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Grabbing lunch out without going broke

There is a world in which I am the person who casually cracks out their carefully crafted packed lunch in hall – a symbol of impeccable organisation and competency, the envy of all around me. Unfortunately, that world is not the one I occupy – on more days than I care to admit, I wander about town, lunch box empty and stomach growling, in search of lunch out. However, without a keen eye on prices, this lifestyle can easily get the best of one’s finances. With this in mind, I’ve tried to string together a list of lunch options that have kept my finances in the green whilst also meeting my basic nutritional needs.

Rozana’s Hummus Falafel Salad Wrap £4

After a long morning of sitting and staring at the ceiling of the Rad Cam or people watching in the bod/rad cam/Exeter marquee/newly opening Exeter college library (!), I feel I need to treat myself to a warm and nourishing meal. Rozana’s humous falafel salad wrap (with both garlic and chilli sauce) is that meal. No complaints from me, it’s just good. Who doesn’t love hummus and falafels?

Sainsbury’s Meal Deal £3.50

Yes, I am not like other girls, I love me a Sainsbury’s meal deal. I feel like the options for sandwiches and snacks are just better, and if you miss Magdalen Street and hit up one of the other slightly further flung branches (eg. St. Aldates Sainsbury’s) of this underrated meal deal provider, you will, as I do most days, be able to get your hands on some real lunch gems – salmon cream cheese sandwiches, Starbucks chocolate fraps, yoghurt and granola pots, chocolate twists and more.

Alternative Tuck Shop £5.10

This is more of a special lunch for me- it either serves as a therapy lunch after a morning of uninterpretable lectures and failed attempts at essay-writing, or as the nice lunch I have with a friend to convince them I do not have Greggs for lunch most days of the week. Their avocado and cheese sandwiches with lemon pepper dressing on olive focaccia in particular are pretty damn good. Hearty, filling, nutritious (I think?)- they’re just what you’ll need to prepare for an afternoon return to whatever hovel you have chosen to complete the day’s work.

Italiamo’s Calzone £4

Calzone for lunch anyone? Italiamo’s calzones provide a warm, cheesy, saucy respite from a busy day, and were definitely a staple for me in first year. Back then they were £3.15 with their 10% student discount added, but, unfortunately, times having changed and economic crises abounding, this calzone lunch now inches slightly ahead of a standard meal deal on price. Still, they remain a delightful tomato-y alternative to the meal deal humdrum.

Greggs’ pastry bakes £1.80

To be honest, I have had my fair share of Greggs lunches. When you’re cold to the bone after weeks of refusing to turn on the heating at home and feeling a bit downtrodden, Cheese and Onion bakes do, in fact, hit the spot. Warm, cheesy, flaky goodness, maybe with an orange juice and a snack added on the side – it’s really not that bad! And if you’re a truly committed fan and have the Greggs loyalty app then prepare to make some killer savings (Buy 9 pastries and get the 10th one free? Bargain alert!).

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