Student lives on £800 yacht to save on rent 2022

by Owen Burek in Save MoneyStudent Accommodation

Updated by Nele van Hout
28 February 2022 ShareTweet

We love hearing money-saving stories from students who get creative with their budget and their accommodation. But Joe’s story has to take the biscuit!

joe pearce yacht

Do you struggle to find the money for a deposit or simply hate the idea of throwing money at landlords? Perhaps it’s the 8am inspections and viewings that ruffle your feathers.

Well, consider taking a leaf out of Joe Pearce’s book. To avoid spending most of his Maintenance Loan on rent, he bought a yacht to live on while studying at Aberystwyth University.Note: This news story is from 2013, but all information about average accommodation costs has been updated since.

Joe lived on his boat for 14 months while he completed his master’s in Physical Geography. He found ‘The Golden Cloud’ – still seaworthy at 42 years old – online for just £800. That’s the equivalent of around a month and a quarter’s rent (and, as the owner, he can always sell the yacht on).

The only rent he paid was £1 a day to keep his yacht in the harbour. That’s £365 a year (£366 during a leap year), which is less than just one month’s rent (around £641, FYI) for the average student!

student joe pearce on yacht

He was sharing a flat with his girlfriend, but after they split up he couldn’t afford the rent on his own. Joe made the decision to save money and live on a boat instead, saving a huge £5,600.

When I was studying for my master’s I realised I couldn’t afford to keep living in a flat. I was sharing a flat with my girlfriend, and we would split the £100-a-week rent between us.

But when we broke up I would have had to pay around £400 a month by myself. So I then came up with a crazy idea to buy a boat to live on.

He describes living in the boat as “luxury camping” and like being in a “wooden tent”. The parties he’s hosted have already gone down in Aber legend!

It was so much fun living on the boat – I saved a lot of money and I’ve still got it and use it to go fishing around the island.

The boat has got so much character and it’s officially my boat.

student joe pearce fishing from his yacht

Joe, not being afraid of diverging from the norm to find a way to save money on accommodation, is an inspiration to us all. Granted, the Manchester canals might not be as welcoming to a 23-foot yacht as a Welsh seaside town, but it does go to show that thinking outside the box can quite literally pay off.

If you’re really not attached to creature comforts (and central heating!), you might want to follow in Ken Ilgunas’ footsteps and live in a van while studying. Or go full Bear Grylls and build a cabin in the woods!Tip: before putting down a deposit on any type of accommodation – boat or otherwise – review all your living options factoring in bills, food shopping and social expenses.

Is Joe’s boat a bit too small for your liking? Check out these students living on a houseboat in London!


three asos gift cards yellow backgroundWin £250 of ASOS vouchersbranded surveysBranded Surveys – Payout for your opinionQmeeGet paid for searching the web with Qmeeamazon 10 gift cardsEarn £20 Amazon Vouchers


Planet Earth with a forest in the background and footstepsEasy ways to reduce your carbon footprintwoman pointing at piggy bankHow to save money – 83 money saving tipsNSMS 2021 the national student money surveyStudent Money Survey 2021 – Resultscreate a websiteHow to create a website in 20 minutescat on laptopBest paid online survey siteswoman with money and a laptop40 easy ways to make money quickly

Free money cheat sheet!


Weekly deals, guides + free cheat sheet. Privacy policy

what are other people reading?

woman pointing at piggy bankHow to save money – 83 money saving tipsbest cashback sitesTop cashback sites 2022abseiling art gallery43 fun activities to do for under £20people shaking handsHow to haggle to get the best bargains

Free money cheat sheet!


Weekly deals, guides + free cheat sheet. Privacy policy


Ask us a question or share your thoughts!

Tweet @savethestudent – Facebook Message – Email ShareTweet

Next ArticleViewing student houses: what to look for

Press logos

View Press Page

the student money website

Save the Student provides free, impartial advice to students on how to make their money go further.

The Story

 or Meet the Team

Job vacancies


Press & media


15 best things to make and sell

08 March 2022

Best birthday present ideas 2022

08 March 2022

Banking terms explained

08 March 2022

Average graduate salaries in the UK 2022

08 March 2022

STUDENT PICKSStudent money cheat sheet

Student money Podcast

Student loan calculator

Student discounts

Student job search

Parents’ guide to university

Useful resources

Disclaimer: All content on this website is based on individual experience and journalistic research. It does not constitute financial advice. Save the Student and its authors are not liable for how tips are used, nor for content and services on external websites. Common sense should never be neglected!

We sometimes use affiliated links which may result in a payment following a visitor taking action (such as a purchase or registration) on an external website. This helps keep Save the Student free. The user experience shouldn’t be any different, and our editorial decision making is not affected by such links.

Privacy Policy – Sitemap – © 2022 Save the Student. All Rights Reserved.Climate Positive Website

Like most sites, we use cookies to optimise your experience and serve personalised content. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies. More info

  Win! Deals



Make Money

Save Money