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Survival Guide: How to Plan Your Weekly Food Shop

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bristol chapter.

Palms sweating, heart racing, that nauseous feeling starts to set in; it’s Saturday morning and time for the weekly food shop. The thought of traipsing up and down those aisles fills me with dread but the fridge is empty and the cupboards are bare so I drag myself out of bed and head to the shops.  

Back at home I used to love tagging along with my Mum to the supermarket in the hope that I would be able to sneak in that extra jar of chocolate spread or grab a pastry from the bakery section, but now I shiver at the thought of it. Since arriving at university one of the biggest dilemmas I’ve faced has been deciding what to buy and I often end up panic shopping, returning home with three courgettes, a leek and four tins of chopped tomatoes (although the tomatoes did come in very handy for a bolognese sauce!) Luckily, there is a solution to these problems, and I’ve been fortunate to discover it early: meal planning.

Meal planning can be difficult but I have found it helpful to jot down a rough idea of things I fancy for the week ahead to ensure that I don’t have cupboards full of random ingredients and, even better, I don’t run out of rice in the middle of cooking up a curry. I also discuss my plans with my flatmates, just in case there is a meal we all like and so that I can factor in nights and meals out (fish and chip Fridays have become a bit of a favourite). This sociable side of food is a perfect way to take the stress out of your weekly shop and it can even become a way of connecting with those around you. Gather ideas from what other people are having and share recipes with each other too. We all find it hard to begin with but over time that big, orange Sainsbury’s logo will start to seem less and less daunting and you won’t wake up full of dread on a Saturday morning. 

But what if you’re someone who doesn’t like to feel prescribed to a weekly plan or just prefers to be more spontaneous? My flatmate suggested the very simple idea of doing multiple food shops in a week. This works perfectly given how conveniently placed supermarkets are in relation to campus and it solves another issue – fruit and veg. Instead of buying a large bunch of bananas on a Saturday, only for them to all ripen at exactly the same time and proceed to turn brown, mushy and inedible, go to the shops every few days and top up on your stock. Another solution is to go for frozen goods, such as spinach, which will keep far longer than a fresh bag (which always seems to go off within the first 48 hours of purchase). Similarly, tinned items such as peas last well in the cupboard and can be heated up quickly after a day of lectures or before a night out. They are also cheap, especially if you go for own-brand deals.

Ultimately, the weekly food shop isn’t something that should cause you as much stress as it initially did for me. It is hard adjusting to student living and budgets, but this doesn’t mean that you should have to compromise on what you eat. If in doubt remember to shop little and often, and always keep a tin of baked beans in your cupboard just in case! You don’t need to be cooking extravagant dishes every night so it’s time to leave these worries behind and start enjoying your life as a near broke, somewhat malnourished, and forever sleep-deprived student. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Kashvi Cox

Bristol '26

Hello, my name is Kashvi and I am an English undergraduate at the University of Bristol. This is my second year writing for Her Campus. Outside of my studies I love to dance, run and do anything sporty! I am also keen to get into the world of journalism and start to establish my own personal style of writing.