Everything I’ve learnt from living independently

India Wentworth
5 min readAug 22, 2021

To give you some background, I moved out when I went to uni in Leceister. I lived in halls for first year, then a student house for the remaining two years. For more on that go here. Then I moved home for a year to do my journalism studies, and travelled a bit too. Finally, I moved out properly in September 2020, so I’ve been out for nearly a year as I write this. For more on that move, go here.

Now you’re all caught up, let’s get into it. I’ve learnt a lot over the years of living independently, so I thought I’d share some of these learning curves, and any tips I can pass on. This could be helpful if you’re getting ready to go to uni, or if you’re moving away for the first time. As I disclaimer — I’m no expert, this is just things I’ve learnt along the way from personal experiences.

Food

Only now can I say I’ve really got this right. Cooking for one can be difficult, expensive, and wasteful if you don’t do it right. Also, when you’re in a houseshare you have limited space in the fridge/freezer, so you need to use your space and supplies wisely.

Meal plan — I do a meal plan every weekend for the week ahead. This covers lunches and dinners to make sure I don’t end up buying lunch out which gets expensive. Planning sounds boring, but if you know what you’re having, you save time working out what to cook, you only buy what you need, and you don’t waste anything. I tend to have ‘cheat days’ on Friday and Saturday nights, like a takeaway/meals out, but if you limit this then you don’t harm your bank balance, and you end up looking forward to it because it’s a treat.

Shopping trips — Only do this once a week. Avoid little and often because that’s when you buy things you don’t need and end up spending way more. Having one ‘big shop’ a week which lasts you seven days means you have to stick with what you’ve bought, and you also keep track of what you’re spending on food per month which

makes it easier to budget. Where you shop is important too. Don’t be a snob. Shopping in Waitrose in your early 20s isn’t normal. Mix it up and get what you can from Lidl/Aldi, then if you’re like me and need some certain brands, get the rest from one of the other stores like Tesco/ASDA etc.

Freezing — Whenever I have a couple of hours free, I do some bulk cooking. A big chilli, bolognese, curry, it all helps future you when you need a quick meal. Having these plans ready to go saves…

India Wentworth
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Trainee journalist — NCTJ qualified with 100wpm shorthand