28 July 2016

Portsmouth Uni student saves £200/month commuting from London

Fed up with a dodgy landlord and over-priced Portsmouth rent, one student began commuting to university from his home in London to save money.
john-joe boyle
Over the years, we’ve heard many a horror story about students paying sky-high prices for substandard student digs in London.

In fact, the situation is becoming so tough that a number of unis in London have collectively started the biggest student rent strike the UK has ever seen!

Against all odds, we spoke to one Portsmouth University student who actually moved to London in order to save on rent. Huh?

An MP is currently pushing to ban estate agents from charging tenants high and unregulated fees! Read more here.

The story

After a particularly spenny two years living and studying in Portsmouth, Accounting and Finance student John-Joe Boyle decided to move back home to live with his parents in London for his final year.

This involved a six hour daily commute, but he told us it was totally worth it.

Speaking to Save the Student, Boyle said:

I wasn’t willing to fund the lifestyle of people charging vast amounts of rent for an average house.

…Of course the travelling was time consuming (3hrs each way door to door), but I only went in two days a week as in final year you are required to do an independent unit. Also with the time you could read revision notes/listen to music/nap so it wasn’t that much of a bore.

All that travelling didn’t affect Boyle’s grades either – he graduated with a first!

How did living in London save him cash?

living with your parentsJohn-Joe was paying £450 a month in rent (excluding bills) for his accommodation in Portsmouth, and was also unlucky enough to have a landlord who tried to run off with his deposit.

While we’re on the topic – make sure always ask for proof from your landlord that your deposit is safe in a government deposit protection scheme. This is the law, and if they don’t comply you could be due compensation.

How much did he save?

Luckily, Boyle was only in uni two days a week during his third year, which made commuting easier – and he saved a lot of money in the process!

As well as giving his parents £20 a month for bills, Boyle estimates that he spent £26 a day on travel and £5 eating out (he mostly took packed lunches to save more money).

All in, he managed to save over £200 a month by choosing to live in London with his parents instead of renting a place near his uni.

Should students be thinking about alternatives?

how do students spend their money?

John-Joe’s isn’t the first we’ve heard of student going to extreme lengths to save cash on rent, either.

Last year, we spoke to one student who bought an £800 yacht to live in and save rent costs, and another student spent a year living in a tent!

Whilst living in a tent or on a boat isn’t for everyone (we imagine the British winters would be pretty tough!) thinking about alternatives to forking out for student digs could save you a bomb.

Following Boyle’s example and moving back home with your folks is a great idea if the option is available to you, but remember that living at home will mean you receive a reduction to your maintenance loan.

In our Student Money Survey 2016, 8 out of 10 students told us they worried about making ends meet.

The average UK student experiences a £250 per month deficit each month – primarily due to the rise in living costs and a maintenance loan that isn’t stretching to cover this – so it’s no surprise that some students looking for alternative options to save money on accommodation.

Do you have a story to tell about how you saved on rent as a student? We want to hear it!

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