In times of hardship, knowing where to turn for support can make all the difference. Whether you’re facing financial difficulties, emotional struggles, or just need some guidance on the next steps in life, there are resources available to help.

This article highlights key avenues for support, including what the Benevolent Society of Blues (BSB) and other organisations can offer.

Support from the Benevolent Society of Blues (BSB)

The BSB is steadfast in its commitment to the ‘old blues’, offering an array of support services tailored to various needs.

Whether you’re a recent graduate navigating post-university uncertainties or an ‘old blue’ confronting financial or health-related adversities, BSB is here to assist.

Financial Assistance
Providing financial support in the form of a grant for items like a specialist bed, or a replacement cooker can be one small act that improves the wellbeing of an old blue and provides them with the security that they need.

Knowing that they have the support of the BSB if they ever need it, provides security and continuity that perhaps they need either for a specific period in their life or that may continue as long-term support.

Later in Life
For a percentage of Old Blues, later in life can become particularly challenging with health issues or mobility issues. Remember, even 50 or 60 years on – this is where the BSB can provide support.

Career and Educational Guidance
The BSB offers support through a choice of grants and loans to help Old Blues to advance their careers.

Practical Support
Many Old Blues can suffer from isolation, bereavement, ill health and financial hardship and this can affect anyone when we least expect. The BSB strives to provide a safe and secure environment in these circumstances. This help can be in the form of advice on utility bills through to helping with heating and specialist furniture to improve the quality of life.

Extending Beyond BSB: Other Vital Sources of Support

In times of need, the wider community and specific organisations stand ready to provide assistance:

Taking the Initial Step Towards Support
The act of seeking help is the first stride towards overcoming obstacles. It’s essential to recognise that reaching out is a testament to strength, not a weakness.

Through the support available from BSB and other networks, navigating through tough periods becomes a journey shared with a supportive community behind you.

Social and Recreational Opportunities
Engaging in social activities can significantly impact one’s mental health and sense of community. BSB encourages participation in events and social gatherings, promoting a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.

Legal Advice
Access to legal counsel for personal or professional issues can be indispensable. BSB can guide you to legal resources or services that offer free or subsidised support.

How to Access BSB Support
To reach out for BSB’s support, visit our contact page or call us directly. Our team is prepared to listen and direct you towards the appropriate support you require.

Additionally, BSB’s online resource centre is a treasure trove of information, guides, and articles designed to help in various aspects of life.

The Importance of Community in Times of Hardship
In the journey through hardship, the value of a supportive community cannot be overstated. Sharing experiences, advice, and simply knowing you’re not alone can be incredibly comforting and empowering.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of the 21st century, the set of skills adults need to navigate life effectively has broadened significantly. The traditional competencies of managing finances or maintaining a household are now joined by the need for adaptability, technological proficiency, and an ongoing commitment to learning.

This article delves into the essential life skills that modern adults require, aimed at empowering individuals to thrive in today’s complex world.

Financial Literacy: Beyond Basic Budgeting

Financial literacy is foundational in achieving personal and financial stability. It involves a comprehensive understanding of how to manage money, including budgeting, saving, investing, and planning for retirement.

With economic fluctuations and the complexity of financial markets, being well-versed in financial matters enables informed decision-making for a secure future.

Understanding Modern Financial Tools
The digital age has introduced a plethora of tools and resources designed to enhance our financial management capabilities. From apps that help track spending and savings to platforms offering investment advice, technology plays a pivotal role in demystifying finance.

Embracing these tools can lead to more effective money management and financial growth.

The Importance of Financial Planning
Effective financial planning is crucial in navigating the cost of living crisis and ensuring long-term financial security. This includes setting realistic financial goals, understanding the basics of investments, and planning for retirement.

Educating oneself on these topics can transform the way we approach our finances, making a significant impact on our overall financial well-being.

Digital Proficiency: The Cornerstone of Modern Living

As technology permeates every facet of daily life, digital literacy has become a key skill for modern adults. This encompasses not only the ability to use digital devices and navigate the internet but also an understanding of cybersecurity, digital ethics, and managing one’s digital footprint.

Navigating the Digital Landscape
The internet is a vast repository of information, offering endless opportunities for learning, entertainment, and social connection. However, it also poses challenges and risks, such as misinformation and privacy concerns.

Developing a critical eye for evaluating online content and understanding the basics of online privacy and security are essential skills for the modern adult.

Leveraging Technology for Personal and Professional Growth
Technology offers numerous tools and platforms to enhance personal development and career advancement. From online courses that facilitate lifelong learning to digital networks that expand professional connections, leveraging technology can lead to significant personal and professional growth.

Adaptability and Continuous Learning: The Keys to Future Success

The only constant in today’s world is change. Adaptability and a commitment to continuous learning are therefore critical life skills. This means being open to new experiences, willing to acquire new knowledge, and flexible in the face of change.

Embracing Change
Change can be daunting, but it also brings opportunities for growth and improvement. Cultivating a mindset that embraces change rather than fearing it can lead to personal development and new possibilities.

Lifelong Learning
The pursuit of knowledge doesn’t end with formal education. The modern world offers a myriad of avenues for learning, from online courses and workshops to podcasts and webinars. Engaging in continuous learning not only enhances personal and professional skills but also keeps us relevant in an ever-changing world.


The skills required by modern adults extend far beyond the basics of past generations. Financial literacy, digital proficiency, adaptability, and continuous learning are not just desirable; they are essential for navigating the complexities of modern life. By embracing these skills, individuals can not only enhance their personal and professional lives but also contribute positively to the world around them.

In an increasingly competitive job market, standing out amongst a pool of candidates can often seem like a daunting task. For anyone seeking ways to bolster their employability, the development of transferable skills could be your ticket to success. In this article, we’ll guide you on identifying, developing and harnessing these transferable skills to improve your job application prospects.

What are Transferable Skills?

Transferable skills are abilities that can be applied across a variety of job roles and industries. They are not industry-specific and are valued by employers across all sectors. These skills range from soft skills like communication, problem-solving and teamwork, to hard skills like proficiency in a foreign language or data analysis.

Identifying Your Transferable Skills

You may already possess an array of transferable skills without even realising it. These could have been honed throughout your educational journey, in your personal life, or during previous employment.

Think broadly and critically about your experiences: were you the one people turned to for resolving disputes, suggesting you have strong mediation skills? Have you managed a personal blog, indicating writing and content creation skills? Even experiences like volunteering, participating in sports, or helping organise community events can provide a rich source of transferable skills.

Developing Your Transferable Skills

Once you’ve identified your existing skills, it’s time to focus on expanding them. Here are some strategies to help you along:

  1. Continued Education: Formal education isn’t the only way to acquire new skills. Online courses, workshops, and seminars can provide valuable knowledge and expertise in various fields. Linkedin and Youtube are great places to find free resources for developing your transferable skill set.
  2. Volunteering: This provides an excellent opportunity to apply your skills in a real-world context and acquire new ones. Local charities are always looking for volunteers so why not reach out and see if they need any help.
  3. Networking: Engaging with professionals in your desired field can give you insights into the skills that are in high demand. Joining industry relevant groups can also provide a wealth of information on developing your transferable skills.
  4. Mentorship: Find a mentor who can guide you in your career and help you develop the necessary skills. Does your place of work/organisation offer a mentoring programme? Join linkedin groups that interest you and start participating in conversations that interest you. Follow 5 people who inspire you. Whilst they may never mentor you directly, their advice and insights can be really helpful with your professional and personal transferable skills development.
  5. Self-Practice: Regular practice helps you to improve any skill. Whether it’s public speaking, writing, or coding, dedicate time each day for practice. 15 minutes a day might not seem a lot but its cumulative effects can make a big difference.

Why employers value transferable skills

In an ever-evolving job market, employers are continually seeking individuals who can adapt to new challenges and thrive in various environments. Here are some key reasons why transferable skills are highly sought after by employers:

Adaptability: Employees with a diverse range of transferable skills are often more adaptable to change. Whether it’s shifting market trends or sudden changes in job roles, these individuals can adjust more efficiently and effectively.

Problem Solving: Transferable skills like critical thinking and problem-solving enable employees to tackle complex situations, often saving time and resources for the company.

Future-Proofing: The future of work is uncertain with emerging technologies and shifting job roles. Employees with strong transferable skills are more resilient to these changes, ensuring their ongoing value to the company.

Team Synergy: Skills such as communication, collaboration and leadership can significantly enhance the effectiveness of a team. Employers value individuals who can work harmoniously with others and contribute to a positive work environment.

Performance and Productivity: Employees who have honed a range of transferable skills are often more efficient in their tasks and can yield higher productivity. This efficiency can lead to improved overall performance for the business.

Reduced Training Costs: Employers can save on training costs when they hire individuals with a solid foundation of transferable skills. These employees are typically quicker to train and can often self-direct their learning in new areas.

The emphasis on transferable skills in recruitment highlights their vital role in the modern workplace. As a job seeker, focusing on these skills can help you align with employers’ needs and significantly increase your employability.

Showcasing Your Transferable Skills

Now you have a plethora of transferable skills, how do you showcase them when it matters?

Employers look for evidence of transferable skills in job applications, interviews, and even on LinkedIn profiles. Make sure to:

Transferable skills are your secret weapon in the job market. By identifying, developing, and showcasing them, you can significantly enhance your employability and open up a world of opportunities. After all, the skills that can be carried from one job to the next are, quite simply, the skills that carry you forward.

Transferable Skills: Not Just for Work

The power of transferable skills isn’t just limited to the world of employment. They can also play a crucial role in enhancing your personal life.

Effective communication is key in maintaining healthy relationships with family, friends and acquaintances. Skills like active listening and clear, respectful articulation of your thoughts can foster understanding and harmony in your personal interactions.

Life is filled with unexpected challenges. Problem-solving skills enable you to navigate these challenges, helping you to find practical solutions and make reasoned decisions under pressure.

Balancing work, personal commitments, hobbies, and rest is an art. By improving your time management skills, you can make the most of your day and ensure each aspect of your life receives the attention it needs.

Emotional Intelligence encompasses empathy, self-awareness, and emotional regulation. Developing emotional intelligence can lead to better mental health, more satisfying relationships, and a stronger understanding of your own emotions and those of others.

Whatever your circumstances, life is a series of changes and transitions. Adaptability can help you navigate these with resilience, enabling you to adjust to new circumstances, whether it’s moving to a new city, beginning a new phase of life, or dealing with unexpected situations.

Leadership isn’t only about leading a team at work. It’s also about taking responsibility for your actions, influencing others positively, and taking initiative in your personal life.

Understanding financial concepts and managing your money effectively through financial literacy is a crucial skill for achieving financial independence and security.

By developing and utilising transferable skills in your personal life, you can improve relationships, make better decisions, and live a more balanced, fulfilling life. These skills truly are “transferable” in every sense of the word.

Whatever your situation, transferable skills play a pivotal role in not only enhancing your job prospects, but also enriching your personal life. By identifying and developing these skills, you can position yourself as an adaptable, future-ready candidate in a competitive job market. Moreover, these skills can equip you to better navigate personal challenges and build stronger relationships.

From communication and problem-solving to leadership and financial literacy, these abilities are truly versatile. Remember, every experience in life provides an opportunity to learn and grow. Embrace these opportunities, and you’ll find yourself amassing a treasure trove of transferable skills that will propel you forward in both your professional and personal journey.

In an increasingly digital world, understanding the dangers that lurk in the shadows of the online realm has become crucial. Today we’ll guide you through the fundamentals of understanding online threats, password security, internet browsing safety, protecting personal information, safeguarding devices, and cybersecurity best practices.

Understanding Online Threats

The Internet is a bustling metropolis, but just like any city, it has its share of threats. Recognising these dangers is the first step in securing your digital existence. Four of the most common threats are:

Malware, short for malicious software, refers to various types of harmful software designed to damage, disrupt, or gain unauthorised access to a computer system.It  is harmful software that infiltrates your system without your consent, disrupting functionality, stealing sensitive information, or gaining access to private computer systems. This includes

Viruses, which can replicate themselves and spread to other devices;

Worms, which exploit vulnerabilities to infect systems;

Trojans, which pose as legitimate software to trick users into installing them; ransomware, which encrypts files and demands a ransom for their release;

Spyware, which covertly gathers information about a user or organisation without their knowledge.

Malware can be spread in numerous ways, including through malicious websites, email attachments, and infected software downloads. Its impacts can range from annoying pop-up ads to serious theft of sensitive data, damage to files, and complete system failure.

Phishing scams involve fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive data like usernames, passwords, and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity. Phishing typically occurs via email, where users are directed to a fake website and tricked into entering personal information.

Identity theft happens when someone obtains and uses your personal information to commit fraud or other crimes. It can lead to financial loss and significant time and stress to rectify.

Finally, cyberbullying is the use of digital communication tools to intimidate, harass, or threaten others. It’s a prevalent issue for young people, with devastating emotional consequences.

Password Security

Passwords act as your first line of defence in the online world. Having strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts is essential.

A secure password is typically at least 12 characters long and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid obvious choices, like names, birthdays, or common words. Remember, each account should have a unique password to limit the damage if one account is compromised.

To help manage multiple complex passwords, consider using a password manager, such as 1password. Password management software provides a secure tool that stores all your passwords.

More importantly, never share your passwords with others, even close friends or family.

Internet Browsing Safety

The art of safe internet browsing involves avoiding dangerous websites, employing ad-blockers, and understanding the potential risks of social media.

Many browsers have safety features that alert you to potentially harmful websites. Regularly updating your browser ensures that you have the most up-to-date security features. Ad-blockers can prevent malicious ads, which can sometimes contain malware, from appearing on your screen.

Social media is a double-edged sword. While it allows us to stay connected, it can also expose us to risks. Always be cautious about the information you share, and ensure your accounts have robust privacy settings.

Protecting Personal Information

Taking steps to protect your personal information online is crucial to prevent identity theft and safeguard your privacy.

Avoid sharing sensitive information over public Wi-Fi networks, as they may not be secure, and your data could be accessible to cybercriminals.

Adjust your social media privacy settings to limit what others can see about you. Be careful about the amount of personal information you share online, as every piece of information can potentially be used by identity thieves.

Protecting Devices

Protecting your devices from online threats is an integral part of internet safety. Keeping your operating system and software updated ensures that you have the latest security patches. Reliable antivirus software can protect your device from a myriad of threats, including malware, ransomware, and spyware.

Avoid downloading files or applications from unknown sources as they could potentially carry harmful malware.

Cybersecurity Best Practices

Finally, let’s discuss some general cybersecurity best practices.

Always be wary of suspicious emails and messages, especially those asking for personal information or urging you to click on a link. These could be phishing attempts.

Avoid clicking on unknown links, as they can lead to malicious websites or download malware onto your device/computer. If you receive an email, from a supposed respected source, that seems to good to be true, unexpected or just plain suspicious, contact the organisation who sent it, separately and directly – never respond to/interact with the message/email you’ve received.

Regularly backing up important data is a good practice. In case your device gets compromised, a backup ensures you don’t lose precious information. Using cloud services or external drives are common methods of backing up data.

Additionally, enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts provides an extra layer of security. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security measure that requires two types of identification for you to access an account or system.

Typically, the first layer is something you know, such as a password or pin number. The second layer is something you have or something inherent to you. This could be a text message sent to your mobile phone (something you have), a fingerprint scan (something inherent to you), or even a facial recognition process.

By requiring two separate and distinct forms of identification, 2FA significantly increases the difficulty for unauthorised users to gain access to your accounts or devices, even if they’ve obtained your password, providing an added layer of protection against online threats.

When using social media, avoid accepting friend or follow requests from unknown people. Cybercriminals often create fake profiles to gain access to your information.

Moreover, make sure you log out of your accounts when using public computers, and regularly check your financial and digital accounts for any irregularities or suspicious activity.

In Conclusion

In this digital age, protecting yourself online is no longer optional – it’s a necessity.

Understanding the threats, implementing robust password security, exercising caution while browsing, protecting personal information, safeguarding your devices, and adhering to cybersecurity best practices are all key components of staying safe in the online realm.

Online safety is an ongoing process, not a one-time task. Cyber threats continue to evolve, so your protection methods must evolve too. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and you’ll vastly increase your chances of keeping your digital life secure.

Remember, the best defence is a strong offence. Protecting your digital self might seem daunting, but with a good plan, the right knowledge and tools, you can navigate the online world with confidence and ease.

In these uncertain times, dramatic increases in the cost of living can be overwhelming, but with the right mindset, you can take control of your finances. In this article we look at useful information on budgeting, reducing expenses, and managing debt.

Budgeting and financial planning strategies

Budgeting and financial planning are key components of saving money during the cost-of-living crisis. One of the most effective ways to get a handle on your finances is to create a budget. This means taking a look at your income and expenses, and figuring out where you can cut back.

Start by listing all of your income sources, such as your salary, any benefits you receive, and any other money that comes into your household. Then, make a list of all of your expenses, including rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, food, transportation, and any other regular expenses.

Once you have a clear picture of your income and expenses, you can start to make changes. Look for areas where you can reduce your spending, such as by cutting back on unnecessary subscriptions or memberships, or by finding cheaper alternatives for regular purchases like groceries.

Another important aspect of financial planning is setting goals. Whilst putting a little aside each month can be difficult, actively focusing on saving for a rainy day, paying off debt, or saving for a big purchase can help you stay motivated and focused on your budget.

Tips you can use to help reduce your household bills

Shop around for better deals: When it comes to big-ticket items like appliances or electronics, don’t just settle for the first price you see. Shop around and compare prices from different retailers to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.

Cut back on eating out: Eating out can be a major expense, especially if you do it often. Try to cook more meals at home, and bring your lunch to work or school instead of buying it. You’ll save money and probably eat healthier too.

Use energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs: This can help you save on your energy bills over time. Not only are they more energy efficient, but they also tend to last longer.

Take advantage of free or low-cost entertainment options: Instead of spending a lot of money on movies or concerts, look for free or low-cost entertainment options in your community such as local parks, libraries, or community centres.

Be mindful of subscriptions and memberships: It’s easy to lose track of all the subscriptions and memberships we have. Take a look at all of your recurring expenses and cancel anything that you’re not using or don’t need.

How to negotiate bills and reduce recurring costs

Negotiating bills and reducing recurring costs is a great way to save money on your household expenses. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Don’t be afraid to haggle: When it comes to bills, remember that you’re not stuck with the prices that are quoted to you. Call up your service providers and ask if there are any discounts or promotions that you can take advantage of. You’ll be surprised how often you can get a better deal just by asking.

Bundle your services: If you use multiple services from the same provider, see if you can bundle them together for a discounted rate. For example, if you have internet, premium television and home phone with the same company, ask if they can give you a package deal.

Review your bills regularly: Take a look at your bills every month and see if there are any charges that you don’t recognise. If you find any, call the service provider and ask them to explain it. Sometimes, they will be able to give you a refund or credit for any mistakes.

Consider switching providers: If you’re not happy with the service or the prices you’re currently paying, consider switching to a new provider. Do your research and compare the prices and services of different companies to find the best deal.

Automate your bill payments: This can help you avoid late fees and penalties. Set up automatic payments so you don’t have to worry about remembering to pay your bills on time.

Remember, don’t be afraid to negotiate and ask for discounts, it’s always worth a try.

Managing debt

Managing debt and improving credit are important steps in achieving financial stability. One of the most effective ways to manage debt is to create a budget (we’ve highlighted some great hints and tips on how you can achieve this earlier), and more importantly, stick to it. This means taking a close look at your income and expenses and figuring out where you can cut back. By reducing your expenses, you’ll be able to put more money towards paying off your debt.

When it comes to paying off your debts, it’s important to prioritise which ones to pay off first. Start by paying off the debts with the highest interest rates first, as they will be the most expensive in the long run. If you’re not sure which to prioritise, give each lender a ring, or drop them an email and ask them what exactly you are paying what are the interest rates and where the money is being allocated. Add these to a list so you can keep track of what goes where.

If you have multiple debts with different interest rates, consider consolidating them into one loan with a lower interest rate. Doing this can make it easier to manage your debt and save you money in the long run. However, it’s important to ensure that this strategy works for you and your specific financial situation, and consider the pros and more importantly the cons before consolidating your debt.

Trouble managing your debt? You’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help. There are organisations that can help you with debt management and credit counselling, we’ve listed 3 below that you may find useful, and they can help you create a plan to manage and reduce your debt and improve your credit score.

  1. Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) –
  2. StepChange Debt Charity –
  3. National Debtline –

These organisations can provide free and confidential advice as well as a variety of resources and tools to help you manage your debt and improve your credit. They can help you with budgeting, negotiating with creditors, and creating a plan to get out of debt. Whichever you decide to approach, it’s worthwhile doing your own research and evaluate whether that organisation best fits your needs.

Save on your travel costs

With fuel prices at a record high, finding alternatives to using/owning a car can be a great way to save on your travel costs and stretch your budget to make your money go further. 

When looking to travel in the near future, one the best ways to save money is to plan ahead. Book your trains, buses or coaches in advance to take advantage of early bird discounts, and try to avoid peak travel times when prices tend to be higher.

Another way to save money on travel is to compare prices. Before you book anything, compare prices from different train, bus or coach companies. Websites such as The Trainline and Megabus are a great way to compare prices, and check for deals and discounts. 

If you’re planning on taking multiple train journeys, consider getting a railcard.  These cards can give you up to a third off most train fares, and they’re available for a variety of groups such as students, seniors, and families.

What if you don’t qualify for a railcard? Look to split your journeys to make savings on ticket prices. Websites such as the Trainline can suggest split fares and show you the savings you can make by buying split tickets. 

Instead of taking the train, why not consider taking a bus or coach, especially for shorter journeys. Companies such as National Express offer low-cost options, and you can save even more by booking in advance.

If your destination is nearby, consider walking or if you have a bike that’s been locked away in a shed or garage, why not cycle?. It’s a great way to see the sights and get some exercise, whilst saving money too!

By doing your research and choosing alternative methods of transport , you can save money on your travel and have more money to spend elsewhere. Remember, a little bit of planning and research can go a long way when it comes to saving on travel costs.

The cost of living crisis has been making headlines and affecting households around the globe. With prices for essential goods increasing faster than household incomes, it has become increasingly difficult for many people to make ends meet. 

In this post, we aim to provide you with strategies and tips for cutting your grocery bill during this difficult time. 

Our goal is to help you make the most of your grocery budget. With the right approach, it is possible to reduce your bill and make your money go further.

Create a meal plan for the week

Meal planning can be a great way to save money on groceries. By planning meals in advance, you can ensure that you have all the ingredients you need on hand, which reduces the need for last-minute trips to the store. 

Start by making a list of meals: Think about what meals you and your family enjoy, and make a list of meals that you can rotate throughout the week.

Make a schedule: Decide what days of the week you will be eating at home and plan your meals accordingly.

Plan for leftovers: Incorporate leftovers into your meal plan for the week. For example, if you are cooking a roast chicken on Monday, you can use the leftovers for a chicken salad or soup on Tuesday.

Another tip is to be flexible when it comes to meal planning, plan meals that can be easily adapted or used in different ways to avoid getting bored and make the most of the ingredients you have.

But don’t worry if you’re stuck for ideas, there are some great cookbooks you could try… here are four to look up.

  1. Cook Once, Eat fall week: 26 Weeks of Gluten-Free, Affordable Meal Prep to Preserve Your Time & Sanity by Cassy Joy Garcia 
  2. Save with Jamie by Jamie Oliver
  3. The Busy Mum’s Plan-ahead Cookbook by Sarah Flower
  4. One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More: A Cookbook by Martha Stewart Living

Create a shopping list

Creating a shopping list before heading to the store is one of the simplest and most effective ways to stay on budget. Having a list of the items you need helps to ensure that you only purchase what you need and reduces the chance of impulse buying.

A list means you can plan which ingredients go together so you can buy what you need to make each meal and avoid unused vegetables going out of date at the bottom of your fridge.

It also makes sure you get everything you need for your meal plan so you can reduce unnecessary trips to the local store during the week.

Buying in bulk

Buying in bulk can be a great way to save money on groceries, especially for non-perishable items such as rice, pasta, cereal, and other pantry staples. Buying in bulk allows you to take advantage of discounts, which can help you save money in the long run.

A good strategy is to compare prices of the items you want to buy in bulk, between different stores. This way you can make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. Supermarket price comparison websites like Trolly and Priceable allow you to compare prices of 1000s of products from the UK’s top supermarkets.

Seasonal produce

One way to save money on groceries is to buy seasonal produce. Fruits and vegetables that are in season are often cheaper and taste better than those that are out of season.

Additionally, buying seasonal produce helps to support local farmers and reduces the environmental impact of transportation.

When buying seasonal produce, you can check for information about the seasonal calendar for fruits and vegetables, available online or at the local market.  The British Dietetic Association have created this handy list which shows which fruit and vegetables are in season in UK.

Buying house brands

Another way to save money on groceries is to buy generic brands. Generic brands are often just as good as their more expensive counterparts and can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

When shopping for generic brands, it’s a good idea to compare the prices and the ingredients of the products. Sometimes, the difference in price can be insignificant and the ingredients might be the same. It’s also a good idea to read reviews or ask friends and family for recommendations for good generic brands.

Discount stores

Discount stores can be a great resource for saving money on groceries. These stores often offer a wide variety of products at lower prices than traditional retailers. Shopping at discount stores can also help you save money on non-grocery items such as household goods and clothing.

As with other items you buy, it’s important to be mindful of the expiration dates on products and check the products’ quality before purchasing them.

Vouchers and rewards programs

Vouchers and rewards programs can be a great way to save money on your supermarket shop. Many stores offer discounts and other savings opportunities for customers, here are a few from the UK’s largest supermarkets:

Tesco Clubcard: Tesco’s Clubcard program provides customers with access to exclusive deals on groceries and over 100 Reward Partners. 

Sainsbury’s Nectar: Sainsbury’s Nectar program rewards customers with points for every pound they spend in-store or online. These points can be spent in-store or online.

My Morrisons: My Morrisons program rewards customers with personalised offers on the things they buy the most. 

When using rewards programs, it’s important to read the terms and conditions carefully and to make sure that the offer is still valid before using it.

Tips for avoiding impulse purchases

Impulse purchases can be a major budget-buster, especially when it comes to groceries. 

We’ve already talked about the importance of having a list. Another tip is to leave your credit cards at home and to only bring the cash you need to make your purchases, this way you will be more mindful of the spending and avoid impulse purchases. 

It is also helpful to wait a moment and think before purchasing an item, asking yourself if you really need the item and if it is worth the money you will spend on it.

Living during a cost-of-living crisis can be tough, especially when it comes to grocery shopping. However, by following the strategies outlined in this post, you can save money on your grocery bill and make your budget stretch further. 

It’s important to remember that saving money on groceries takes time and practice, but it’s worth it in the long run. Try incorporating these tips into your grocery shopping routine, and see how much you can save.

Managing your time effectively is one of the biggest challenges for new university students. University can be a lot less structured compared to school or college, often with fewer formal classes to attend (although it depends on your subject). You need to be able to manage your own time in order to complete your assignments, review material, and revise for exams.

To make the most of the time you have, you can use a range of techniques for good time management. If you’re a first-year student, you can benefit from some of the tips we’ve put together to help you manage your time effectively.

Optimise Your Environment

The first thing you can start with is making sure you’re in the right environment to study. There are plenty of different places you can work when you’re at uni, which give you options depending on what you prefer. You could choose somewhere public like the library, or you might prefer to be somewhere more private like your own room.Wherever you choose to work, try to remove any distractions. You might do this by finding a quiet corner of the library, turning off your phone or putting it on silent, and making sure you’re not watching TV or anything else. Ask your housemates and friends to allow you time on your own without distracting you. Some people find music helps to block out distractions, but others might find that music is distracting in itself.

If you’re in your room, you could decorate it so it’s a calming environment for studying. Plants can have a calming effect, for example, so you might find they help you to concentrate if you’re allowed them.

Struggling to get things done? Try a change of scenery to see if it helps you.

Weekly Planning

Getting organised is one of the most helpful things you can do if you want to boost your productivity. When you’re organised, you don’t waste time trying to figure out what you should be doing or flicking from one activity to another. Weekly planning will help you to lay out what you need to do, which lectures, seminars, or labs you have to attend, and how you can fit your work around other activities. Sit down at the beginning or end of the week to map out your plan for the coming week with a timetable or a list of things to do.

Weekly Reviews

Weekly reviews are excellent for reinforcing anything you’ve just learned. They give you a chance to go over the subjects you’ve covered during the week. You can take a look at notes you’ve taken or any extra material you might have been given, including slides, documents, or printed information. Set aside some time at the end of each week, or at any point in the week that you feel could be a good time for a review. Just an hour or so reviewing what you’ve learned can help you to clarify anything you don’t understand and remember the lessons you’ve covered.

Track Your Time

Managing your time can be tricky if you find it hard to keep track of how much time has passed. Do you know how long it takes you to write 500 words? Can you judge when half an hour has gone by? Tracking your time can help you to work out how to use it more effectively.
If you need help with tracking your time, there are apps that can help you to do it. Some examples of apps you can use include Toggl, HourStack, and Eternity. You can use these apps not just to track your time but to organise and prioritise tasks too.

How to Prioritise Tasks

Prioritising your workload can be really tough if you’re finding it difficult to manage your time and productivity. When you have a lot of things to do with different deadlines, it’s not always easy to know what you should be doing first. Do you prioritise by deadline, workload, difficulty, or something else? One of the best approaches can be to do your hardest task first. Once you have the most difficult task out of the way, the rest of your work can feel like a breeze. Your most difficult task won’t necessarily be the longest. It could be the thing that you find most challenging or hard to understand.

Setting Realistic Deadlines

Setting deadlines is a must if you want to be productive and manage your time. You will have deadlines set for you for some of your work, but it’s important not to leave everything until the last minute. Setting your own deadlines will help you to manage your workload more easily, especially if you have several pieces of work due at once. It’s important to be able to manage your own expectations when you set deadlines. Don’t be too optimistic about how you’re going to use your time, but be realistic about how long something will really take you to finish.

Making Use of Time Blocking and Breaks

Time blocking is a smart technique that can help you to be productive. Everyone has a different attention span, but research has shown that we can probably only concentrate for about 90 minutes before we need a break. It’s especially important to take breaks if you’re using a screen so that you can give your eyes a rest. You’re not going to get square eyes, but you could start to feel the strain after a while. Try blocking your time and taking regular breaks. 90 minutes of working followed by a 15-minute break is a good place to start, but you can find your own rhythm.

The Importance of Self-Care

Remember the importance of taking care of yourself if you want to be productive. It’s difficult to be at your best mentally if you don’t care for yourself physically. Regular exercise, good nutrition, and plenty of quality sleep all contribute to a healthy mind. It’s easy to stay active while at university. Join a sports club or go to the gym to keep fit on your own or with others. Eating cheaply and healthily is possible too. Try some cookbooks or recipe blogs designed for students and eating on a budget for ideas. You should try to keep to a good sleep schedule too, even if you have some late nights.

By managing your time well, you can be more productive and reach your goals in your first year at university. Once you’ve completed your first year, you’ll feel ready to tackle the rest of your course.

Stress is something that affects us all in different ways. As a student, one of your major sources of difficulty is likely to be your academic workload. Other things can cause you to feel overwhelmed too, including relationships, money, and work. However, there are healthy ways to deal with stress and manage it so that it doesn’t affect you negatively.

What Is Stress?

We often think of stress as something negative, but it’s not always a bad thing. A certain amount can motivate us, push us to work hard, and build resilience. It is a response to things in our life that we can usually control, and which we can take steps to manage better. But stress can also become overwhelming and difficult to manage. It can cause feelings of anxiety and make it difficult to achieve what we want, instead of pushing us to work hard.

How Do Students Experience Stress?

Students can find that they are affected by stress in numerous ways. It’s natural to feel somewhat stressed when you’re at university. You have academic pressure, plus you might be managing various other issues that make your experience at uni even harder. Nearly half of students in the UK feel stressed by their course, although exactly how much varies by institution.

How to Recognise Academic Stress

When you’re feeling stressed, you might react in a few different ways. It might make you want to avoid things, or you might find it difficult to get things done. You can be physically affected by these feelings too, experiencing symptoms of anxiety such as an increased heart rate or headaches. Or you can experience emotional and psychological symptoms, from feeling panicked and anxious to finding it difficult to sleep.

How to Manage Stress

Stress is to be expected when you’re at university, but if you’re finding it overwhelming, there are ways to manage it. With the right techniques, you can make sure that it doesn’t affect you too much. You can even use small amounts of pressure to your advantage to help yourself be more driven.


Mindfulness is an excellent method for managing stress. People often feel anxiety because they are overwhelmed by thoughts and feelings about the past and future. Perhaps you’re worried about an essay that wasn’t marked too highly or about an upcoming exam. Mindfulness aims to get you focusing on the here and now, so you can keep calm and take things one step at a time. If you want to practise mindfulness, you might find that a guided mindfulness session is helpful. You can use an app or find a video or podcast online to guide you through your practice.

Get Physical

Frequent exercise is great for helping you deal with stress. When you exercise regularly, it helps you to process feelings of worry and anxiety through a physical outlet. There are lots of ways to be more active, and you don’t have to go to the gym if you don’t want to. You could join a sports club, go for a run, do some yoga in your room, or attend an exercise class. But your uni gym can also be great value if you want to make use of it.

Connect with Others

Spending time with other people makes stress easier to handle too. When you spend time with others, it gives you the opportunity to forget about your worries and focus on other things. Alternatively, it can be a good outlet if you feel like having a moan or you want to talk to your friends or coursemates about the things that are making you worried. It can make you feel less alone to learn that other students are also experiencing the same problems.

Manage Your Time Effectively

Stress can overwhelm you if you’re struggling to manage your time effectively. When you don’t have a handle on how you divide your time between different commitments and activities, you can find yourself having to rush to finish work or facing multiple assignments all at once. There are lots of techniques you can use to make the best use of your time. Try planning ahead and setting deadlines so that you can decide what you need to do and when in advance.

Get Quality Sleep

If you’re not sleeping well, it can have a significant effect on your stress levels. Poor quality sleep or not enough sleep can affect you in many ways, including changing your mood, making it hard to concentrate, and making it more difficult to deal with your emotions. Even though there are times when you might stay up late, whether because you’re enjoying yourself or trying to finish some work, it’s important to try and sleep well on a consistent basis. Quality sleep can tie into good time management. Try not to stay up too late too often.

Don’t Rely on Stimulants

It’s tempting to turn to substances that can keep you awake and focused when you’re stressed, whether it’s caffeine or something stronger. It might seem like the answer to your problems, but it could end up making things worse. If you’re using stimulants to help you focus, you can end up dealing with big crashes in mood and energy when they wear off. You might find that you actually end up making yourself more overwhelmed and anxious, rather than improving matters.

Avoid Procrastination

It’s so easy to fall victim to procrastination, especially when you convince yourself you have plenty of time to do something. Procrastination can also be tempting when you’re feeling stressed because avoiding your work seems easier compared to actually getting it done. However, the longer you put something off, the more pressure you can start to feel. You’re going to be under more pressure trying to get an essay written in 24 hours than you would be planning ahead and finishing with time to spare. Avoid procrastination and plan your time effectively to get your work done.

Taking steps to manage stress can help to make your time at university much more fun. Get on top of stress before it overwhelms you.

If you’re thinking of taking a gap year after finishing school, you’re in good company. Many young people decide to take a year out after school to enjoy different experiences, something which can prove very valuable for your future career.

Taking a gap year can be a fun, exciting and rewarding experience. But it’s important to make it worthwhile and not treat it as simply ‘time off’.” A future employer will want to see you did something worthwhile and didn’t simply waste a year.

If you want to make the most of your gap year, take a look at some of the following tips and ideas.

Start thinking about it today (don’t wait until Christmas!)

Planning a gap year isn’t something to be taken lightly. While you’ll want to enjoy the summer post-exams with your friends, it’s good to start putting a plan in place ready for the autumn when your friends start going to university.

Start thinking about you want to do and what you want to get out of your gap year. The longer you leave it, the less time you’ll have to make it happen.

Do your research

Most gap year plans need a lot of research, so start looking into what you want to do and how you’re going to do it.

There are a lot of fantastic gap year resources from UCAS to help you find the information you need to plan your gap year.

Speak to others who have done it

A good way to learn more about a gap year (and maybe to manage your expectations!), is to speak to others who have done it. Gap year forums are a great place to start, helping you learn more about other people’s experiences.

Talk to friends and family who may have done a gap year. They’ll be able to share their top tips as well as lessons learnt to help you make the most of your own gap year.

Take a look at gap year companies

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by gap year options, or need some help getting organised, take a look at gap year companies. Gap year companies can organise experiences on your behalf, taking care of placements, volunteer opportunities and travel – making them ideal if you’re not very organised, or you’d prefer to be in a group setting.

Make sure any gap year company you engage with is genuine. Do your research carefully and don’t hand over any money or personal information until you’re sure that you’re dealing with a legitimate company.

Make a plan

With a clear idea of what you’re going to do on your gap year, it’s time to make a plan. Your plan should include where you’re going to be and when, what you’re going to need to get there and details of any money or travel you’re going to need.

It might help to talk through your gap year plan with someone else to make sure you’ve included everything and haven’t left out any important details.

Plan your gap year budget

Preparing a budget is going to be vital during your gap year. Will you need to work first to fund your travels? What will you do with any money earned during your gap year?

Use a budget planner to help you work out how much money you’re going to need and how you’re going to juggle your outgoings with your living and travel costs.

Get organised with travel

If you’re going to travel during your gap year, then you’ll need to make sure you get organised. You’ll want to research the entry requirements for any country you intend to visit and make sure you work out how you’re going to get to each destination. Some things to think about include:

Keep all of your important documents in the cloud so that you can access them anywhere. It’s also a good idea to share your details and your itinerary with family and friends so they can help you out in an emergency.

Some top ideas for how to spend your gap year

Looking for some ideas on how to spend your gap year? Why not consider some of the following?


Volunteering during your gap year can be a very rewarding experience. You’ll not only get to help people in need, but you’ll also get some great experience for your CV and can meet a lot of new people too.

Experience new cultures

Gap year travels shouldn’t just be about jetting from beach to beach. Take time to experience new cultures and broaden your horizons. You can learn a lot of valuable life skills by experiencing other cultures, while getting to explore everything the world has to offer.

Learn a new skill

Want to use your gap year to learn a new skill? Whether you want to learn an instrument, a language or take a short course in something, there are a lot of skills that could benefit your university course, and your future career.

Work experience

Your gap year is also a great time to get some work experience. Interning in the industry you want to work after university could help give your CV a big boost, and help you make some important contacts.

Getting work experience during your gap year is also a good way to test the water and see if your chosen career path is right for you before your begin your studies.

Useful links

And finally, don’t forget to contact us contact us for gap year help and advice. We’re here to help.

Heading off to university marks an exciting chapter in your life. It’s an exciting time as you experience your first true taste of independence, but it can also be nerve-wracking as you move away from home for the first time.

University is all about learning new things, while getting to know yourself a little better too. With that being said, it doesn’t hurt to be a little prepared before you set off.

Take a look at our handy checklist to help you prepare for university life.

Student living essentials

What to take

The shopping list for university can feel endless. But there are some essentials you’ll need to help you settle in and adjust to life in your new place. Some of the main things to take with you include:

There will no doubt be other essentials on your list. Don’t panic if you forget something, you can always go shopping or order online.

A little cooking practice goes a long way

If you haven’t done much cooking for yourself before, now is a good time to start! Learning how to prepare some basic meals can help you stay fed and healthy while at university. Some simple university meal ideas include:

Fast food, ready meals, fancy coffees etc. will rapidly eat up your whole budget. Learning how to cook and how to shop for ingredients will help you save money and impress your new friends.

Don’t forget the practical things

Your first few weeks at university will be a bit of a learning curve, but there are a few practical things you’ll need to remember:

Finance basics

Get your finance in place

Whether you’ve got a student loan, bursaries, grants, or savings to finance your living costs, make sure you’ve got everything in place.

If you’re going to get a job while studying, start looking in advance – part-time jobs will be in high demand once fresher’s week starts.

Get a bank account in order

Get yourself a student bank account. Most high street banks offer special student accounts with great rates and incentives, so shop around to find a deal that’s right for you.

Learn how to budget and juggle your bills

Managing your own finances can be very stressful. It’s a good idea to set yourself up with a budget to help you manage all of your outgoings so you know exactly how much money you have leftover to save and to have fun with.

Make sure bills are split evenly with your housemates. A tool like Glide is perfect for bill splitting so that you only need to pay your share and not worry about everyone else.

Settling in during those first weeks

Find your bearings

Spend time getting to know your new home. From the area where your accommodation is to your University campus, it’s good to do some exploring, so you can find out where you need to be and avoid last-minute stresses during registration and your first lectures.

Get to know your housemates

You’ll meet all kinds of new people at university, starting with your housemates. Some top tips for getting to know your new housemates include:

While it can be daunting to introduce yourself to new people, you’ll find it gets easier. You never know, the people you meet during those first few weeks could end up being friends for life!

Learn to find a balance

University is a place where you’ll enjoy all kinds of experiences. But it’s important to remember that you’re there to study as well as have fun. Finding a balance is important and will mean you get to juggle your studying and your social life to help you have the best uni experience.

Some tips to help you find the right balance include:

Being prepared for university will help you ease stresses or concerns you might have about leaving home and beginning your new chapter. Remember that the Benevolent Society of Blues is here to help you if you need it. Get in touch and see how we can help.