Exploring Lancaster: food shopping

Students' Union

Once you arrive in Lancaster University, you will find yourself in a completely new environment, and probably the most important question for you will be where to buy everyday essentials and food. There are plenty of supermarkets in Lancaster, which is positive on the one hand. On the other hand, it makes your choice more difficult. In this post I will try to compare different means of shopping.

1. On campus Convenient Stores (LUSU Central and Spar)
These are two small stores located on campus. LUSU Central belongs to the Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU) and Spar is a well-known brand. I consider them together since they are quite similar, they have almost the same assortment and pricing policy.

Plus Minus
Convenient location – if you want to buy something on spot (spontaneous purchase) or if you immediately need an ingredient for your meal, these stores are always in the vicinity.

Spar offers good deals on vegetables.

LUSU Central offers good meal deals, plus Purple card holders can benefit from discounts and special offers.

Prices are significantly higher than in the big supermarkets.

Product range is rather narrow.

2. Sainsbury’s
Sainsbury’s is the biggest supermarket (I would even say a department store) in Lancaster.

Plus Minus
Product range is extremely wide.

On-line delivery (your basket must be worth of £40+) with convenient time-slots.

First-purchase discount. Excellent client service.

There is a free bus that goes on Wednesdays every hour from Lancaster University to Sainsbury’s and back. If you want to use it when returning on campus from the town centre, you must show to the driver a receipt from Sainsbury’s worth £5 or more.

Prices are lower than in Spar or LUSU Central, but I would argue this is one of the most expensive supermarkets.

If you order online delivery, they quite often replace 2-3 out-of-stock items with what they call ‘a suitable match’. The delivery man always asks you if you are happy with the replacement or not, if not, money for this item will be returned.

3. Marks and Spencer
M&S is a famous department store which sells fine clothes and food. In Lancaster, it is located on the main street – Penny Street.

Plus Minus
Undeniable quality. Products from M&S will be good souvenirs from England for your friends and family. There are many special offers before Christmas, New Year and Easter.

Quality. Quality. Quality.

Price is rather high compared to other supermarkets/food retailers.

4. ASDA
ASDA is located in Morecambe, not in Lancaster. Like Sainsbury’s, it is a department store, but of a slightly lower scale.

Plus Minus
Prices are quite cheap (definitely cheaper than in Sainsbury’s or M&S).

On-line delivery (your basket must be worth of £40+) with convenient time-slots.

The same issue with product replacement as in Sainsbury’s.

Quality of food is slightly lower than in Sainsbury’s (on average, not always).

5. ALDI
ALDI is the cheapest supermarket in Lancaster (imho), although it’s located in Morecambe.

Plus Minus
ALDI provides the lowest prices on the market.

Product range is wide (but narrower than in Sainsbury’s or ASDA).

No food delivery available. That is a very big minus.

6. TESCO
TESCO is a world-known brand. There are no TESCO stores in Lancaster, however you can order food from them online.

Plus Minus
Online delivery.

Good quality of food.

Slightly expensive (Sainsbury’s level, sometimes even higher).

 

How to earn money while studying

How to earn money

Students have different incentives when they start searching for opportunities that could help them earn some cash: someone wants to add this experience to LinkedIn/CV, someone wants to meet new people, someone wants to buy a new pair of shoes… Here are some tips how you can fund yourself at Lancaster University.

Find a job: Lancaster University
Lancaster University has an Employment and Recruitment Service that offers wide range of jobs. You can apply for a temporary job that is usually designed to cover needs of a particular project – for example, conference assistant, or burger maker at a music festival. The spectrum of such jobs varies – they could be either intelligent or physical, either on campus or off campus, etc. The payment rate usually starts from £7/hour, but bear in mind that you will be required to provide a CV and a Cover letter of yours, so there is competition and selection process for any of those vacancies. Permanent jobs are designed for those who want to become a part of Lancaster University staff, so mainly such jobs are suitable for those who have work permit in the UK. For those who approached the UK with a visa, your working time must not exceed 20 hours per week. I took one of those, and it brought me £70.

Find a job: Lancaster
There are plenty of part-time jobs in the town centre, so just google them. Alternatively, while walking in the downtown keep an eye on any vacancies announced on the doors/windows of the business premises. Many of my friends used to work in the restaurants that specialised in the cuisine of their origin – Thai people worked in Thai cafe, Chinese – in Chinese restaurant, etc. Personally, I did not take any of those jobs.

Take part in research activities
There are many PhD students studying at Lancaster University, and most of them conduct experiments required for their dissertations. They often advertise those experiments either online or through the traditional paper advert on campus. If you participate, you will be rewarded in two possible ways – cash or voucher (usually Amazon voucher). For instance, Psychology department even has its own online research system, so you just need to register and monitor availability of studies. I took part in more than 50 experiments during 2015-2016 academic year, and it helped me earn more than £500. Nonetheless, I strongly recommend that you keep your academic studies number one priority.

Become a Postgraduate Student Ambassador
Read this post for more details. Being a PG ambassador helped me earn around £1,000 a year.

Win business challenges
Read this post for more details. I earned £100 through winning a 3rd place in one of the challenges.

To sum up, I managed to earn around £1,670 throughout my academic year in Lancaster University doing some extracurricular activities. There are many opportunities, so it’s entirely your choice what to do. Good luck!