Photo: Fife Food Festival

Shopping Strategically in St Andrews

On crafting a budget-friendly larder.

Cheese costs HOW much?!

You’ve arrived in halls, your parents have dropped you off and helped you move far too many boxes of stuff into your new room. Bet the first thing you want to do is unpack, stick your photos on the wall and hang those fairly lights up, right? Wrong. Seek out food. Uni lesson number one: cheap food is your friend. If you’re lucky enough to be in catered halls, feel free to carry on scrolling – but if you’re about to fend for yourself, I highly recommend reading on.

There are two grocery stores on Market Street: Tesco, near the Union and the Vic, and Sainsbury’s along at the opposite end. Both provide your fairly standard supermarket experience, albeit at a more expensive price than you’re used to back home. If you don’t fancy paying for the convenience of shopping in the centre of town and just want non-branded super cheap goodness, then I have a treat for you: Aldi, the Shangri-La of student shopping. A ten minute walk from South Street, this gem of discount shopping offers cheap meat, vegetables, fruit and, most importantly, alcohol.

Photo: Fine Food & Dining Society

Maybe you want something completely the opposite of this, a bit of luxury, a treat to ease yourself into uni life. Conveniently located across the street from Aldi, Marks & Spencer is the home of pricey yet delicious food, beloved by grandmothers everywhere. That said, if money really is of no concern then there are plenty of smaller specialist shops in the centre of town that can’t be rivalled for quality. Minick’s family butcher on Bell Street, I.J. Mellis on South Street for cheese, Fisher & Donaldson bakery on Church Street, or even the Balgove Farm Shop outside of town. If this the sort of thing you’d enjoy, then I encourage you to explore the town centre and discover all it has to offer.

Last, but by no means least, on the list of places to fill up your fridge in St Andrews, is Morrisons. Beyond even Aldi and M&S lies this supermarket, an oasis of affordable food in the desert that is “The Badlands.” The biggest supermarket in town, it’s often worth the twenty minute hike there for the variety and selection alone.

Photo: Danielle Golds

Want to know the greatest joy in student food shopping? The reduced section. If you time it just right, you’ll find reduced items in any of the supermarkets waiting for hungry student to pounce on them and claim a three course meal for under £2. Not too shabby, huh? Finding the right times to go in and where the reduced sections are in each of the shops comes with practice, so be prepared for some trial and error before you become a master of the bargains.

There you go, there’s a beginners guide to shopping in St. Andrews! Master it, and you probably won’t be living off beans on toast alone for the next four years (though both beans and bread are pretty cheap…). 

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4 thoughts on “Shopping Strategically in St Andrews

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