Visiting supermarkets vs online shopping

Dom Lee debates the best way to food shop as a student in a global pandemic

Dominic Lee
1st October 2020

Food shopping as a student can be a stressful experience. It may be one of the first real experiences of budgeting that many of us have to deal with and with so many supermarket options at your fingertips it can be quite overwhelming.

In previous years, going to the supermarket was simple, there was no need to queue and masks weren’t mandatory inside. As a result, many students may be turning to online shopping as an alternative this year, either to keep risks to a minimum or to save the hassle of a going around a busy supermarket.

Image: Pixabay

I’m going to into my third year of university now and have been to the same branch of Aldi in Gateshead since freshers week. Physically going to the supermarket obviously has its benefits. For starters you can go wherever you want and buy whatever you want. When you’re looking at the shelves you can find things that you otherwise wouldn’t have considered if you had been staring at a laptop screen. Additionally, visiting a supermarket in person gives you peace of mind about the longevity of items such as fruit and veg which you wouldn’t have if you were shopping online.

No matter where you live in Newcastle you will have access to a supermarket near you. Freshers living near campus or the city centre can visit several branches of Tesco and Sainsbury’s, or if you’ve got a little more to spend you can visit Waitrose or M&S. There’s even a branch of the Co-op inside the SU. However, most of these supermarkets are likely to be busy quite regularly, so if you’re concerned about being around too many people it might be wise to consider online shopping. Alternatively, you could plan your trip to the supermarket for a weekday morning or afternoon when the shops will be less busy than they are at the weekends.

Image: Morrisons website

On the other hand, when shopping online you can schedule your shopping to come on any day which suits you. Another benefit is that you can order your food from anywhere you like, as most of the major supermarkets offer delivery. However, the obvious caveat is money as you’ll likely be spending more to get your shopping delivered than if you physically went to the supermarket. Most delivery services will charge a fee and many have minimum spend limits that are more than the average student would pay in a week. One possible way around this is that if most of your flat shop in the same place you can order your food all together. This is certainly a popular option for many students but you’d be surprised at how many people shop in different places, so it can sometimes be difficult to coordinate this.

Whichever way you decide to shop this year make sure that you’re staying safe and considering the pros and cons of your options. Visiting the supermarket and online food shopping are both excellent options but as this is 2020, you may want to think a bit more in depth about what you do and how you do it.

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