It's time to stop being a poor student!
Update: As this is one of my most popular blog posts (crazy right..who would have thought students where fed up with being poor..) I have decided to give this a bit of an update! Enjoy!
Making a little bit of extra cash at University is basically a must these days. with tuition fees through the roof and basically no money at all, it's getting a little harder to scrape together some cash for the beans on toast or the cheeky beer or two (or three...or five) down the pub. So let me take some of that burden off of you and give you a few ways to make money at uni, or at least save a little!
1. Get a job
Yeah, this one is not a popular one, I can give you that much for free. But, you may actually want to consider getting a part-time job, nothing too strenuous or backbreaking. Maybe take a job part-time at your local Sainsbury's or take up a few shifts at the Wetherspoons around the corner. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you can be flexible with your shifts, or at least have the ability to call in favours for when your housemate decides to have a cracking party and you can't quite bring yourself to go to work the next day.
2. Claim your tax back
Seriously, this goes hand in hand with number 1. Most students get thrown onto emergency tax codes when they start working. This means you will be paying a higher rate of tax, usually disproportionate to the amount you have made from your part-time job. As such, it's a good idea to either ask the company who you work for to give you the right tax code. You can also go to the HRMC Website and check your tax code! You can also request them to update the code they have for you and to reassess your situation! As you more than likely won't earn enough to even reach the tax-free personal allowance, you will more than likely get yourself a nice big wad of cash back at the end of the year when they calculate it all for you!
3. Join survey websites
I see this tip everywhere. You cannot get away from it, why? Because the fundamental idea is actually pretty good and can be a good way to make money at Uni.
Essentially you can sign up to websites, who in turn will send you surveys to fill out.
Once you have completed the survey, the site will then provide you with a payment (anywhere from a few pence/cents all the way up too £/$s).
Many of these sites claim you can earn up to £300 a month for filling these surveys in, but you have to be quite lucky (or know a few weird tricks..) to be able to earn this amount.
Most of the time I would expect you to earn around £50 - £100 a month.
Companies such as GoldOpinions who boast an average survey payout of $5 - $10 so you will need to do around 10 a month to earn between $50-$100 (£35-£70 with current exchange rates). They are also offering your first month for $1 so that's also a good start!
You can read more about earning money online with Survey sites here. It provides you with a little more in depth information than I could get in here!
4. Sell yourself
OK, not what you are quite thinking here... well actually you could sign up for friendship services. What I mean is, look at selling your skills.
Sites such as Fiverr allow you to sell gigs or small projects for anything from £3 (or $5) and up. In my first year, I used to sell business plan advice to people!
Look at the skills you are learning at University and see if any of these can be used to make money at uni.
Maybe you are doing an art degree?
How about creating cool little graphics for people? Maybe you are doing a degree in the political landscape of Russia in the 1700's...ok, I don't have one for that.
The most popular gigs on the Fiverr include Graphic Design (logos, Social media headers, icons), business plans and translation gigs!
There are plenty of gig sites out there these days, so be sure to check them out, but make sure that they have a customer base, and are not charging you for the privilege of being on there! Paying a % of the sale is fine, but try to avoid ones that try to charge you up front.
5. Sell your stuff (or other peoples)
By 'sell your stuff' I don't mean pack all your stuff into a van and take £50 for it. I mean look through your stuff and find things you really don't need.... for example, the George Foreman grill you bought in your first year that you really really wanted but just never got around to using it. Or the 25 pairs of shoes that you have accumulated over the years in-store sales, but you never actually wear.
Other options you can look at is to buy things in shops that are in the sales, and then resell them on websites such as eBay or Amazon it's an awesome way to money at uni! If you haven't heard of it, or not read it yet, I recommend reading or looking into guys like The Amazing Seller as you can learn an absolute ton from this guy, for free!
If you are going down the Amazon Route, I would highly recommend checking out AmzScout it could save you hundreds!
It's also worth looking into apps such as Profit Bandit or TeraPeak (they are both paid for Apps, but if you are serious about selling items on Amazon or eBay from items bought in stores, they are a must-have for quicker item lookups!)
6. Sign up for Pick My Postcode (Or Free Postcode Lottery)
Update: Free Postcode Lottery recently switched their name to Pick My Postcode, after they got into a bit of hot water from another well known post code lottery based company.
It's not really a money maker, and more of a 'you never know your luck'. It's one that I did quite a while ago, I signed up for a site called, Pick My Postcode.
Now, it is a UK only site and there is no guarantee you will ever win anything from it...but what's the harm? They give away around £400 - £1200 a day, split across multiple draws.
The site is funded by the advertisement they show around, which can be annoying for some, or semi-helpful for others. It's also based on a random number generator, so everyone has an equal chance of winning.
You can now read my very own guide about Pick My Postcode
I would recommend using an email that you don't care about, i.e one you use for signing up for free goodies websites etc, just in case. It's not going to make you a millionaire, but it might boost your wallet once in a while and best of all, it's free.
I also bagged myself £27 the offer day from them the other day after winning a stackpot prize and then adding my current bonus (so that's another win).
7. Cashback sites
Again, not exactly a money maker, but it could save you a few pennies each year, and give you a little bonus at the end of the year. Cashback sites work, much like affiliate sites. They refer you to a website, and in exchange, they receive a percentage of your check out or basket and pass some of that on to you. So you may buy something from H&M through a site like Quidco or TopCashBack and in return, they will give you 10% (for example) back on your purchase.
Again, this may not make you money at uni, but it will help you save a little.
You can currently earn £5 for signing up to Quidco for free, though you do only get that bonus once you have earned yourself £10 in cashback. So takes a little while.
You can currently earn £15 cashback if you sign up to TopCashBack and again, you need to get to a certain threshold before you get your bonus, but it's a nice surprise.
8. Start a blog
One of my original blogs that I started before I even got to University, was completely focused on gaming, and how to guides on games such as COD, DOTA2 and games like that. It was created on a free web hosting & website builder - That had a drag and drop style web builder, and gave me a free domain and hosting. It wasn't brilliant, but it allowed me to write about something that I enjoyed (and still do enjoy).
The great thing about blogs is that people are always on the lookout for reviews or information about pretty much anything. So you can always find traffic, it may be slow, but it will always be fairly steady. Plus, if you get a good enough following and you become good at your writing and information, people will start to stop by your blog more and more. I
Learn how to make a Blog quickly and easily - It can take as little as 30minutes to get one up and running.
8.1 Making money with the blog
Running a blog is actually a great way to make money at uni, as it allows you to;
A) Advertisement - Traditional via Google Adsense, or even less traditional via Fiverr gigs (I used to sell ad space for a few $'s a week and keep revolving the spaces, so each space was worth $15 a week to me!).
You may not become rich off of the money you get from this, but it might start paying for a few nights our or a drink or two down the pub, and that's a great start
B) Affiliate Commission - If you are reviewing products such as gaming chairs, game consoles or even snowboards, you can pretty much make it into an affiliate product using the Amazon Affiliates service.
Simply link up the product that you are reviewing with its relevant affiliate link, and if someone goes onto buy it, you get a % of the sale.
C) Be paid to post content - Again using the gaming theme, publishers and console creators will start to send you games, items and other merchandise (including money) to review products.
A good friend of mine is sent make up each month to review as well as being able to add her own affiliate links to the website.
Essentially giving her the ability to review a product for free and then get a % of each sale.
If you are stuck for ideas, I would recommend checking out this guide.
9. Tutoring or Teaching a Langauge
You could add this to the one about doing Fiverr gigs, or be selling yourself, but it deserves its own one.
Tutoring can come in all shapes and sizes, from teaching year 10 kids how to do basic mathematics, to helping a 50something how to do Excel spreadsheets! A good friend at University used to tutor a kid in French because the kids' mother was worried they were falling behind!
You can also bundle in Teaching a Language here, but requires a little more confidence. Many universities do language swap classes, or even hire students to teach other students how to read/write/get on with new languages. It's a great idea to check with your uni to see if they offer the ability to teach other students.
Some websites include OnlineTutoringJob who will post up jobs within their forum for you to apply for. The current average earning from websites like this can be upwards of £3,000 if you are willing to put in the hours! Not bad for a side hustle, beats that Costa job as a way to earn money at Uni.
10. Test new products
This can be tied in with your blog, as long as the products you are testing don't have None Disclosure Agreements attached to them. You essentially sign up to a website they then screen through all their users, see if you fit the bill and send you free stuff. You will have to fill out surveys and give your honest opinion, but in return, you get free items, and on occasion get paid for your time.
Websites like UserTesting will pay you $10 to test out apps and websites (again if you fit the bill). Again you won't get mega rich from doing this, but an extra few $ a month is always handy.
Other platforms like AppCoiner give you the ability to test hundreds of apps or websites through their platform.
They link you directly to the app builders themselves, you then have to write an honest review of their product, the developer will then give AppCoiner some cash and in turn, AppCoiner pays you.
It may not make you a millionaire, but you could earn yourself some great beer money doing it.
I would recommend reading this App Coiner Review to understand how they and similar sites work.
Or read how testing Products could earn you money.
If you have a gaming background you can join forums or websites such as Gaming Jobs Online (websites like this are more focused on giving you long-term jobs on the side, and some will take a % of your earnings - a bit like a finders fee..).
You may need to fork out money up front for some of them, and some offer a ££ back guarantee if you haven't found or made money with them.
11. Start an eCom or DropShipping business
This is ideas is for those with a little bit of time and some leftover beer money that they can use to test out products. A good way to earn money at uni is to create a drop shipping site (you can also do this via eBay and Amazon, though harder). The great thing about DropShipping is that you don't own stock, and don't buy the product until after your customer has paid you!
If you are serious about learning about eCom or selling via DropShipping, then I would recommend looking into these two courses.
eCom Elites - For those who really want to learn how eCom works and how to become succesfull within DropShipping and ecommerce
Print Profits - For those who have a little more money to spend and want to learn about how to build Print on Demand businesses.
12. Become a lab rat...
Oh come on, you have always wanted to be Pinky or the Brain...right?
All joking aside, if you are a healthy person, and you meet the right criteria, you can join drug trials to test out new drugs.
After new pills and tablets pass animal trials, they have to go through very thorough human trials, which of course need to be tested on healthy (which then become unhealthy) humans! You can earn quite a lot of money from them, in the 000's if you do the longer ones or a few hundred if it's a low-risk sleep in this room for one-night style test.
Talk to your University, they usually have information, or even speak to your local GP - They may know!
13. Become a Herbalife or ItWorks Facebook Rep!
Trust me, I do!
14. Fine, the REAL bonus. Become an online marketer
You have seen it everywhere. People telling you that you can make money at home and earn $4,000 or about £3,500 a month without lifting a finger.
Well, it's semi true.
Nothing in life is ever free, it may not cost you money, but it costs you time, and that's valuable.
Take this blog for instance.
I spend around 2 hours a day updating blog posts, sending emails, replying to emails, writing new reviews, writing fun new articles to help people (such as this one). But it does provide me with a second income.
Well if you read the part about starting your own blog above, then you may have guessed it.
I am what is known in the industry as an Affiliate Marketer. I give brutally honest reviews about products, and then if I like them or think they are worth while, I share them with people.
In return I receive a % of the purchase price (makes no difference to the buyer and sometimes comes with better pricing and bonuses).
Sounds good right?
Fancy a go at something similar? I am currently running some free training with a mentor of mine, who actually gave me the balls to redo this whole blog from the ground up as well as helping me up my DropShipping game. You can grab your seat here!
Final Verdict - Is It Possible To Make Money While At University?
Yes is the short answer, as long as you are willing to put in a few hours!
Well, there you go.
I hope that a few of these might give you a few ways to make money at uni!
Let me know in the comments below what your ideas are!
Don't forget to check out the Helpful Tools section as well for my recommended hosting providers, themes and more!
James started The Online Student as a typical blog telling people about his struggles and woes with DropShipping, Amazon FBA and even Affiliate marketing. He then decided that blogging about it all would give people the skills, knowledge and apps to get up and running (while making a little extra on the side). After a few months he realised it was quite lucrative and decided to work his ass off making it a bit more than just a hobby!