Depending on what course you’re doing, the absolute last thing you will want to do during your spare time while studying is work all of the hours under the sun for minimum wage.
You’ll most likely need to supplement your income while you’re earning your degree, but with stiff competition from more or less everyone else at your uni, and the minimum wage not getting any more appealing, you may need to think out of the box to try and earn yourself a crust.
Write your heart out
Getting paid as a writer is something many people aspire to, especially those who are studying English or journalism. But, in perhaps what is now the internet’s worst-kept secret, you really don’t need to be a seasoned professional to pick up a little bit of extra money here and there for doing some light research and creating an article.
Sites like Textbroker and greatcontent let you register and take your pick of articles to write. When you first register, you will get to write an evaluation article and then get a rating. You can then log on and select articles within your rating, and you will get a set price for each word. It’s probably not something that’s going to make you rich any time soon, but if you spend most of your time sitting at a laptop anyway it can be a nice little earner.
Working as a private tutor
Everyone in this weird and wonderful world has different talents. Some people are more about the words, and others the numbers. And just because you’re not studying a subject you might have a natural talent for, it doesn’t mean you are not good at it. Helping someone with a subject they’re struggling with is not only rewarding, it can also earn you some of extra cash.
And it doesn’t need to be academic tutoring. For example, perhaps you’re in a band and can spend some spare time tutoring an instrument?
If you think this option could be for you, you can find out more about the UK’s private tuition industry from sites like The Tutor Pages.
Why not try online trading?
It may sound a bit out there, but you really don’t need to be the next Gordon Gekko or even taking a business studies degree to give the stock market a dabble. Websites like CMC markets let you trade online, bringing stocks and shares trading to a whole new audience that in the past would have needed to go through a broker. The great thing is, you don’t need to invest the earth to get started, and you can try a demo account first to get your head around it all.
It’s a far cry from the pit in the London Stock Exchange, but if you get the hang of it, it could bring you a little bit of extra cash over time. But it’s worth remembering that you could, of course, end up losing money if your investments don’t work out!
Work abroad during the holidays
Most overseas work for young people is severely underpaid. Nonetheless, it’s a great laugh, and if you play it correctly you could actually earn a lot of money. If you find yourself a role working in a resort’s kids’ club, for example, then you may get asked to babysit outside of your normal duties, which would bring in extra income and perhaps even some tips if you do a good job.
Many jobs abroad also pay for your food and accommodation, so if you do play it smart and manage not to spend all of your money on dodgy foreign booze and partying, you could be coming back feeling flush in September and start planning for some more travelling and holidays.
Check out sites like GapYear.com for listings of summer holiday jobs for students.
Sell your photos online
This seems like a strange one, doesn’t it? Like who on earth would actually be interested in buying my pictures? Well it turns out there are quite a lot of people who need stock photos that do not infringe copyright for blogs and online articles.
You do not need to be a professional photographer, and you certainly do not need a professional camera to make the most of this. Even a simple, good clear picture on an iPhone can sell. You are able to set your own prices on some websites, while other sites set the price for you and take their own cut, but if you are someone that takes loads of photos anyway, it’s certainly worth a look.
Being self-employed as a student
When you’re working for a company and being paid a salary for this work, your income tax and National Insurance contributions are deducted from your salary by your employer, so all the money you receive from your employer is yours to spend as you like.
When you are self-employed or working on a freelance basis, however, you are responsible for paying all of your taxes and National Insurance contributions yourself. (Unfortunately, non-EEA international students aren’t allowed to set up a business or work on a self-employed or freelance basis in the UK whilst studying.)
If you’re self-employed, you will need to keep records of all your income and expenses and fill in a Self Assessment tax return each tax year. HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) will then work out how much tax, if any, you need to pay. You can find out more about paying tax when working as a student from GOV.UK .