Ready, steady, cook!
Seasoning- Seasoning your food correctly can make anything taste better, just adding a pinch of salt can increase flavour and save you from a failed dinner recipe. Salt, pepper and spices are cupboard necessities.
Start small- Don’t over face yourself with a super difficult recipe, start small and learn the basics of cooking. You can find some simple recipes here.
Cooking meats- When you’re cooking meat it’s important to make sure it is thoroughly cooked before tucking in.
Beef- You can eat beef anyway you want, even raw! But the simplest way to test how its cooked is by testing its texture. The rarer the steak the softer it will feel, the firmer it feels the more well done it is.
Chicken/ pork- It’s a lot more important that chicken and pork are cooked thoroughly before eating. If the juices are clear and when cutting into the centre the meat is white then it should be cooked, if not, return it to the oven until they run clear.
Fish - You can tell if your fish is cooked by placing a knife in the centre of it, if the knife glides straight through then your fish is cooked.
To save money you could try cooking at least two vegetarian meals a week to cut back on the expense of meat.
Freeze - Meal planning and cooking in bulk is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to cook as a student. Invest in some cheap clear Tupperware (Poundland have a large selection) and use them to store fresh food in the fridge and freezer, ready to eat when you come in from a lecture or after a night out.
Full Laundry basket?
Moving to University and having more independence is great, until it comes to the task of washing your laundry. Follow 5 simple life hacks and make washing laundry that little bit more bearable.
Read the labels- Check the care instructions to prevent a disaster.
Separate clothes- Avoid turning white clothes pink by separating out loads, for example whites, brights, darks, and delicates – don’t be tempted to throw everything in together.
Pre-treat stains- If you tackle a stain early with a stain remover or DIY remedy stains will fade much easier.
Set a timer on your phone- If you leave your laundry in the washing machine for too long it might come out smelling worse than it went in, your washing is also more likely to be moved by someone who needs the machine.
Invest in a drying rack- Cut down on drying costs and invest in a drying rack.
Invest in foil - Cover your baking trays and the bottom of your oven with foil to catch spillages, crumbs and mess from foods cooking on the selves above. When it’s time to clean simply remove and replace the foil with new.
Steam clean your microwave - Microwaves can be messy, especially if you’re sharing one with others. Try a few drops of vinegar (or sliced lemon) and water in a bowl in the microwave for 5 minutes and once done you’ll be able to wipe all the grime away.
Keep your fridge fresh- Line the fridge shelves with cling film. If anything spills all you have to do is peel of the fil and replace it.
Save on all-purpose cleaner sprays- when you cook with lemons keep the used half’s and soak them with cheap white vinegar for 2-3 weeks. Transfer it into an old spray bottle and harness the acidic power.
Being responsible for managing a budget for the first time can be tough, especially on a student budget. Keeping control is all in the planning.
Assess the Situation - Tally up all the money that you will realistically have, including loans, bursaries and money from parents then deduct any outgoing such as rent. You’ll then be able to estimate how much money you have throughout the year and make a weekly budget. Draw your money out weekly so you know exactly what you have left to spend.
Get Savvy- There are loads of opportunities to save some pennies as a students and score loads of discounts. Invest in an NUS card or sign up to UNIDAYS to get discounts on loads of shops. From the change you get back from your savings you could save up with a money jar.
Also consider coaches when your visiting home midterm, they can be much cheaper than the train.
Keep track - Keeping track of your spending will make spending a lot easier, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about where you put your money and when you need to hold back a bit.