General Advice

Living For One

Okay so I’ve discussed previously about batch cooking and why it’s so useful, but I’ve not explained why you should do it.

I learnt personally a lot about cooking before I came to University, I always wanted to appear on a programme like MasterChef or The Great British Bake Off when I was growing up, and me being a teenage boy at the time… yeah… that doesn’t usually go down well with bullies so I had it as my “forbidden passion”. So when I arrived at University, I was so used to cooking for six, that it was hard to transition into only cooking for a single person (and pasta is still pasta no matter how much time you give it, you will always use too much) so I looked into basic foods that could be made on a budget and stored safely in the fridge and freezer space I was given and that would last me the whole week.

Over time I’ve gotten better at this, and thanks to moving into a flat of my own, I’ve now got enough space to bulk buy in the start of the month and then just simply top up each week with stuff I need, like perishables, and a few tips I’ve picked up are here:

Ask Your Parents For Cooking Tips
So at the moment, I’ve been saving up as much as I can so what I tend to do is spend very little on food. When I was at my lowest, I brought four packs of sausages, then 7 days worth of noodles and frozen veg. This would be good enough and healthy enough that I would survive on about £5 a week on food, whilst I was spending so much trying to fix my computer so I could actually do my work. Ask your parents/carers for any tips they might have. You never know, they will have gone through something very similar when they were our age and might know some stuff. My mums tip to me was for a “chicken dinner”. Get some instant mash, chicken slices for sandwiches (or beef or ham), some bread, frozen veg, and then some toad-in-the-hole style Yorkshire Puddings, layer the chicken slices around and place cooked frozen veg, mash and maybe some gravy if you feel up to it and then eat it out of the yorkshire pudding. It might not look like the most appitising dish, but it definately has that student feel and filling appeal of a Sunday dinner.

Whilst my dad gave me the tip of “befriending your local takeout”. No, seriously, my dad apparently got Christmas cards addressed to the stores “number one customer!” each year…

Excel Spreadsheet of Money In and Out
I gave this tip previously, but one of the things I’m quite proud of is my spreadsheet. It tells me all of the money I have outgoing and incoming each month and will tell me an estimate of what I should have by the end of the month in both of my bank accounts. You can usually find these online or make one yourself. You then have the added bonus if you make one yourself by putting “Excel Spreadsheets” on your CV.

Washing Clothes
I have four pairs of jeans with me, enough underwear and plenty of t-shirts. Jeans (nearly) never need to be washed. Honestly. It’s amazing. T-shirts and underwear can be all handwashed, which makes the only real thing you need to wash is bedspreads and towels. I personally go to a laundromat because I don’t have a washing machine in my room and then leave them hanging up to dry on clothes horses during the day and the next if necessary.

Exploring Your Hobbies
When you’re at home, you’re probably going to be used to playing games or reading books all the time and now you have your own money, you might be tempted by that £100 collectors edition of your favorite game, or a limited edition signed hand-written book by your favorite author (seriously, if anyone has a copy of Robert Muchamore’s CHERUB in handwriting, hit me up), and that’s perfectly fine. However, you have to hold yourself back. Save it as an end of month thing. Each month you buy yourself something new, then after a year at University, you’ve saved some cash and gotten used to that feeling you get when you can read a book and feel like you’ve earnt it.

I hope these tips help you out as much as they helped me survive my first two years at University,
Until next time!
Conor ^-^

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