How to Dine in Luxury on a Student Budget

Every student is on a budget, but considering the amount of money we are about to invest in a certain springtime ball, where our pennies are spent is very much about priorities. The word ‘essentials’ takes on a whole new meaning when you become a student. Suddenly, one realises that conditioner, tights, mayonnaise and meat are now firmly within the category of ‘luxuries.’

On the other hand, we have convinced ourselves that the pre-chilled bottle of wine from Luvian’s to celebrate the end of Tuesday is, of course, an essential. It’s only when we return home at Christmas with bad hair, no money and an arm full of wristbands that you (or more often, your family) realise things have become a little distorted in St Andrews.

When it comes to the battle of essential vs. luxury with food, we face a constant dilemma on our minds. Sometimes it seems as if just one more trip to Tesco’s will push you over the edge, but equally there’s only so many times you can have a Cherries for lunch and dinner before the staff know your usual and you run out of money.

Student cookbooks promising “quick, easy and cheap” meal suggestions that a concerned mother bought you as an innocent fresher are now gathering dust beneath overdue library books and the remains of last night’s cheesy chips, so we can assume they hold no pearls of wisdom.

The answer, I have found, is contained in two simple steps:

  1. In order to eat delicious meals at home, all you need to do is to cook in huge groups, no less that eight people. That way, you can enjoy a meal that would have cost you £5 on your own, for less £2. (This soon becomes a ritual when combined with Sunday night Downton or Monday night Made in Chelsea.)
  2. Take advantage of express lunch deals. The Seafood Restaurant offers a two course meal at the moment for only £12.95 – value that cannot be argued with in my opinion. Zest and Kingarroch at the Byre have some very competitive lunch deals for much less.

 It is possible to live the life of luxury, it seems, you just have to know where to look for it. 

Images sourced from BBC and Maira Kalman.