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As a student, I was always looking for ways to make money.
Thing is, I only ever looked at the obvious options – retail, cafes, bar work, call centres. I personally worked at a call centre, doing 7.30am-1.30pm shifts answering calls from disgruntled customers who (more often than not) were solely having issues because they hadn’t read the instruction manual correctly. Needless to say, I had THAT Sunday night feeling every night before a shift…
However, if I knew then what I know now, I would have done things so much differently, which is why I wanted to put together a list of money making ideas I’d be seriously contemplating were I to be a student again.
I 100% would go all in on eBay reselling – allowing myself a £50 chunk from my student loan to start me off (along with any other proceeds from selling any of my numerous bits of tat lying around), and would reinvest as much as possible until I could comfortably take out a small allowance for treats and necessities.
From the thrill of the hunt, to photographing and creating the listing, through to selling and shipping – I could quite happily have spent my spare time doing this. Heck, it worked for Sophia Amoruso and Nasty Gal, why couldn’t it work for a little student reseller side hustle?
Of course, it’s not always a success, and you will source items that won’t sell quickly (if at all!), but when the alternative is being in a fluorescent-lit office at 7.30am after having only had three hours sleep following a student night out dressed as a smurf (true story), I’d say it’s well worth it.
This survey site provides much less opportunity to make money as frequently as eBay does, but considering it’s something you can do whilst watching TV, I’d say you might as well!
There are plenty of other survey sites available, but the great thing about Prolific is they ask you plenty of qualifying questions when you first sign up, and then only show you surveys you’re eligible for, based on your answers to these questions. There’s nothing more frustrating than completing a survey for 25 minutes, to then find at the end you don’t match the demographics they were looking for, and it’s all been a waste of time.
However, surveys are few and far between, and are typically only for a limited number of participants, so you have to be quick.
You won’t make big-bucks through Prolific, but an extra £40 a month isn’t out of the question and is well worth looking into.
Student research studies
Most universities will have research studies which they’ll need to recruit participants for, and providing you’re comfortable with the research or test they’re undertaking, I’d say it’s well worth it. I once made £15 for a 30 minute psychology test on facial expression perceptions, and it was probably one of the easiest £15 I’ve made. Look on your university job boards and intranet for the latest opportunities.
If you’re super-friendly and present yourself well, it would also be worth looking out for promotions jobs in your local area – typically an event staffing agency will look for somebody who is friendly, confident and a hard worker (you could be on your feet for hours, talking to large amounts of people).
The money is ok, and the fact you get to choose your hours (unlike retail and catering options) I’d say it’s quite a good option if you feel comfortable talking to strangers. If you have a large sports venue in your university town, definitely reach out to see if they need any hosts/hostesses – they often pay much better than any other venues in the area.
Food Delivery Driver (or Cycler)
If you’ve got a bike (or even a car if you’re a baller), being a food delivery person is another great option as you only make money based on how much work you’re willing to do. Uni life can be busy and unpredictable which can make a regular retail job difficult to commit to, especially when your timetables change every term. Instead, for once, zero hours set-ups can be perfect, along with any opportunities that allow you to manage your own time.
This is one I had seriously considered whilst at university, and a couple of guys I knew from my course did do this – taking home £40 each session (a pretty attractive take-home wage when it’s getting you ten drinks that night!) You’ll of course need to be comfortable with the idea of standing naked infront of (hopefully!) strangers whilst they draw you, but as long as it’s a reputable art class that you’ve done your due diligence on, there’s no reason it couldn’t be extremely lucrative for the right person. Just please, please check out the reputation of the class, and make sure you’re safe!
Obviously this is time dependent, but if you can find an opportunity that allows flexible working (allowing you to work outside of the standard 9-5 format, but ensuring you still get all work done by a set deadline), it could be a great paying option, and something that could set you apart on your CV once you’ve graduated. To find your first paying gigs, head to Fiverr, register your account and upload your gigs.
If you’re a big dog lover like I am, Rover is perfect for you. Chances are you weren’t able to take your family dog with you to university, so why not meet some of the local hounds and take them for paid dog walks instead?
Rover is a website and App where you can list your dog-walking services, set your rates and availability, and advertise yourself in the hope that a local dog-owner will reach out to you.
Hanging out with dogs and getting paid to do it? Sounds like a win-win to me!
My ol’ reliable way of making money when I need it ASAP. I always like to precursor any recommendation of matched betting with the following – whilst it isn’t gambling, please don’t bother with it if you have previous history of problems with betting. It’s just not worth it.
That said, you can find out my full thoughts on all things matched betting here, and discover how I make a little extra tax-free cash every month with it.
Research & Focus Groups
I recently met somebody who said she paid her way through university by signing up to as many different Focus Groups as she could – and I just wish I’d have thought of it myself!
The basic gist of these groups are companies, councils and service providers pay selected demographics to give their opinions on a set topic – from discussing brunch bars, through to proposed local Government reforms (yep, it’s quite a wide spectrum!) This is one of my favourite side hustles, as I get to be nosey and find out more about companies, but it is also one of the best paying income streams I’ve come across.
A few focus group organisers worth applying to are as follows:
Hopefully these have given you some ideas on how you might be able to make a little extra cash during your student years – the flexibility you have during this time means you’re in an incredibly privileged position to have the time to focus on a few of these in more depth than if you were in a 9-5. And you never know, do some of these well, and you might be looking at a career straight out of university!
If you’re looking for more ideas on ways to make money around your studies, download my free ebook of ’50 Side Hustles You Can Start Today’ below.