It’s getting more and more expensive to live as a student, as you’re mostly reliant on loans and the goodwill of relatives to get you through. You needn’t struggle to make ends meet, though – flex your creative muscles and you’ll find all sorts of ways to make cash around your studies. Follow me off the beaten track, with a pick of some of the more unusual ways of earning cash:
- Party hard
If you’re the life and soul of the party, have a knack for selling, love having your mates over for wine-fuelled catch-ups, or all of the above, you could be the perfect sales party host. This involves buying a starter pack of goods, throwing a cosy bash for friends and taking home a profit from whatever you sell. The Body Shop is a good scheme if you can wax lyrical about shower gel and body butter, or for something much hotter, become a party ambassador for Ann Summers – perfect for a giggly uni social, or for getting your kicks (ahem) from working for yourself.
- Life modelling
Yes, you – anyone can life-model, and you don’t need to be the next Douglas Booth or Cara Delevigne or anything near! Increase your body confidence and strip off for an art class – you’ll laugh far more at their attempts at sketching nudes than they will at your wobbly bits. To find an opportunity, call up or email local art colleges or universities with art courses.
- Drinks are on them
If you’re 18 or 19, Serve Legal want you – to go to retailers that sell age-restricted products and test if they ID you properly. It’s part-time, flexible work, and if you’re willing to travel in your area you can get more jobs. Serve Legal will pay your travel costs and you can keep what you buy, whether it’s alcohol or tobacco, a lottery ticket or to winnings from a placed bet.
Find out how to apply here.
- Sell your old stuff
Alright, you’ve probably heard of this one; eBay is nothing new after all. Bear with me, but it’s worth making the effort – if you come home after a term or two at uni and find your old room is full of stuff you forgot about while you were away, chances are you don’t need it, or might not want it anymore. This fresh perspective could make you a fair amount of cash – so get decluttering! Trawl through your wardrobe and pick out anything you haven’t worn for a year (two years if we’re being generous), take some clear, snazzy photos and whack them on eBay or a local sell/swap Facebook page. Note: keep anything that may be useful for fancy dress! If you have a pile of clothes that aren’t too valuable, you could group them up into bundles to sell them that way. If you have a baby or young child, you could make money from their too-small clothes this way.
Books, DVDs, video games, decorations and ornaments (except your tatty dreamcatchers from c.2002) – they can all be sold to make some space and some pocket money at the same time. Your old textbooks can go on Amazon Marketplace – they’ll stay up until they’re sold and it’s easier to list them there.
- What’s your opinion?
Focus groups are an excellent way to earn money – they usually take place over a morning or afternoon, you get free drinks and sandwiches, and will be paid simply for voicing your opinion. Cash to natter on for a couple of hours? Easy! Look out for local opportunities, including around your students’ union or university retail firm, as well as festivals and regular events.
- This isn’t just any voiceover…
Your dulcet tones could earn you cash and even kick off a career! If you love the sound of your own voice and imagine yourself presenting the next M&S advert, borrow a good mic and get online to find agencies. voices.com could be a good place to start, as it has plenty of tips for beginners, is well-respected, and you can post up your first clip soon after creating an account.
- A fiver at a time
Fiverr is a way to sell random services online for, you guessed it, £5 – well, $5 actually, although it has a UK site! If you have a skill, quirk or talent that someone else might want, Fiverr connects you to buyers. From designing posters and flyers, to penning a jingle on the ukele, to engraving someone’s name on a teaspoon for a cute gift, people offer all sorts of things for $5 each. Like most of the ideas on this list, you only need to do this when you have time and you decide the workload.
- Bag yourself something valuable
Have you ever seen Storage Hunters and got maybe tiny bit excited about what’s inside those containers? Lost luggage auctions are almost exactly like that – bid on a suitcase that never made its way back to its owner, and the case and its contents are yours to do with as you wish. Satisfy your curiosity about other people (and stamp down that ebb of guilt when you think about that guy who will never get his flip-flops back) by heading to one of these auctions. You could club together with a group of mates, split the cost of the luggage, and divvy out the profits once you’ve all sold the items within. You could find some real gems – at least it’s a bit of fun!
- Sell your skills
Play an instrument? Good at Maths or English? Have an odd but useful talent? Cash in on it! Advertise your skills as a private tutor and look online for resources, teach your instrument, even look for gigs at weddings and other big events to build up a reputation and earn money. Dog whisperers can almost always find people who have no time to walk their dogs, and if you’re good with children you could always babysit.
For more novel ideas on how to make money, while a student check out the Make Money section of Student Money Saver