Student life

How lockdown could benefit your student budget


University students are facing a choice this September.

With ambiguity around how the COVID-19 lockdown will affect universities when they re-open, students may have the option to study online – meaning they could be living at home for their first year.

For many students, this would be their first choice either way – after all, living in university accommodation isn’t for everyone. But for others who had planned to live in halls or a shared house, the lockdown could be seen as a spanner in the works for their university experience.

However, living at home during lockdown could have its financial benefits – and you could even leave university with less student debt then you would have otherwise!

Here are just some of the ways lockdown could benefit your student budget:

1. You could save money on your accommodation

Your accommodation is a one of the biggest expenditures you’ll have at uni, with the average student maintenance loan (which usually goes towards accommodation and living costs) coming in at approximately £6,480 a year*.

By living at home for the first year, you could decide not to take out your first year maintenance loan and ultimately leave university with less student debt.

However, before deciding whether or not to take out your maintenance loan, you should consider any potential costs you’ll have even while living at home – for example, do you need to run a car or purchase books for your uni course? Will your parents want a rent contribution?

*National Student Money Survey, Save the Student

2. There’s no need to spend on public transport

Transport can take up a big chunk of a student’s monthly budget, spending on average £44 per month* on buses, trains and other transport to get to and from university.

One of the best things about living at home and attending university online is that there won’t be any commute to campus, so you could ultimately end up saving hundreds of pounds over the course of a year.

*National Student Money Survey, Save the Student

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3. You can eat out of someone else’s cupboard

If you’re living with your parents or guardians during lockdown, they may be happy for you to eat out of their cupboard – so you could end up saving money on food and toiletries, as well as your accommodation and transport.

Although if you are going to live at home, your “landlords” may appreciate the offer of a contribution to rent or food, if you can afford it!

4. You’ll save money on socialising

Whether you’re grabbing a drink at the pub or heading to the cinema, there’s no doubt that socialising can be expensive - or at least it was in the past!

From starting an online book group to enjoying virtual-dinners via Zoom, there are lots of ways to connect with your friends and course mates during lockdown without spending a penny.

Read our Socially-Distanced Student Guide.

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5. You can take advantage of free online resources

There have been a huge amount of free resources released online during lockdown that could help you save money in a number of areas. If you want to save money on gym membership you could attend online fitness, yoga and meditation sessions via YouTube, helping you stay fit and healthy in the comfort of your own home, free of charge.

Alternatively, if you’ve got a bit of free time and fancy doing some extra learning on top of your studies, organisations such as the Open University and Code Academy are offering a variety of free courses to support students and professionals while they’re stuck at home.

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But remember, even while living at home there may be some costs you’ll need to budget for...

Even if you’re not paying for your accommodation you’re still going to want a good quality of life while you’re studying, which includes having spare cash for socialising and luxuries.

Consider the following when calculating your student budget for living at home:

  • How much will you need to spend on your mobile phone, TV and internet and any relating gadget insurance costs?
  • Do you need to purchase any study materials or books for your course?
  • Do you need to pay to run a car, including tax, MOT and student car insurance?
  • Will your “landlords” want any money for rent, food or utilities while you’re living there?

Making sure you’re covered at university

If you are moving to university in September, have you checked your essential gadgets and belongings will still be protected in university accommodation?

Check whether your contents are already covered by Endsleigh in your accommodation here.

Need to top up your cover? Find out more about student insurance.

Read our disclaimer.