Working out budgets using bills and a calculator

The cost of living in Lincoln

Budgeting is an extremely important aspect of student life and I would say it represents one of the first big transitions towards adulthood.…

Budgeting is an extremely important aspect of student life and I would say it represents one of the first big transitions towards adulthood. As daunting as it sounds, budgeting can be a great advantage if done properly. This comes in time and with a certain degree of experience. The experience itself is vital, especially for international students, as coming to a completely new country doesn’t immediately give you a proper sense of how much everyday things such as groceries cost. 

Of course, the cost of living will vary depending on each person’s needs and preferences, but here is a table of my living costs here in Lincoln (August 2021):

ExpensePer week Per month
Accommodation£98.50 £425
Mobile SIM CardN/A£12
Other (e.g. study materials and incidentals)£2£10
*I lived in a rented house and we had a washing machine for which I had to buy pods/ fabric softener. I used to split the cost with one of my housemates, so it saved us a lot of money.

In a lot of more general advice, it is suggested that you should spend around 30%-35% on your rent out of your total income. This would usually include bills with income and council taxes, which do not apply to students in the UK. Therefore, there may be space for you to choose your accommodation based on budget, location and personal preferences. From my own experience, renting a private off-campus property with other friends/coursemates can save some money, but it is important to be sure that you are compatible with people you choose to live with so that living in a house together wouldn’t be filled with conflict, but laughter. 

Man writing in a ledger. In front of him are coins and a piggy bank.

Lincoln is regarded as one of the cheapest cities for students in the UK. Indeed, apart from offering a large variety of supermarkets and shopping places for groceries, there is also a good range in price. One of the top tricks would be to keep an eye on offers at supermarkets, but to also try and purchase fruits and vegetables from the local market, as the price is lower but the quality is better! Regarding toiletries, I would say that is an extremely subjective aspect, as everyone has different needs and preferences. It is always a good idea to check more shops/pharmacies, as the difference in price can sometimes be staggering. 

Last but not least, one of the main focuses of student life, apart from the course itself, is the entertainment area. The University of Lincoln offers a variety of on-campus and off-campus activities. I would say the city itself is extremely affordable in this area and it offers a vast range of activities and places to go out. Remember, if you decide to join a society, there is usually an initial fee and then entry fees for events vary, depending on location and theme. They are usually fairly affordable, but it’s something important to consider. 

Budgeting can be difficult at the beginning, but there are many resources you could use to make your life easier, find these on the Cost of Living support site. The Student Advice Centre also offers help to students that are struggling with budgeting or their finances. 

By Daria Suciu, MChem Forensic Chemistry student from Romania.

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