When you’re a student, you’ll likely hear the phrase “the best days of your life” reasonably often. This phrase has been applied to university, school, preschool and basically any stage of life that isn’t pure, unadulterated adulthood. There’s a good reason for that. Adulthood carries with it responsibilities, obligations and other boring things that students simply don’t need to worry about, and many adults often find themselves daydreaming about the days they used to be students.
Arguably, most people forget what it was actually like to be a student. Groggy, hazy days full of nebulous lecture schedules, last-minute revision and penny-pinching. Life as a student is notoriously financially difficult, with some students reaching up to £69,000 in debt. As such, it can be hard to know how to fund life as a student, especially when your student loan and maintenance grant just don’t feel like they’re cutting it. Here are our top tips on how to pull together enough money to survive the student life.
Work a part-time job
Many students severely underestimate the value of working a part-time job while studying. Around 60% of uni students work a job to support themselves while studying, and it’s not hard to see why. By working a part-time job while you study, you’re earning more cash to fund your lifestyle, but you’re also gaining valuable skills and experience which will look great on your record once you leave uni. It might seem like hard work at the time, but you’ll thank yourself for doing it when you look back.
Look into short-term loans
We know it sounds counter-intuitive, but taking out a short-term loan can actually be a great way to learn about financial responsibility when you’re a student. Obviously, you shouldn’t do this if you’re not already financially solvent, and you should make sure you find yourself a trustworthy lender, too. Taking out a loan can solve short-term money worries, give you a quick cash injection to go out with your friends guilt-free, or even help pay for textbooks and other course resources. Just make sure you have the means to pay it back after.
Sell old textbooks
Are you familiar with the phrase “pay it forward”? Students are always looking for cheap, good-quality textbooks, as new versions can cost a pretty penny. We’re betting that if you’re currently a student, a lot of the textbooks you own are second-hand, and if you used to be a student then you might still have a few lying around. You can combine making a little extra cash with helping your fellow students here – by selling your old textbooks, you’re making space in your room or home, earning some money and making sure another student can have the same experience of buying a good textbook for next to nothing that you did.
Get tough on old possessions
When you’re living as a student, you have to be harsh on yourself if you want to make a bit of extra scratch. Do you really need that extra TV that’s lying around? Are you really gonna use that gaming console you bought for a one-off session of a multiplayer game? Does that backup laptop really need to stay at your parents’ place? Asking yourself all of these questions and being harsh with the answers is the best way to make money, because there’s always going to be someone who needs that stuff more than you do.
Try online surveys
Online surveys won’t make you an absolute ton of money, but they’re still a great way to rake in a little extra cash while you’re waiting for that student loan to come in (and they might just help pay for a meal or two). Plenty of research companies online are looking for people to fill out surveys and opinion polls for them, and they’ll pay for the time. Sites like Toluna, Swagbucks and MySurvey offer surveys on a range of different topics, so if you don’t feel like answering one particular survey there’s bound to be others.
Recycle your old phone
Okay, so you splashed out when your student loan came in and got yourself a new smartphone. You’re over the moon, but your old one is just sitting there gathering dust now. Luckily, there are plenty of sites to which you can send your old phone in exchange for cash. The older the model, the less likely you are to get a serious payout for it, but even a little bit of money could dent the cost of that new phone. Try sites like Mazuma or Money Supermarket which will offer you a quick valuation before you actually commit.
These are just a few ways you can make a little extra money as a student. Life at university isn’t easy, but with our tips you can make it a little less painful. Anything to add? Any other tips you think we’ve missed? Let us know!