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We did the math to find out how cheap it really is to live in Lincoln as a student

How cheap is it to live in the UK’s third cheapest student city?


Lincoln has been voted the third cheapest student city in UK out of 63 university towns and cities in the 2023 NatWest Living Index, coming in second to Bournemouth and Cardiff. But does this actually mean Lincoln is a cheap place to study and live as a student?

Students are already infamous scrimpers and savers when it comes to living and as the cost of living goes up, it only gets worse for us. Here’s a look at how much things cost for a student in Lincoln compared to other university towns and cities to really see just how much “cheaper” Lincoln really is. 

Accommodation

It’s no surprise that the bulk of student’s money goes on accommodation, with many students having to look to other places outside of their loan to simply live in the town or city they study in. According to the 2023 survey by Save The Student, the average maintenance loan given to UK students is £5,952, so roughly £496 a month or £124 a week. 

In Lincoln alone, university owned accommodation costs between £95 to £180 a week, and that’s without the cost of food and the dreaded circuit laundry on top. Yes, we are fortunate enough to have the option of having a rent cost £95 a week, however this is only one of five accommodation options provided by the university.

Three of the options are all above £150 per week, and one just barely scrapes beneath that mark. Of course, we have many a choice of privately owned accommodation available from halls, to flats and houses but even then you’re lucky if your rent per week is under £135.

However, in comparison to other universities, Lincoln’s accommodation is definitely more cost effective. The average university-run accommodation for students at the University of Bath is £107 to £210 per week for non-catered rooms (an additional charge of roughly £50 per year is added on top for the catering), and for self-catered rooms you are looking at between £83 and £251 per week. EESH!

If you think that’s expensive UCLAN’s rent per week can go up to £347 per week! I don’t know about you but whoever chose those prices could never have been a student themselves.

If you think that’s expensive UCLAN’s rent per week can go up to £347 per week! I don’t know about you but whoever chose those prices could never have been a student themselves.

Unlike most people think, more often than not, students don’t live off just pot noodles and takeaways. We can’t afford the latter. After speaking to numerous students in Lincoln, the average they spend on an essential food shop is between £30 to £40, with extra bits added in on top throughout the week as and when needed, such as toiletries. With the main supermarkets being Morrisons, Tesco Extra and M&S, we are not given much choice when it comes to cost effective options. If you are lucky enough to have brought your car, you could easily travel to the Lidl or the closest Aldi, but for most whose only option is walking it is very limited.

Talking to people from other universities, it is clear that students in Lincoln are left spending more on a week’s worth of food. Over a week, one University of Bath student spends £10 in their local Sainsbury’s, a University of Brighton student spends £10 a week in Aldi, even a Kings College London student only spends £20 a week in Sainsbury’s. If a student in London can spend less than one in Lincoln I think something is seriously wrong here.

Drinks

Even when you don’t have the money, as a student it’s hard to say no to a few drinks with friends. Notoriously, Students’ Unions are supposed to be the cheapest place for you to get alcohol. But upon research, it seems that Lincoln’s SU bar and pub are on par with a lot of other universities. For a pint, you’re looking at between £4 to £5, which is pretty similar to the likes of Bath and UCLAN.

However, in comparison to Brighton where you are looking at about £6 to £7 per pint, Lincoln is in fact cheaper, but it is more than likely just because Brighton is down south that the prices are steeper. Coming from down south myself, it is a lot cheaper to buy alcohol up here in Lincoln than it is back home.

Yet, it still feels like some of the clubs around town offer some of the cheaper drinks, with prices starting at a low price of £2 to £3. Is that just because there’s a guarantee that most of their customers would be buying two or three, if not more, drinks during the night that they can offer such low prices?

On a Wednesday at Quack, the drinks prices are definitely lower than what you’d get on an average day at the SU bars, similar to those of some of the clubs. When talking to friends from other universities such as the ones previously mentioned, the drinks prices generally stay the same at around £4 to £5, so in that aspect, Lincoln can be considered a cheaper night out.

Having looked at three major aspects of a student’s university experience, you can see why Lincoln can be seen as one of the cheapest places for students to live and study. However, I would still say that using the term “cheap” should be done loosely, “cheaper” would be more appropriate. Despite prices being lower in comparison to other university cities and towns, life in Lincoln can still be expensive. With the rise in cost of living, students are becoming worse off and in recent years more students are relying on parental financial help or juggling more than one part-time job to make ends meet.