Whether you’re a fresher or on the home straight of a PhD, earning enough money while studying full time can be something of a challenge.
Counting pennies and weighing up whether you can join your mates down the local club’s student night this week is all too common a scenario amongst the UK’s student population. There are, however, a number of ways to combat the need for frugality without neglecting your studies or your social life. Here are ten ways to make some extra dosh while you’re a student…
1. Get a part-time job
Let’s get the boring and most obvious one out the way first. Getting a part-time job is probably the easiest way to generate some extra cash. University cities and towns are full of bars, cafés and endless other opportunities for intermittent employment. Just go CV in hand and get some face-time with decision-makers, or scour sites like e4s.co.uk for part-time jobs in your university town or city.
Remember that, as a student, you will have to pay Income Tax if you earn more than your Personal Allowance of £204 a week or £883 a month, and National Insurance if you earn more than £155 a week (figures given are for the 2015/16 tax year). Find out more from the Gov.uk website.
2. Become a freelancer
The growth in outsourcing and social media mean there’s never been a better time to freelance, with an estimated 1.4 million freelancers working across all sectors in the UK. Popular areas for freelance work include copy writing, editing, design, programming, web development, SEO (search engine optimisation) and data entry.
With a survey by PeoplePerHour suggesting that the self-employed segment of the UK labour market is growing at a rate of 3.5% per year, there is now a wide range of websites that allow freelancers to bid on jobs and work for as many or as few hours as they want to. If you fancy giving it a go, check out this guide to starting a freelance career with no experience.
If you work for yourself, you will need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return each tax year, with details of your income and expenses. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will then work out how much tax, if any, you need to pay.
3. Enter competitions
This is a Marmite moment – you either love competitions or you hate them. Entering comps on an industrial scale has to be a pastime you actually enjoy, otherwise you’ll just feel dejected every time you fail to win anything. While competition prizes can be substantial, if a little random, you will have to get used to losing a lot. But if you do win, you could win big, like a trip for two to somewhere exotic with all expenses paid. Read Student Money Saver’s guide to the pros and cons of ‘comping’ to see if it’s for you.
4. Become a tutor
An academically charged money maker is to become a tutor, using the knowledge that you have gained from your A-levels or while at university. Tutoring can be lucrative, with an earning potential of around £25–£35 an hour. You can go down the old fashioned route of posting ads for your services in local shops, etc or use tutoring platforms like FirstTutors.com. On top of the money, it can be pretty rewarding helping out the next generation of uni students!
5. Review music for money
You can use sites like Slicethepie.com or MusicXray.com to sit back with a drink and listen to music while you earn cash. Well, sort of – you do actually have to do a little work in the form of writing a review! But that’s more or less it, so if you love music and don’t mind writing some short reviews, then this can be a nice little earner (netting you up to £40 a month).
6. Become an extra
For the quite appetising fee of around £60–£80, you can use sites like beonscreen.com to become one of those random people lurking in the background of a scene. Not a bad amount of money seeing that you don’t really have to do anything, although a job may involve quite a lot of time hanging around the set waiting for your scene.
7. Make money on YouTube
Everyone is familiar with YouTube, but how much a YouTuber can earn is a little more mysterious. Recently, the numbers being thrown around for 1,000 views is between £1 and £5, meaning that if you get 50,000 views a month you could be generating around £100. Original content is the most important thing for making money – check out Student Money Saver’s guide to making money on YouTube for more info.
8. Start a blog
If you have a passion in life, or simply want to share your experiences of student life, then setting up a blog can be both a fun and profitable pastime. Whether it’s to earn a few quid a week to feed your coffee habit, or to make enough money to get through university without a part-time job, there are thousands of bloggers who make money blogging.
Once you’ve set up your blog and written enough valuable content to start attracting visitors, you can begin growing your following via social media and building relationships with fellow bloggers (check out the Student Blogger Selection if yours is a student blog) and related websites and companies. As the site’s following grows, you can monetise your traffic using advertising and affiliate networks like Google’s AdSense, Affiliate Window and the Amazon.co.uk Associates Programme. You never know, if your blog really takes off it could end up being a full-time job once your graduate!
9. Become a mystery shopper
Mystery shopping is effectively shopping for feedback – you get the money back for what you’ve spent on an item, and can get paid for the job itself. There are around 50,000 mystery shopping trips carried out every month in the UK, according to the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), and the demand for mystery shoppers is growing. While this can be quite a fun way to make money, some serious work is required, as your reports have to be thorough. The prices for a job can range from a few quid up to £100 or more. Check out sites like Marketforce.com and Mysterydining.net for more information.
10. Sell stuff on eBay
Finally we have the method which flirts the line between serious money maker and an to aid to declutter. Some people have earned thousands through eBay, whereas others have used it as a handy way to get rid of some stuff and get some quick cash. It all depends how much entrepreneurial acumen you have and how much time you are willing to dedicate. These eBay selling tricks from MoneySavingExpert.com will help you with whichever path you’re aiming for.