With rent to pay and books to buy, university can be expensive, and sometimes student loans and bursaries don’t stretch as far as you’d think, and you may find yourself in want or need of a little extra income on the side to help you enjoy your time more. This article details a few ways that students can make that extra bit of pocket money at university.
Sell clothes and other unwanted items online
Most people have old or unworn clothes they want to get rid of. Students especially may notice this when packing to leave home for university, so selling these not only would give you a little extra cash, but would also encourage more sustainable fashion. Jewellery, books, and CDs also sell well online. Sites like Depop are a haven for second hand and vintage clothing sellers, so to rid yourself of those trousers you wore when you were in year nine, or even to sell that book series you haven’t touched since you were a preteen, why not give online retail a go?
Work with your university
Many universities offer students opportunities for casual work throughout the year, such as becoming an events ambassador or a peer mentor. Universities often have much higher rates of pay for their student employees compared to mainstream retail jobs. The convenience of working in the same place you study is hard to beat, and allows for flexibility around study. Positions are advertised, most commonly, on university websites in their careers sections.
Get a part-time job
This one is probably the most obvious option but getting a part time job provides a stable and reliable source of extra income. Unless you are attending one of the more remote campuses, most university towns or cities have a plethora of retail establishments and restaurants to maintain the needs of large student populations on top of their local residents, so at least some of them are bound to be hiring during your university years. If you already have work experience, this would definitely help you secure a job, but even if you have never had a paid job before, it can provide good life experience.
Become a tutor
Students are bound to have some old GCSE or A-Level notes lying around. So, why not use those notes – plus, of course, your own knowledge – to help another student succeed? Online tutoring sites such as MyTutor can be really great sources of bonus income for someone in university. They would also allow the tutor to brush up on their own foundational subject knowledge while earning, as they would be able to look back on what they studied during GCSE and A-Level. For students who love helping others learn, and have the patience and extra time, online or in-person tutoring can be a perfect opportunity.
Take part in university scientific studies
Don’t worry, this one isn’t as scary as it sounds! Over the school year, third-year and postgrad students – particularly psychology students – will be conducting final research projects, and they will need people to take part in order to complete them. Consequently, they often offer small amounts of money or retail vouchers to those who agree to take part. You wouldn’t have to work hard, you would simply have to comply with the researchers’ instructions for the duration. These are often advertised online or on the bulletin boards of certain university campus buildings.
Or take part in a medical trial
This one is less likely to be conducted by your university, and would most likely take place at some sort of clinic. Depending on the context and the length of time needed for the study, taking part in a medical trial can pay pretty well, though it is important to ensure that you are healthy enough to do so.
Check if you’re owed any tax from a previous job
If you have done any part-time work previously, there may be a chance that you earned an amount under the bracket for taxable income. If this is the case, it can be worth checking if you were taxed by mistake, although usually you will be notified of this through HMRC. Claiming back this income is fairly straightforward and can be done through a government portal online, or by calling HMRC.
And make sure that you get your deposit back from any previous residence
If you have been living in rented accommodation for a while, you will know that most landlords require you to pay a deposit before you move in. And, if you haven’t damaged the property, this deposit should be returned to you at the end of your tenancy. Consequently, it’s important to keep the residence in the same state as you found it in to get your money back.
Answer online surveys
There are a multitude of websites out there offering money or online rewards for people who take the time to answer surveys. These may be commissioned by a particular company or researcher, with variant lengths and topics. Sites like Swagbucks or Toluna can be used to make a little extra money, or to receive some kind of online compensation for your time.
Review music online
This option follows the same logic as the abovementioned idea of answering online surveys, except the objective would be to review excerpts of songs. HitPredictor has been known to reward people with Amazon vouchers, and SliceThePie pays a small amount for each review. This can be a little time-consuming, but if you enjoy reviewing music, it can actually be quite fun.
Enter a creative writing competition
If you are a literature or creative writing student, or if you simply adore writing creatively, then entering creative writing competitions not only gives you the chance of winning prize money, but would also allow you a chance to share your art with others. Plenty of these competitions can be found online, such as competitions run by The Poetry Society. Sometimes entry may require a fee, but there are also many free-to-enter contests out there.
And any other online competition you come across
Other competitions can be found online, and many of these are based simply on the luck of the draw rather than the quality of work. Companies may run contests to promote a product or increase the number of people signed up to their service, so sometimes entry into an online contest requires you to sign up to something via your email. But, if you’re willing to do this, you may be in for a chance of winning something.
Get commissioned for your writing
This can be a challenge, but if you are someone who really wants to earn while writing, it can be worth the effort. You would need to start by building up some sort of portfolio – writing free of charge for a local or student paper can help you do this – which can then be shown to an editor or agency when you have an article idea to pitch them. It can be a long process before getting to the stage where you are paid for your work, but if you are someone who has a real passion for prose or journalism, your hard work would pay off eventually.
Sign up to get paid as you use the internet
Many websites now offer monetary compensation for monitoring your online activity on particular online retailers and search engines. This often requires you to download an app such as Qmee, or adding it to your browser, and then simply using the online features you would usually do so.
Become a bicycle courier
This has become a much more popular way for students to make money in recent years. Companies like Deliveroo would have plenty of courier positions, and all you need is a bicycle and the necessary safety kit. If you think this kind of work is for you, just make sure that you are a proficient cyclist and you know that you can cycle around your student city safely!
If you are bilingual, offer language lessons to other students
Being able to speak a second language is a wonderful skill to have, and it also opens you up to many different opportunities, including potentially lucrative ones. Whether you advertise online, or on a university billboard, there will be someone out there who wants help with their language skills, and would be willing to pay for the lessons.
Or you could offer paid translation services
Many companies or professionals will pay to have documents translated for them, and so for anyone who is bilingual this may be another great opportunity for you. This could be online, or even in person. There would definitely be prospects out there for paid translators.
Become an online or social media assistant
For any student who is particularly internet-savvy, becoming either a VA -virtual assistant – or a social media assistant can be a perfect part-time job. This could involve locating potential clients, doing basic administration, or answering company communications. Just ensure you have good signal and connectivity if you want to become a VA.
Becoming a mystery shopper may be a good fit for you
Working as a mystery shopper involves going into a particular store and acting like a real customer while helping to assess the business from a consumer perspective. This could involve checking if a business is IDing customers correctly, or simply talking to employees to aid in the monitoring of customer etiquette.
Sell your art on Etsy or eBay
If you are artistically gifted, why not share your gift with the world by selling your artwork? This may be in the form of a craft, painting or altered clothing. Regardless of the specific item, platforms like Etsy or eBay will always host people looking for unique and aesthetic creations.
Offer knitting or crocheting services online
If your talents lie elsewhere, and you have a passion for sewing, knitting or crocheting, you could advertise your skills online for anyone who may need something made. Because materials for this sort of thing may be expensive, you may be able to charge fairly substantial amounts for your work.
Advertise your services as a pet-sitter
For anyone who loves animals, becoming a pet sitter would be an exciting experience. There are plenty of websites that allow people to advertise their pet-sitting services, and having previous experience with animals certainly helps.
Or, as a dog-walker
Dog-walking can be another great animal-related method for earning some extra cash. Again, there are websites that can be used to show and advertise your profile, and these can help any local dog-owner find a summary of your services. Or, alternatively, you could ask local businesses if you could put a poster on their bulletin board if they have one.
Babysitting may be a great idea
For any students who used to babysit for their neighbours when they were younger, that experience could be put to good use by offering babysitting services in your university city. You can make an online profile easily, which will help potential clients find you and your previous experience. Since you may be in a new place without past clients to physically recommend you, getting a DBS check for this type of part-time work may be a good plan.
Find a part-time internship
Many part-time internships can be sourced via university careers pages online. Local businesses may be looking for interns in your area, and these often give great references once you are looking for a graduate job. If your university careers service isn’t advertising any local part-time internships, you can always try browsing job websites such as Indeed, or even going directly to a local company and handing in your CV. Make sure you dress smartly if you are thinking about doing this though!
Sell your textbooks
Anyone who has been a student before knows that buying textbooks can be incredibly costly, so purchasing required course material second-hand is often the solution for reducing these expenses. Some universities and colleges may buy old textbooks back from you after you are done with them, which is a brilliant way to receive a bit of a cash boost. Or, alternatively, selling your old A-Level or first-year textbooks online is simple with websites like WeBuyBooks or eBay. Just be sure not to sell anything you still need.
Sell your old A-Level notes
As a university student, you are bound to have some years-old A-Level or GCSE notes lying around back home. These can actually be sold online for a profit for another student to use. These are more likely to make you money if they are neat and easy to read, so make sure you look over them thoroughly before you decide to sell.
Upsell things you have been given for free
Upselling things you were previously given free of charge can provide you with a small cash boost. Whether you are selling a present you have been given but have never used or worn, or a freebee you picked up at a Fresher’s Fair, since you did not initially spend money on the item, making a profit is a guarantee. So why not sell some of those unused items online?
Start a blog or Youtube channel
Making money from a blog or Youtube channel is a little ambitious, and is really quite difficult to do. It would require you to build your online presence so much that you gain a significant enough following that you would be able to receive sponsors. But some students, through sustained diligence and consistency, have managed to make their online presence a workable source of income, so if you are someone who really enjoys making content but not necessarily with the promise of payment, starting a blog or Youtube channel may be a beneficial experience. If you remain dedicated and hard-working, money may come later.
Become a social media influencer
Again, this choice is not a make-rich-quick option, but if you are someone who is passionate about social media, you may be able to build your presence on apps like Instagram enough to get sponsorship eventually. As with the above, consistency is key.
Or host a podcast
Hosting a podcast, to a certain extent, follows the same logic as the two options above, as it should be noted that actually making money from a podcast is considerably challenging. Though, it can be an enriching and exciting experience, and it can allow you to share your enthusiasm with the wider world. Having a podcast would also be an interesting thing to put on your CV, and may help you secure a future job through appearing as a proactive and fascinating candidate.
Add features to your website
By including affiliate links or adding banner adverts to your website if you have one, you can immediately monetise your content, and the amount of money you make would often be dependent on your web traffic. Services such as those offered by Google Adsense can allow you to set up adverts on your site, though if you are receiving enough online attention, sponsored content is always a sure-fire way to make money.
Become a brand ambassador
Becoming a brand ambassador is something that many students do as a part-time job. This would most likely involve in-person advertising of a certain company or product on campus or in your university town. Although you may seem self-conscious about being an in-person brand ambassador at first, the work can easily be shaped around your own schedule, and there may be networking opportunities available with company higher-ups.
Or do some affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a way for companies to advertise through individuals who are rewarded for bringing more customers to their website. This is not the most consistent form of earning income and often requires a person to share a product through their social media profiles, so affiliate marketing isn’t for everyone. But for those who are feeling ambitious about this sort of work, the first step would be to join an affiliate network, and move from there.
Open a savings account with a high-interest rate
This may not be a direct way of earning cash, but it can be worth checking your current savings account, and comparing its interest rate with that of others available to you. Some may have higher interest rates, which would mean a monetary increase at a slightly faster rate.
Switch bank accounts for rewards
When opening a new account with a particular bank, there may be rewards like vouchers or even cash offered to you. If you are looking to change banking providers anyway, it can be worth looking for one which provides you with an initial reward for banking with them. Just remember to make sure that the bank you are switching to also meets your financial needs.
Look for jobs as a film extra
The availability of a job as a film extra is very location and context dependent. But, if you have a passion for film and you fit the profile, extra positions are often paid, and sometimes have other expenses paid for as well. You would usually have to register with an agency, which would then match you with a suitable role.
Always look for discount codes
Once again, although this wouldn’t directly make you any money, it would certainly save you some. Signing up with sites like Unidays can give you extensive access to many student discount codes, or simply search for coupons online.
Write and sell an e-book
These days, many people are using devices like Kindles to do their reading, and if you have a creative idea for a novel or selection of short stories, these days getting yourself published is reasonably straight forward. Writing a book obviously requires dedication, but if you follow a style guide – these can be found online – and maybe make your own front cover if you want to, your book can be sold over the web. You would need an ISBN to sell your eBook, which can be expensive, though if you manage to register yourself with a publisher it can be possible to get one for free.
Sell your photography
If taking photos is more your cup of tea, you could sell some of the pictures you have taken. Many online stock photo libraries can be used as platforms to sell your images, though they usually ask for a cut of the income if you are using their webpage.
Sell your designs
Virtual graphic design is regularly in demand from businesses looking to improve their visual presence. If you have a flair for digital art, you could use particular sites to get commissioned for your designs. Sometimes, growing social media influences may look for someone to design banner art for them, or a start-up may want a logo. Be sure to research your rights before going into this type of self-employment.
Try your hand at investing
Starting out as an investor at times requires substantial background research, but some people find it exhilarating and end up making a profit from it. If you are a stockholder, you may receive a payout for your shares a few times a year, though this would be reliant on the size of the business you have invested in, and also on the economic climate.
When using a particular service, why not ‘recommend a friend’?
When signing up for something, the service often advertises the fact that ‘recommending a friend’ would give you rewards. It can be easy to ignore this extra feature, but if you know someone who was thinking of using the service anyway, why not ‘recommend’ them and reap the benefits?
Become a product tester
Certain companies offer benefits for people who agree to test and review their new line of a particular product, for market research purposes. Companies like Toluna or Clicks Research detail this type of opportunity, and the rewards can range from vouchers to cash. You may even get to keep the product you’ve tested!
See if you can receive cashback when shopping
If you access a product through an external site first, companies may offer you the chance to receive a cash incentive. It is worth researching which websites propose the best cashback rates, though this is worth looking into if you are someone who shops frequently online.
Work as an online transcriber
From subtitles on videos to having interview scripts written up, businesses frequently commission transcription companies to have people record audio as text. To become a transcriber and take part in this kind of work, you would need to be able to type fast – usually above 60 words per minute – but also with accuracy.
Use a freelancing app
If you are someone who considers themselves a jack-of-all-trades, or if you have a very specific skillset that you think a company would really benefit from, downloading a freelancing app or signing up with a freelancing agency can be a great choice. The employment possibilities vary widely, so downloading one of these job-sourcing apps may be beneficial.
Create a series of virtual classes
Creating an online course for people to use is a lot more straightforward than it sounds, and so if you have a skill you know others would want to replicate, it can be a fantastic way to monetise your hobby. Once you choose what you want to teach and identify a target audience, you can use a platform like SkillShare or Udemy – potentially for a small amount of revenue – to make your course live and accessible.
If you’re old enough, try out matched betting
Most betting agencies will offer a free bet when using their service, which can be used to make a little bit of money. This should be done with great care, and it sometimes takes time, but if you are careful, you can calculate your best chances of winning by looking at the smallest losses and closest odds. There are handy online tools you can use to help you do this safely and without costs.