Life skills


For many, university will be the first time you are living away from home. This comes with a whole host of things that are now your responsibility to take care of. Here’s a shortlist of some basic ways to prepare to be more independent at university;

  1. Learn how to budget your money effectively – You can find tips on budgeting here, as well as helpful spreadsheets that will help you keep track of your money.
  2. Learn to cook! – You don’t want to be forking out money for takeaways or living off beans and toast. There are some really simple BBC Good Food recipes that would be good to practice.
  3. Do your own laundry – Most of us have the luxury of our parents doing our laundry at home, but you’re on your own at uni! You don’t want to get to your first laundry day and have no idea what’s suppose to go where, so get into the habit of doing your own before you go to uni.
  4. Do your own food shopping – Watch what your parents do. Do they buy random things? Do they have a detailed list? Do they go as far as to plan out meals for the week? Knowing HOW you’re going to shop takes a lot of the stress out of the activity. Personally, I’m a big meal plan type of girl, but have some sort of system helps to ensure you’re not buying total rubbish every time.

Becki Morgan-Phillips – 3rd Year Communications and Public Relations


Student recipes

For some coming to uni might be the first time you’ve had to cook for yourself, so why not try some of these easy recipes from our Student Content Creators!

Cooking skills

If you’re unsure where to start in the kitchen or want to up your cooking skills, make use of these FoodLinc guides.

Food shopping

Doing your first food shop? Don’t forget these top tips!

  • Set a weekly budget – don’t forget snacks!
  • Plan your meals in advance
  • Don’t forget fruit & veg

Local supermarkets

Budgeting & saving money

Coming to university is likely the first time that you will have had to manage your own money, and to do this properly, you need to be able to budget.

From making sure rent, bills, food and expenses are all paid, to putting money in savings or buying that thing you REALLY want, you need to know where – and how much of – your money is going out each month. But never fear! Here are some all-important tips for managing your money.

Becki Morgan-Phillips – 3rd Year Communications and Public Relations
Know how much you have!

In order to even begin to start budgeting, you need to know what you have and what you spend. I would recommend going through your bank statements and writing down how much you get (from student finance, jobs, bursaries etc.), and your regular payments (for rent, phone bill, streaming services etc).

Once you know how much you absolutely NEED to spend a month, you’ll be able to work out how much money you have left for everything else.

If you find that you don’t have much money left to play with, don’t panic! Speak to the Student Support Centre about Financial Assistance Funds and you might be surprised at the range of help on offer to you, including a Term Time Fund, Course-related Travelling Grant, or a Commuting Travel Grant. They also have a pre-recorded workshop called ‘Make your money go further’ which is a great start if you’d like to get your finances ironed out.

Watch out for hidden expenses

This is where a lot of people get caught out when budgeting for the first time.

Don’t go to the local shop to buy all of your groceries, it could cost more. When buying your groceries, do a big shop at the supermarket (you can order online if you don’t have a car or if it’s too far away) and make sure you factor in your essentials, like toiletries, when you do so.

You’ll likely get way more value for your money and can buy enough food to last several weeks.

Use a budgeting tool

These are very handy for budgeting down to the pound. There are spreadsheets like this one on Google Sheets or there are handy apps that you can take everywhere with you.

These apps show you exactly where your money is going and allow you to set limits on how much you spend on certain products a month. They’re easy to use and can help you change your buying behaviours if need be.

Speak to the Advice Service

Don’t stress! Someone is always there to help.

The Advice Service have lots of tips and classes to help you learn how to effectively budget. They offer advice on housing, debt and funding, and can help you to apply for extra help with finances.

For more information, visit the Student Services website and check out what they can do to help.

Start saving!

Saving money can be difficult at the best of times, let alone when you’re a student on a tight budget, with bills to pay. Luckily there’s a lot of simple changes you can make, to watch those savings rise!

Jessica Louise – 2nd Year Creative Advertising

Reduce your expenses

Reduce your expenses of non-essential things (takeaways and nights out) and put this money straight into your savings instead.

This doesn’t mean you need to fully cut out the things that you enjoy – if you typically get a takeaway once a week, reduce it to once a month, or try a fake-away that you can make at home instead. Not only will this massively help your bank balance, it’s also a much healthier alternative!

Start passively saving

Passive saving initiatives have been introduced by a lot of banks and savings apps, where you can opt to ’round up’ your transactions – so if you spent £1.95 it would get rounded up to £2, and the extra 5p would go straight into your savings.

This is a great option if you can’t commit a large amount of money each month, as it’s such small amounts, you don’t notice it leaving your bank!

Student discounts

As a student, one of the best benefits is getting student discounts! There are lots of companies that help you to make the most of your student discounts, but UNiDAYS is by far the most popular option – and it’s free!

Have fun on a budget

During your time at university you may have to learn how to be frugal, but missing out on the fun stuff shouldn’t be part of the plan. Here are some tips and tricks on enjoying yourself when you’re on a budget!

Beth Gratton – MSc Marketing graduate
Don’t miss a celebration

Going out for food on a tight budget can be difficult, as a nice meal out at a restaurant can cost the same as a whole weeks worth of food shopping! So, planning ahead can help with this.

Before you make any arrangements to go out for food scout out all the options, and decide what you would like to eat and what you can afford.

A lot of restaurants have ongoing discount codes that you can get by signing up to a mailing list and, don’t forget, you’re a student, so use that discount where you can!


There are lots of recipes on the internet that will help you recreate the flavour of your favourite takeaway, so you don’t miss out on any of the good stuff (they are often healthier too, so that’s a bonus!)

Whilst takeaways might be fun to get with friends, alone they can amount to quite a lot of money.

Try saving even more money by getting each of your friends to make something. You can have more fun making it together, and are left with a range of foods to enjoy.

A night in VS a night out

Everyone loves a good night out but going to every event can set you back a bit of cash. Whilst it might not be everyone’s favourite thing to do, game nights are an alternative. You can have a laugh with your friends, enjoy yourself, and it doesn’t cost a penny (providing you own some games).

But, if you don’t want to miss out on a particular event, then plan in advance. 9 times out of 10 ticket prices increase the closer to the event you get. The sooner you buy a ticket, the more money you will save!

Explore the city

Make sure to keep your eye out for anything free you can do around the city, like Lincoln Castle and The Collection Museum.

There are often activities you can do that can be fun and cost very little, and there is always something new and interesting happening around the city as Lincoln.

Financial support

The Advice Service is there to give professional, specialist, confidential, impartial advice to all students at the University of Lincoln.

Student Wellbeing online skills groups

Skills groups include: Relationships, Confidence, Resilience, Anxiety and many more.

Support finding part-time work

Careers & Employability advertises vacancies exclusive to University of Lincoln students via their vacancy platform CareerLinc – your one stop shop for all vacancies.

Log in using your student details and set up job alerts to find your perfect role.

Careers & Employability are there to help you through every step of the recruitment process, as well as graduate career planning. See their services for students page for more information.

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