Food shopping on a student budget



I've noticed that one big 'freak out' point of a student's life is food. Not eating it, being able to afford it. From my experience (although I get a lot of student loan), purchasing my food shop hasn't ever been a struggle for me but I know a lot of my friends do struggle with being able to afford food. It can be for whatever reason: not realising expenditure on other things, shops being more expensive than others, not that much student loan to begin with - this list is endless. Money makes me so anxious, in terms of spending so I'm always cautious when I hand over some coins, notes, or push my card into the machine. 

So today, I thought I would share with you my budgeting tips for food shopping as a student. Whether you're still rolling in student loan with money coming out of your ears, or watching the moths in your purse/wallet - this guide will be for you! As I'm writing this post, I'm also doing a food shopping. Ah, the irony.

1) Change up where you shop

Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, ASDA... Usual go to's, right? Try swapping where you shop. We all know where we stand in shops like that, but I've noticed that swapping where I did my food shopping has actually benefitted me so much. I used to food shop in Tesco (when I was shopping for 1) and a one week food shop costed me about £20-£25. Ouch, right? I wasn't even buying 'finest' stuff either, just your general things, and even value produce. 

I now shop in Iceland, Aldi and Home Bargains and this has really changed my food game a lot. Sure, they may be cheaper than the 'big' supermarkets, but my food shopping bills for a week now cost me about £10-£15 - big difference! I know that sometimes going to the bigger supermarkets can be more convenient, especially if you have to have a food shop delivered or have to lug it all in a taxi/on a bus, but try your best to change up where you shop. It could be saving you a couple of pounds!

2) Check out some markets

Before university, I never shopped in a market. I used to browse them a lot since when I was younger, my nan would take me. It's taken me until I was 19 to actually go and look properly, as well as make some purchases. Some stalls in markets (particularly butchers) may offer a student discount, or may do food bundles just for students. Take my local market for example, for £10, I can get 8 steaks. I know what you're thinking, "Those are going to be crappy cuts of meat", or "There must be something wrong with them". I kid you not, they have actually been the best steaks I've tasted. For that bundle, I got 2x pepper steaks, 2x minted lamb steaks, 2x rib eyes and 2x sirloins. Other deals I've seen have been getting a lot of different types of meat for decent prices, like a chicken bundle for £10, lots of gammon-thick cuts of bacon for £2 or something crazy like that, free items with purchases or every flavour on a chicken breast you can think of.

As well as this, if you're not a meat-lover or meat-eater, market vegetables are actually so good for price. For myself and my boyfriend to get: a bunch of carrots, 4 red peppers, a giant head of broccoli and 2 baking potatoes for definitely less than £4. If you bought all that in a supermarket, it might end up being a bit more pricey. P.S: You can also freeze your veggies and meat, but check online for how long!



3) Write a list before hand

This has been a benefit for me, as I know when I go food shopping and I don't have a 'framework' (if you will) about what to buy, I end up spending so much more than normal. This seems like a bit of common sense, but it does really help. When I've gone food shopping with a list, not only does it make it a cheaper shop for me, but also it saves time. I don't mind food shopping, if I'm honest. It doesn't bother me, I don't love it. I know some people cannot stand going and it actually is a chore, as opposed to being all about your choices and freewill. Also having a list makes me feel way more adult than just randomly picking things off the shelves/out freezers and saying "that'll do".

Having a list lets me plan out what food items are for when, as in lunches or dinners. I hate having a list in black penn where I have no idea what time of the day it'll be for. I know as students it's easy to just get food on campus, but buy one meal deal in my uni costs me about £3, which I can actually spend that money on dinners for 2 nights with lunches for a few days (yay for bread being cheap).

Writing a list doesn't need to be boring, make it easy to look at and fun! Write things in different colours for different meal times, separate things up into fresh, frozen, household and treats, use really cool paper - anything! I know sometimes lists can make people eyeroll, but it doesn't take much to start jotting ideas down for what you want to eat.

4) Refer to deals/websites before hand

I tend to sit down with food websites open (e.g. Iceland and Aldi websites) and go through their deals, as well as what is a good price before hand so I don't end up getting swamped and overwhelmed with confusion and uncertainty of what to buy. Having the website up as a guide really does help me quick plan what to have in the week and if I can't find a 'decent' price, then I'll quickly change it up with a few clicks of my mouse and the gears in my head moving.

Personally, I'm a bargain hunter when it comes to shopping (whether it be food related or not), so whenever I see a yellow label or a reduced sticker, I always have a little gander. My favourite place for deals is Iceland, as there's always a deal on something, and luckily for me, it's usually something I like. For example, 2 large chicago town pizzas for £5? YES PUH-LEASE. 

Cooking wise, I love making things from fresh. I love starting from scratch and making something really yummy (the chef in me is currently having their ego fluffed up, clearly). This also really makes myself proud as a person, as I'm achieving the ways of cooking, as opposed to shoving something in the oven from fresh or frozen - not that there's anything wrong with that at all! I wish I could cook from scratch all the time, but being a student makes that just a bit hard, since fresh ingredients (like chicken breasts as an example) can be more expensive.

5) Multi-buys are a great, but don't give into temptation

Sometimes in life, a multibuy can be great. Somethings they're not amazing, but most of the time, they're pretty decent. I tend to multi-buy with lunch items because it just makes it that bit cheaper and you get more for your money (state the obvious why don't you, Chloe?). Again, Iceland are good for their multi-buys, as I usually eat something small for my lunch, like a Birds Eye chicken fillet and putting it in a wrap/in bread, or making eggs (£1.60 for 20 eggs, that's pretty decent - thanks Iceland) on toast. 

Multi-buys are great for things like that, and I'd recommend looking up some ideas. Check up on websites for any deals, but don't force yourself into buying things on multi-buy. Sometimes things in multi-buys can be great, but other times they might not be as beneficial. Logically think if you really need what's on multi-buy, as you don't want to spend a pointless bit of money on something you may not really need.


6) Buy in bulk

If you're a pasta/rice lover, buying in bulk is a good idea. For my first year of uni, my mum bought me a 5kg bag of pasta and it lasted me the whole year and I still had loads left over. I find buying in bulk way easier and can save you money in the long run. Things that can be bought in bulk are: pasta, rice, toilet rolls, sponges, kitchen towel and more. As a student, pasta and rice tend to be the most popular foods eaten, and buying larger quantities are not only beneficial for money, but also for the fact you can do so much with them. You can use rice for basically anything you want, chinese dishes, mexican dishes, vegetarian dishes and for pasta, you have have it with different sauces, make pasta bakes, have spaghetti - both products have a lot of use. 

Pick up that 18 roll bag of toilet paper as opposed to the 4 pack, don't feel worried that someone is going to be watching and judging you for buying so many because in the end, you're the one that's going to be saving money.

7) Don't be a label snob

This one is going to be short and sweet, but I know some people turn up their noses are value products. In all honesty, value products are just as good as ones that aren't. I bought a lot of Tesco value vegetables (peas, sweetcorn, broccoli) and in all honesty, they're just vegetables. I know being cautious is a good thing, but a lot of the time value produce in terms of food aren't even that bad at all. I'm not saying to buy all your food items at the value price, but sometimes value foods aren't that bad, or as bad as you think.

Remember, student life isn't all instant noodles, takeaways and value foods!

What are your tips for budgeting as a student regarding food shopping? Let me know in the comments and let's have a discussion!



Disclaimer: Header image is not mine, it's a free stock photo!

Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @chloemtommo, Instagram: @chloetommo and Bloglovin.
Have an amazing day!

Treating yourself


'Treat yourself' - two words we hear in life and sometimes we go along with it, and other times we do not. Why is this? Is it due to the belief that perhaps we don't need or deserve it? Or is it due to the fact that we give into it easily? This post is going to look into the different ways we as individuals can treat ourselves, as well as different opinions on what constitutes as treating yourself.

Treating yourself can mean numerous of different things and the response can vary from person to person. Like I usually do when I want some other opinions, I took it to Twitter to ask my followers what their responses were to the question of: What are your definitions of treating yourself?




There are a lot of variety in what we see as treating ourselves is, but it mostly seems to be rewarding ourselves for our efforts with our stressful lives. If I was to give my answer, I'd say it would be gifting myself something I've been eyeing up for a while, which I wouldn't normally spend that much money on. In the past, I've gifted myself: an eyeshadow palette, some sweet treats, an expansion for The Sims (after getting over a crap load of stress was the reason for me doing this). The price of what I'd treat myself would vary between how much effort I've put into something (like an assignment for example), or how much stress I've been under. This doesn't mean I treat myself all the time, as I'm naturally a person who is prone to stress. I do it in moderation, but sometimes I will go a long while without treating myself.

Self-care vs Treating yourself - the same or completely different?

I took to Twitter again for this, as I know sometimes self-care and giving yourself a treat can sometimes overlap, depending on different opinions, of course. Here is what some of my lovely followers contributed to the question!

For me, I treat myself sometimes with a nice bath with a Lush product or two, doing a facemask whilst wearing new pyjamas and lighting a new candle, reading a (new) book, relaxing whilst playing a game. Saying these things also overlaps in my self-care routine as well. However, sometimes I do treat myself to things I normally wouldn't, like at one point I treated myself to a Too Faced palette. I'm not saying this as a 'boasting' point, but I'm making it a point that I sometimes do go all out, but 99% of the time, I actually don't.

Different ways to treat yourself

For this part of the post, I'm going to try and make this have variety but some of these ideas may overlap on what some of you may see as self-care.

Indulge in body care

 I particularly like doing this as part of my self-care routine, as well as treating myself. Sometimes when my body feels overworked, some time out of my day to look after my body and treat it with all sorts of body creams, conditioners and moisturisers really shows I work my a** off sometimes. My recommendations:

Big Blue by Lush 

With bits of seaweed which soften in the water for a moisture effect, this is the perfect bath bomb to wash your worries away (not literally, but we can dream, right?!) It has very relaxing scents and does remind me of being by the sea.

Tea tree peel off mask

I use the peel off mask from Primark which is tea tree, however I don't think they sell it anymore. I love face masks so much, but what I use to make my skin feel fresher and new is by using one which is tea tree scented. It's quite minty in my opinion and can sometimes be a bit overpowering, but how refreshed I feel afterwards is a god send. I've also been recommended the tea tree range by The Body Shop and I definitely want to try some of their products, since year ago I used to use their tea tree blemish stick - it worked a charm!



The Body Shop alternative is the Tea Tree Face Mask, which is a clay one as opposed to a peel off - but nevertheless, still gorgeous and worth it!

Rock your body confidence

There's nothing more than treating myself to a new clothing item or two to make me feel confident about my body. Brands I like doing this with are: Topshop, H&M, New Look, Ann Summers, Victoria's Secret, Primark and more. A lot of the time, a matching pair of undies actually makes me feel so confident and happy with myself, which may come across as a bit strange to some of you. A brand which I want to talk about for this, is the ever so lovely Superpeach. This is a brand which at the moment has some very lovely pieces which can actually fit me (and I'm usually a UK size 14) which I was so happy about. How I'd describe Superpeach is girly, sweet and gorgeous and it is a definite 'does what it says on the tin' descriptor.

Superpeach Olivia thong front
Superpeach Bansi thong front
In my opinion, it is an affordable brand, and I had such a very positive experience with them, and the way they packaged their products was so lovely (the beautiful pink packaging honestly made my day!). I'd highly recommend checking them out, since I'm a regular buyer of Ann Summers underwear, I love that I can have a cheaper alternative which is great quality, and still feel confident and beautiful with regards to my body. As well as this, it's also close to Valentine's Day, so why not treat yourself to some goodies for your gorgeous self? If you'd like 20% off your first order, use the code 'CHLOETOMMO20', but it expires on the 10th March 2017! Also, as a side note, these views are of my own and I have not been paid to say positive things. I'm a Peach Princess with Superpeach, which gives amazing opportunities and some pretty decent discounts for yourselves and others. Apply here!

Exercise

Quite a few of us don't actually realise that treating ourselves can also be in the form of exercise. I use this for treats and self-care, because I'm treating my body with a workout in order for it to function better, and for my skin, physique and confidence to be better. With regards to self-care, I use exercise to help bring my mind out of a negative rut and being active does actually make me feel 10x better.

Sometimes I'm either a bit ill, or university work is in the way and I can't dedicate a lot of time to go to the gym (as I like to dedicate between an hour and an hour and a half), so I rely on 'home workouts'. They're never usually that long, but just enough so that I can feel like I've given my body a treat and I've took time out of being busy, stressed or having a 'bad' mental health time to do this. Please note: I am not a trained individual in terms of fitness, so these recommendations may not work for everyone.

I recommend: 

30 day ab and squat challenge:

30 Day Bum Fitness Challenge Chart:
I've been doing this one and it has actually been doing a pretty good job, even though I sometimes forget to do it, so I either double up, or go back to the beginning.
I love using exercise as a form of treat, although some people may disagree and say it isn't a treat. As a student, I'm never really that active unless I walk into town or go to the gym, so my body is doing the same things all the time (e.g. sitting down/slouching during a lecture, laying down), so by breaking from that with forms of exercise, it is allowing my body and mind to have a break from its usual routine and allowing myself to (very slowly) become fitter. However, if I do get the chance to go to the gym, I use: treadmills, cross trainers, hip abduction machine, rowing machine, weights (for weighted squats and '7's') and the leg press machine.

Buy yourself something nice

In moderation, purchasing yourself something as a treat is what we all tend to do at some point or another. If you've been under a lot of stress as of late to get something done and you finally do, or you finish a piece of work and it has been bothering you for a while - a treat is definitely due. We as people work ourselves so hard that we don't realise that we do deserve a treat every once in a while. This can be a nice bit of cake, some chocolate, a take-out, one item that you've been eyeing up for a while, a new game/expansion, a new beauty product, some new shoes... The list is endless. For me when I treat myself, I usually go off what I've done and pick my treat from there. If I've done something usually to tackle either my anxiety or depression, I go for something like a new book, a game expansion, a beauty product, a new bit of clothing.



A lot of the time, I'd never usually bother with treating myself even if the people around me are saying that I should. I do this because a lot of the time, I don't think I deserve a treat. I don't think I've done much to get something nice for myself. However, I put it into perspective and say "I managed to write 3000+ words of an essay in about 4-ish hours, that's pretty good" then it goes from there. I only believe (sometimes) I'm deservant of a treat unless I think I do, although I really don't give into temptation easy.

NOTE: All pictures used in this blog post are not mine (besides the last photo featured), so credit to their rightful owners. As well as this, the views of others in the post have had no influence off me, so credit to them for their words as well as for contributing!


What do you do to treat yourself? Do you think self-care and treating yourself is the same, or different? Let me know in the comments and let's start a discussion!



Disclaimer: Header image is not mine, it's a free stock photo!


Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @chloemtommo, Instagram: @chloetommo and Bloglovin.
Have an amazing day!


The things that make me happy


Lately, I've been having a few up and down days, but today I've actually had a really good day! So in relation to my good and positive mental health day, I wanted to share the things with you that make me happy. Some of these may sound really silly or weird, but I don't care - but I hope you enjoy this post!

Reading - I absolutely love reading, and it's something that I have loved since I was a child. I'm always on the hunt for new books to read, but at the moment I'm reading: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Thanks Con!) and We're All Mad Here by Claire Eastham. Reading relaxes my brain so much and brings me out of my world and into some quiet and content state which is perfect if I'm feeling anxious, or I really need to get some sleep.

The sound of rain - The sound of rain to me is so relaxing and there's nothing more than being all snuggly on a crappy, rainy and grey day and hearing the rain come down against the window. I must admit, sometimes when it's heavy rain I open my window, because it is just a really nice sound to me.

Retail therapy - Ah, what I really like doing after a bad mental health storm but my bank balance does not like it at all. I like doing a spot of shopping after I've had a bit of a bad day, because I feel like I'm taking time out of my day to look after myself and treating myself for dealing with my different mental health issues and struggles which I've had for so long.




The smell of my boyfriend's aftershave - I honestly love the smell of this so much, and it is actually such a relaxing and heart melting scent. It makes me feel so happy, relaxed and at home. Simple, but truthful.

A hug off my gramps or mum - As I've been told time and time again, there's nothing better than having a hug off your mum to make you feel better. For me, it's off my mum or my gramps. It makes me feel like everything is okay and that I'm okay.

Writing - Whether it is a blog post or a bit of a drabble, I love writing. I've always loved writing little stories, and for one mother's day I actually wrote my mum a story (now that I think about it, it's so cringey).  I've used it as my escape from my mental health, as explained here in a previous blog post, but I know for a fact I will never get bored of writing.

Listening to music/going to a concert - I remember that the year my parents separated, I went to 13 concerts in one year and it helped me get over the fact that my dad was no longer around. In all honesty, whenever something has gone wrong, I turned to music as my support when I felt like I couldn't turn to anyone or I didn't really have anyone to talk to. I still love music and going to concerts even now, as I feel like it is one of my few 'safe spaces' that I have and I feel like I can escape my problems, even if it is only for an hour and a half.

Beaches - I love beaches because I love going on walks, as well as the fact that I find beaches so relaxing and really pretty.


Watching things - If it's a YouTube video, an episode or two of something on Netflix (usually Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) or even a cheesy feel good movie, I just love to watch things. It helps me unwind or distracts me from how I'm feeling, which is what I like in things. I also love watching videos on Instagram of puppies and this instantly helps my bad mood, or if I'm particularly feeling a bit depressed one day.

Playing games - Doing this honestly makes me feel so relaxed, as well as taking my mind off things in life. Some of my favourite games are: Call of Duty, Prison Architect, Gary's Mod (particularly Prop Hunt), Skyrim, Minecraft, Runescape, The Sims, Fallout 4, Battlefield 3 and Batman Arkham Asylum. 

A cuddle with my boyfriend - I honestly love this a lot, because no matter how crappy I'm feeling, a cuddle off my boyfriend just makes me feel so much better about everything. In that moment, I swear all the negativity has been sucked out of me and has been taken away and all I feel is warmth, love and being content.



Disclaimer: Header image is not mine, it's a free stock photo!

What are some of the things that make you happy? Let me know in the comments!

Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @chloemtommo, Instagram: @chloetommo and Bloglovin.
Have an amazing day!

Sometimes it all gets a bit too much


In life, things always become a bit too much. Whether it be a job, workload, socialising - it happens. We're all human and I'd honestly be surprised if I came across someone who doesn't get overwhelmed at times. Even people who seem 'together' struggle. For the past few days on and off I've not been feeling my greatest. Anxiety has randomly crept up on me for no reason, depression has been hitting me too... It's been a bit of a mess in all honesty.

I think it's been due to not really having a routine since my lectures haven't started back yet. I've been off university for basically 2 months straight now and it's become difficult to attempt to be calm, relaxed and 'sane'. I've not been as bad as last summer where everything I was doing was making me irritable, and I'd have a breakdown every few days, but I still feel overwhelmed.

Whenever I feel like this, I always feel really guilty for doing so because when I talk to people about it, I feel like I'm being a bother. I feel like I'm being inconvenient and that I need to be okay 100% of the time. In reality, I would like to be okay all the time. I hate feeling anxious, I hate feeling depressed, I hate waking up in the middle of the night because of a bad dream, I hate it taking me over two hours to finally switch my brain off before I go to bed, I hate that I have to occupy myself all the time so that I don't dwell on thoughts and begin to feel negative and depressed.

I often sit there to myself and think: What do I want in life? I want to be happy all the time, I want to feel on top of the world, I want to wake up and know that the day is going to be a good day. Honestly, I'm really envious of those who are always bubbly and optimistic. I wish I could do that. Happiness is one of the few things I care about in my life, like truly, madly and deeply. I know that people can't be happy 100% of the time, although they may seem it. I feel like the balance of my mood is more negative than positive - but I just pull through.

 Love is also one of those things. I'm currently in a relationship which has just hit its first year mark and I couldn't be happier in that respect. I always get paranoid that one day he will fall out of love with me. That's my relationship anxiety, which I honestly hate to bits. I hate getting the anxious feeling sometimes that he'll leave me. I know full well he isn't going to as he has told me before, but the anxiety is like a ball of hatred towards myself that likes to tell me lies and make me feel like crap. I love him to bits and I know he loves me too.

Sorry for being such a drag today, I can't act like my life is happy all of the time when it really isn't. I'm only human and choose to share certain bits of my life with you all, but I'm here to let you know that life isn't going to be all roses and perfection. Life is full of twists, turns and not nice bits which unfortunately we can't avoid.

Never feel guilty for feeling negative and not bubbly or chirpy. We all have our down days and we are entitled to feel however we like, regardless of what it is. My boyfriend told me something today which I'm going to start carrying it through my life, and I want to share it with you too. Next time you feel guilty for feeling bad or for having a bad mental health day, no matter what you say about yourself for it, whether it's "Oh, I feel stupid for feeling this way", or "I don't deserve to be happy" - Think you're saying it to someone else. You wouldn't say things like that to another, like saying they don't deserve happiness or are stupid for feeling how they do. So don't think you deserve it to be said to yourself.



Disclaimer: Header image is not mine, it's a free stock photo!

Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @chloemtommo, Instagram: @chloetommo and Bloglovin.
Have an amazing day!