A student has revealed how she saves more than £4,300 a year by staying in a hotel rather than opting for university accommodation, making the most of not needing to attend daily in-person lectures.
Tigerlily Taylor (@tigerlilytaylorx), 20, recently posted a TikTok video to explain her set-up to other students, saying: “When you only go uni two days a week, so instead of paying for student accommodation, I stay in a Travelodge.”
She lives in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, but studies at the University of Northampton - a city that’s just under an hour away by train.
Rather than splashing out on official accommodation through her uni, Tigerlily pays for a hotel just one night a week.
Taylor told MoneySuperMarket: “On average, the university accommodation is £620, per month (that's for a large ensuite room).
"My hotel room usually costs around £35 for the night and I only need to stay once a week so every month I spend £140, on average, for a double room at the Travelodge.”
She spends an extra £30 on commuting twice a week, as she’s required to attend university three days a week altogether – but the third day is separated from the other two, so she just commutes in without staying overnight.
In total, she spends £260 a month, which amounts to a saving a £360 a month or £4,320 a year, compared to if she stayed in halls.
Of course, the real money-saver here is the limited contact time at university, with many institutions switching at least some of the teaching to online.
But many social media users found her thrifty approach clever – with some saying they do the same.
“Genius, saving so much money,” one person commented.
Another said: “I do that too but at Premier Inn.”
MoneySuperMarket has crunched the numbers to work out if the idea would be as cost effective in other university cities, having looked at the cost per night of all 557 Travelodges in England, Scotland and Wales for every available date in 2022 and compared these prices with new Unipol and NUS data – which was released on 10 December 2021 and includes the average cost of university accommodation around the UK.
Jo Thornhill at MoneySuperMarket said: “Looking at the average cost of student accommodation in comparison to average Travelodge prices, there are some savings to be made for those students who aren’t required to be physically present at their university campus every day.
“Surprisingly, we found that the most financially rewarding regions for switching to hotel accommodation are for students attending London universities. Students in London with 5 or fewer days at University would be better off paying for a hotel than student accommodation.”
Asked what other tips Taylor had for fellow uni students, she advised: “I would say would be to open a student bank account as some banks provide interest-free overdrafts and other perks.
“Another tip would be as soon as your student loan comes in, budget this straight away. It is so easy to just spend it all, but instead, I would suggest having a plan for the money and setting aside money for necessities first, whatever is leftover can be kept for luxuries.”
Featured Image Credit: Tigerlily Taylor