How to save money on food in a big student house

Freddie Parker on 2 February 2022
A person deciding between two different green apples at a market

In a house filled with students, there's never enough time, space, or money to make the things you want for dinner.

Student houses with five or more can be chaotic, especially if there isn’t much fridge space. Part of the student experience is scraping together what funds you do have for those weekend motives. But there are things you can do to make food cheaper, particularly if you’re willing to make the effort of organising with your housemates.

Pool resources

There are some things everyone uses in a household. As you would with bin bags or toilet paper, you could buy large bags of onions or potatoes. As well as saving you money, it could also free up some much-needed space in your crowded student house. Start a fund for communal goods, which everyone contributes towards and is used to buy the big old bags of rice.

You can start this process by listing things that everyone uses at least once per week. Once you know what people are using regularly, you’re good to go. A little teamwork can make things stretch a long way.

Cook in bulk

If you have a knack for organisation, or you simply want to establish a just system in the household, you could make a dinner rota. This could be either a weekly or daily routine. On a set day, someone cooks for the household. 

It’s fewer meals for you to have to cater for yourself, and you might even get away with using the communal ingredients. It’s not just financially beneficial, but also socially. Form strong household relationships by having regular meals together.

If you aren't very good at portioning your food, why not lean into it? Make large batches of pasta sauce, curry, or chilli to name a few examples. These things keep for ages in the freezer, ideal for tough days when you don’t have the energy to cook. Some good Tupperware or food bags are solid investments for this reason.

Plan your treats

It’s important to treat yourself. One way to indulge without breaking the bank is to plan out when you’re going to have things like takeaway. Decide how frequently you can indulge yourself based on your cash flow, and stick to that. It’ll give you something to look forward to.

In larger households, you can take advantage of larger offers that takeaways might have. Subway, Domino’s, and Papa John’s all have offers that are great for big groups. Other local restaurants or takeaway chains may also have such offers, so it’s worth checking them out.

Do you have any food-related tips or tricks for living on a student budget? Join our panel, share your opinions, and get 1000 reward points for signing up.

Freddie Parker
Freddie Parker on 2 February 2022