How can I budget for food carefully in Oxford? Watch

Ruminidas
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I'm going to be living in Oxford for four months as a professional. I've always struggled with minimising the costs of food, in particular avoiding eating out. I know Oxford is quite expensive as I've lived there for six weeks last year. I'd love to know where the best places for cheap groceries are in Oxford. And please let me know if you have tips for budgeting sensibly in Oxford (both for food and in general.)
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DrawTheLine
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(Original post by Ruminidas)
I'm going to be living in Oxford for four months as a professional. I've always struggled with minimising the costs of food, in particular avoiding eating out. I know Oxford is quite expensive as I've lived there for six weeks last year. I'd love to know where the best places for cheap groceries are in Oxford. And please let me know if you have tips for budgeting sensibly in Oxford (both for food and in general.)
I can't speak for Oxford, however I can for another large city. I shop at Lidl and Aldi for 95% of my shopping. I buy own brand things (a few exceptions like Nutella and supernoodles) and I never eat out, except for on a special occasion like a birthday (or unless someone else is paying!). I also make meal plans for the week ahead. On a Sunday I will plan out my meals for the week, normally making 2 or 3 meals and making 3 or 4 portions per meal. For example, I will make a lasagna on Monday and eat it on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for dinner. Then on Friday I will make a curry and eat that on Saturday and Sunday. For lunches, I buy from my students' union using my bursary which greatly helps, or alternatively I make cheap meals like eggs on toast, supernoodles, tinned soups etc.

I highly recommend batch cooking and meal planning. You can buy student cookbooks as well because they include cheap recipes - I recommend the 5th edition Nosh student cookbook. It's written by a mum of students and only includes ingredients and equipment the typical student has, as well as the price per portion of the meals. Really handy.

By meal planning, you ensure you only buy what you will use, minimising the money you waste on food you end up throwing out.

Good luck!
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Kiki09
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Are you going to be based in the centre of town? Groceries from the central shops will generally be more limited and pricier because it is mainly the express and convenience branches of the supermarkets. Cowley Road has convenience type shops and non-English food shops. There is an aldi down Botley road which would be cheaper than the central shops and can be reached by bus. If you can make it out to the ring road (would be a bus and a walk if you don't have a car) then you can find a lidl near the Cowley mini car plant and a big tescos- there is also an aldi off the ring road between Cowley and Headington but not sure how accessible that is by bus.

Main tip on budgeting would be to head out from the centre towards to where it is less touristy! Cowley, Templars Square, Headington (though that is pricey in places), Botley all have their own retail parks or parades of shops. They are also much less busy for doing your everyday shopping.
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Ruminidas
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Thanks, Aldi is a good shout, I'll be living near Botley Road!
(Original post by Kiki09)
Are you going to be based in the centre of town? Groceries from the central shops will generally be more limited and pricier because it is mainly the express and convenience branches of the supermarkets. Cowley Road has convenience type shops and non-English food shops. There is an aldi down Botley road which would be cheaper than the central shops and can be reached by bus. If you can make it out to the ring road (would be a bus and a walk if you don't have a car) then you can find a lidl near the Cowley mini car plant and a big tescos- there is also an aldi off the ring road between Cowley and Headington but not sure how accessible that is by bus.

Main tip on budgeting would be to head out from the centre towards to where it is less touristy! Cowley, Templars Square, Headington (though that is pricey in places), Botley all have their own retail parks or parades of shops. They are also much less busy for doing your everyday shopping.
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Ruminidas
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Hi, thank you so much for your response! That's what I'm hoping to do, plan out my meals in advance and save that way - I want to avoid eating out for lunch as I did that for four years of uni and it was seriously bad for money. Proper meal planning is something I have to get used to, but definitely something I should do.
(Original post by DrawTheLine)
I can't speak for Oxford, however I can for another large city. I shop at Lidl and Aldi for 95% of my shopping. I buy own brand things (a few exceptions like Nutella and supernoodles) and I never eat out, except for on a special occasion like a birthday (or unless someone else is paying!). I also make meal plans for the week ahead. On a Sunday I will plan out my meals for the week, normally making 2 or 3 meals and making 3 or 4 portions per meal. For example, I will make a lasagna on Monday and eat it on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for dinner. Then on Friday I will make a curry and eat that on Saturday and Sunday. For lunches, I buy from my students' union using my bursary which greatly helps, or alternatively I make cheap meals like eggs on toast, supernoodles, tinned soups etc.

I highly recommend batch cooking and meal planning. You can buy student cookbooks as well because they include cheap recipes - I recommend the 5th edition Nosh student cookbook. It's written by a mum of students and only includes ingredients and equipment the typical student has, as well as the price per portion of the meals. Really handy.

By meal planning, you ensure you only buy what you will use, minimising the money you waste on food you end up throwing out.

Good luck!
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nexttime
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I mean, all of the tips above absolutely pale in comparison with avoiding eating out. You can spend two weeks worth of food budget on one meal eating out at some of the restaurants in Oxford!
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