Hidden course costs, skyrocketing rents, and the slashing of grants and funding: student life can get really expensive, especially if you rely on your loan and relatives’ generosity to get you through.
The most obvious solution is to get a part-time job, but if there are not many opportunities around, or you need to focus on your studies, you’re a bit stuck.
Never fear, there are other ways to boost your income – here’s our pick of the top ten ways for students to earn extra money, to get you started.
1. Sell your stuff
One of the quickest and easiest ways to make cash is to have a good old clear-out, and sell as much unwanted stuff as you can.
A perfect time to do this is on visits home, as you’ll have taken all your most loved and useful stuff to uni. Sort through the clothes you left behind, and if there’s anything that no longer fits or that you haven’t worn for a year or more, list it on eBay or the ASOS Marketplace. You can sell individual items or several, less valuable ones in a job lot.
Make sure to take good-quality photos, write clear descriptions, and (on eBay) look out for weekends with zero-insertion fees to cut the costs of selling. Got old coursebooks? If you’re not going to need them again, sell them on eBay too, at second-hand book sales on campus, or through dedicated Facebook groups.
2. Penny for your thoughts
Got opinions? There are loads of websites that will pay for ‘em.
Survey sites usually pay in cash, or points that you can trade in for vouchers. You may only earn 10p-25p per survey, but if you check back everyday this could soon build up.
InboxPounds is a good one, giving you £1 just for signing up.
We also The OpinionPanel Community, who are looking for students in particular. They payout £1-£2 per survey, so it’s a good opportunity to earn some extra cash.
3. You could be an ambassador
Ever seen those people in hoodies trying to hand you free stuff as you walk across campus? Why not become one of them?
Brand ambassador roles are tailored to students so will fit easily around your studies, and you’ll be paid to promote brands like Smirnoff, Cosmopolitan, Carlsberg and also corporate firms looking to recruit students and graduates to their training schemes.
4. Be a (silent) star
If marketing isn’t your strong point, how about becoming a screen star?
You probably won’t get any lines and there’s a lot of waiting around involved, but you could earn lots of cash as an extra on TV and film sets.
If you’re patient, and fairly flexible in terms of time and travel, this could be a decent earner. Find your local agency, or sign up to national sites such as Casting Collective or Uni-Versal Extras.
5. If you can do, tutor
Good news! As a student, you already have an area of knowledge that you can pass on to the next generation – for a fee, of course.
Consider tutoring in your local area, as it’s a regular source of income, you can tailor your hours to suit you, and you only need to take on as much work as you can handle.
There are plenty of resources online and you can use your experience of sitting GCSEs and A Levels (or equivalent) to help your pupils.
If you play an instrument, you can teach it to anyone willing to learn; post up an ad in music shops and even the post office, and use your musical skills to make money.
6. Could you be the next big YouTube vlogger?
Unless you’ve been living under a very large rock, you’ve probably seen Alfie Deyes’ face beaming from your laptop screen, or come across Zoella, PewdiePie or one of countless other vloggers making a mint from careers on YouTube.
If you reckon you’ve got charisma, have top-notch camera skills and enjoy talking about the things you love, why not try making money from YouTube?
It is NOT a way to make easy money, but if you upload consistently high-quality material and work hard to get your name known, you could start generating an income from advertising on your channel.
Check out Student Money Saver’s guide to making money from YouTube – it’s packed with tips and advice.
7. Claim your cash back
Earn as you shop by claiming cashback on your high street and online purchases.
These sites even have their own apps, so you can check for cash back opportunities while you’re out and about.
8. All about the research
Get paid to take part in research projects and focus groups, which don’t take much time and often pay cash-in-hand.
Your university’s psychology department may offer money for completing simple tasks or taking part in activities, while local companies may provide at least your lunch and drinks in return for hearing your opinion on their products or your lifestyle.
Look out for arts projects, too – I once made a tenner by making weird noises into a sound recorder for a local theatre production!
9. Be mysterious
Shops and pubs on the high street are always looking to improve, and use mystery shopping agencies to check their customer service is up to standard.
As a mystery shopper, you could be paid to visit shops and pubs and review the quality of their goods and the service you receive. This is especially fun as you’re operating secretly, and it can feel quite sneaky.
10. Attention freshers!
Finally, if you’re 18 or 19, Serve Legal pays young people to visit pubs and bars in their local area, to check that staff are checking IDs before serving alcohol. It’s not only alcohol, either, as you might be asked to purchase other age-restricted items such as cigarettes.
It’s easy to apply and you could start making cash quickly.
Have a go at some of these tips and you’ll be generating spare cash in no time. Get creative, use your skills and keep your eyes peeled for local opportunities. You never know when a chance to earn might come up – good luck!