money off coupons, which is great for savvy students on a budget!
3 cheap and easy recipes for students
When you’ve had a busy day of studying, or you only get home late from the library, you might be tempted to have a cheeky takeaway delivered to your student accommodation in Liverpool.
As tasty as they are, takeaways can eat away at your bank balance and, let’s face it, too many won’t benefit your health.
Fortunately, there are plenty of simple meals you can make within minutes – using the ingredients you already have in the cupboard or items in the fridge that are due to go out of date.
Here are just some of our favourites:
1. Vegetable stir fry
This is by far one of the easiest dishes you can make at your uni digs.
All you need is a large frying pan (or wok if you’ve got one), some olive oil, a packet of egg noodles, fresh vegetables and soy sauce. You can also add thinly sliced chicken thighs or diced beef to your stir fry if you’d like to incorporate some protein.
Simply heat the oil in the pan and fry the meat until browned all over. Then add peppers and any other vegetables to the mix, and stir for a couple of minutes with your wooden spoon.
Stir in the soy sauce and continue to cook everything in the pan on medium heat, until all your ingredients are fully cooked. You can then add the noodles, stir and plate up.
2. Sausage casserole
Do you love Italian cuisine? Instead of visiting your favourite restaurant, why not have a go at making your own spicy casserole?
The chances are you’ll have most of the ingredients in the kitchen already – but it’s worth double-checking before you head to the shop. You’ll need olive oil, red onion, garlic, chilli, tomatoes, salt and pepper for the tomato sauce, as well as cannellini beans and 12 hearty sausages.
To make the sauce, start by heating the oil in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic and chilli, taking care not to burn the garlic.
After that, add the tomatoes to the pan, reduce the heat and simmer. Stir regularly until the sauce thickens up (this can take approximately 50 minutes). In the meantime, pop the cannellini beans in a large saucepan and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil and skim off the scum.
For the sausages, heat oil in a frying pan and add the sausages to brown them all over. Once cooked, you can add them and the beans to your homemade tomato sauce. Give it a good stir and allow to cook for a further 15 minutes. By then, the beans should be soft and tender and the sauce nice and thick – ready to season with salt and pepper.
3. Creamy broccoli pasta
Whether you’re looking for something quick to make for your packed lunch or your evening meal, you can’t beat a pasta dish.
Pasta is a staple in most students’ cupboards. It’s one of those foods that go with almost anything – from poultry such as meat and fish to vegetables and cheese. It’s also super affordable and easy to cook – just add water to a pan and bring it to a boil.
A delicious yet nutritional option would be to combine pasta with broccoli, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, garlic and cream cheese. If you really wanted, you could add a pinch of chilli flakes to give your dish an extra kick, as well as salt and pepper for seasoning.
The ingredients required for creamy broccoli pasta can be easily picked up at the local supermarket and, in most cases, you can use the leftovers to create a salad (or another pasta dish).
These are just 3 simple recipes you can try at your student accommodation in Liverpool – there are of course many more to choose from.
The good news is, all our student houses have a shared kitchen with an eating area. Perfect for sit-down meals with your housemates. You’ll also find an electric oven and hob, a fridge, freezer, microwave, kettle and toaster, meaning you should have no issue cooking delicious (and affordable) meals at uni.
To find out more about the facilities available at our Liverpool student accommodation, give us a call on 0800 008 7888.
Do you spend a lot of your time problem solving, daydreaming or overthinking? Perhaps you regularly experience negative or random thoughts? Or maybe you’re stressed about exams or meeting assignment deadlines?
Practicing mindfulness can help you to direct your attention away from this kind of thinking and, instead, focus on the here and now.
Most people have heard of or read about mindfulness meditation, and are aware of the benefits it can bring. However, not many know how to implement it into their daily routine.
Here we take a closer look at what it involves and what Caro students can do to be more mindful while staying at student accommodation in Liverpool.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that allows you to focus your thoughts and feelings in the moment, with no interpretation or judgment.
Studies suggest that taking time to meditate can effectively improve conditions, such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain and hypertension (high blood pressure). It’s also believed to help fibromyalgia and asthma sufferers.
There are several ways to practice mindfulness, including breathing exercises and guided imagery, that help to ease the body and mind, which we’ll look at in more detail below.
How to be more mindful
#1 Find local yoga studios
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that brings your attention to the present moment, where you are and what you’re doing. Yoga, on the other hand, is a spiritual science that many people practice to maintain their physical health and fitness, as well as their overall well-being.
Though they are two very different exercises, yoga and mindfulness go hand in hand – easing the mind and teaching you to tune into your breathing whilst paying close attention to how your body feels.
Combining mindfulness with yoga classes will help you to sleep better too. And the good news is, there are several yoga studies dotted around the city centre, including Liverpool Yoga Studios in The Focus Building on Great Crosshall Street and Eleven Eleven Yoga Studio on Cook Street.
#2 Practice breathing exercises
Whenever you have negative thoughts, try and focus on your breathing. Sitting down, taking a big deep breath, closing your eyes and counting to ten, can all help.
You’ll find plenty of breathing methods online and on health and fitness apps, including (but not limited to) Fitbit. These include guided exercises that allow you to relax your mind and ease your woes.
In addition to these simple techniques, you may also consider doing structured mindfulness exercises, such as body scan meditation. This is where you lie on your back, with your arms and legs at your side and your palms facing upwards, and focus your attention on each part of the body – starting from your head and working your way down to your toes.
Sitting meditation is another method that’s easy to fit into your hectic schedule. All you need to do is make sure you’re sitting comfortably with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Allow your hands to fall naturally upon your lap. Then, breathing in through the nose, concentrate on the movement of your breath.
Walking is not only good for your health but good for your mind too. Whether you choose to listen to mindfulness podcasts, music or your friends on the move, make sure you’re aware of your breathing.
#3 Give yourself time to relax
After spending the day revising for an exam, it’s important to reward yourself. You could watch a movie, have a pamper, treat yourself to a takeaway or get an early night – anything to take your mind off your studies.
Our student accommodation in Liverpool is equipped with everything you need to feel right at home.
Although you could visit your local gym and join in with fitness classes, you can easily roll out your yoga mat and follow online tutorials in your bedroom. On top of this, there’s ample space to practice meditation in the morning before uni, to set you up for the day ahead. And when it’s time to hit the hay, you can be sure you’ll get a blissful night’s sleep at our student accommodation – all our rooms come with a large, comfy bed.
To find out more about our accommodation, or to arrange a viewing, call 0800 008 7888.