Redbrick’s Social Secretary Sorcha Hornett writes about how to be savvy and save money with the return of the packed lunch
The humble packed lunch can bring back memories of long-forgotten primary school days; I know you desperately want to put those days behind you, but in this instance, I’m saying bring them back. There is absolutely no shame now in bringing a packed lunch to campus when you’re pulling a library day. We’re all students, wanting to save money and I promise no one is going to judge you for doing that. In fact, I probably now see more people eating their own lunch in the library café, than people buying sandwiches. People have realised how expensive it can be buying lunch on campus and have taken a stand. It’s true you can almost definitely make a sandwich better than the ones for sale in the libray café. The packed lunch has made a comeback and I’m here for it.
To start saving money, you first need to invest in some really good Tupperware. I suggest a box that closes well, (you don’t want your lunch spilling into your bag!) and has different sections, for example my lunch Tupperware has a section for my sandwich and a section for a snack. My housemate has a salad Tupperware box that has its own little container for dressing and a place to put your cutlery on top – it’s magical. I feel embarrassed to admit but you’ll probably get so excited about your new Tupperware, that you’ll be desperate to use it. Another great thing to invest in is a reusable coffee cup; this also saves the pennies if you’re wanting to buy a coffee on campus. Costa and Starbucks offer up to 25p off any drink on their menu if you bring your own cup, which really does add up if you think about it
Moving onto what to put in your packed lunch; the possibilities really are endless. A sandwich is a classic option and really good if you’re short on time. You can make it the night before and pop it in the fridge, just don’t forget it on your way out in the morning! Making your own sandwich is also great because you aren’t limited to what fillings are in it, you can choose and have as many or as little as you want. The beauty is you can make as many sandwiches as you like, yet if you only have time to make one, bring along some snacks – fruit, a bag of crisps or even a side salad means you’ve got enough food for a substantial lunch.
Another option is to have leftovers, again this can be especially good if you’ve not got much time and can easily be put into a Tupperware the night before. If it’s something you can have cold then you’re pretty much set, but if it needs to be heated up then not a lot of people know but, there are microwaves on the first floor of the Guild that are free to use for students. It’s not too far of a walk there to the library either, and perfect if you’re looking to grab a little bit of fresh air as a break. There is also metal and plastic cutlery in the guild, but many food places on campus will give you plastic cutlery if you ask. If you’re wanting to cut down on plastic consumption, then bring your own cutlery from home or buy a set of smaller cutlery that will fit easily into your Tupperware. My favourite leftovers to take as packed lunches are fajitas, stir-fry, Bolognese (just cook up some pasta in the morning!), curry, pasta bake and chilli, but again the possibilities are endless.
It can be a struggle to try and remember to make a packed lunch the night before, but if you get into the habit then you really are saving so much money. They can be so easy to do, especially if you’re just popping some leftovers into a Tupperware or making a quick sandwich and it’s something to keep you going while on campus all day. Packed lunches are definitely making a comeback and are the perfect solution for student life, just invest in some good Tupperware and a reusable coffee cup, and you are good to go!