Whether you’re revising your budget or feeling a little short, it is always worth investigating ways to increase your income. All it takes is some time and effort and you could be quid’s in.
Here are some ideas to consider:
Check your funding entitlement
Are you getting your full entitlement to funding? You may be eligible to receive more money from Student Finance (or funding body) – usually this is because you have either not been fully financially assessed or your household income has recently reduced by 15% or more. You can check this by using the Student Finance calculator or phone 0300 100 0607. If you have any concerns, speak to the Financial Guidance team.
Apply for a student bank account
It’s not free money – if only! – but student bank accounts usually offer an overdraft which can help tide you over between loan payments. There’s usually no interest or fees to pay while you are a student providing you apply for the overdraft before you need it and don’t go over the agreed limit (however, you will be expected to repay it after you finish your course). Make sure you check the terms and conditions before speaking to your bank. Further information about ‘student bank accounts’ is available here.
Get a part-time job
There are lots of advantages to working while you are studying including gaining experience and skills, improving your time-keeping and organisation, and most importantly – boosting your bank balance. Although you may need to pay income tax and national insurance on your earnings, you will still be able to keep most of the money you make. Even if you don’t work regular hours, this is still – by far – the best way of maximising your income. Please see ‘Should I find part-time work?’ for further details.
Sell your stuff
Even if you don’t have any designer clothing or old mobile phones lying around, you can still make money by selling your old or unwanted items – it is amazing what people will buy. Your trash can be someone else’s treasure. There are plenty of sites online that you can register with, but make sure you check the terms and conditions for hidden selling charges so you don’t find yourself out of pocket, and be careful when arranging to meet customers at your own house or elsewhere.
Apply for hardship funding
If you’re struggling financially, you may be eligible to apply for hardship funding such as the Financial Assistance Fund or the EU Hardship Fund (eligibility and assessment criteria apply – receiving an award is not guaranteed). If you are eligible to receive an award, you don’t usually have to pay it back.
Investigate scholarships and bursaries
Depending on your circumstances, you might be eligible to receive a bursary or a scholarship from the University or elsewhere to help you with your course or living costs (eligibility criteria apply).
Create a present wishlist
Socks, chocolates, and bath gift-sets can be useful presents, but if you have a birthday coming up or Christmas is on the horizon, don’t be shy in asking for money or vouchers for your favourite online and high street retailers instead. Top-up prepaid shopping and credit cards where you can only spend what is on the card (make sure you check the terms and conditions!) are also available. How much and what you receive will depend upon your family and friends’ generosity as well as their own bank balances so this shouldn’t be relied upon as a definite source of income. And don’t sulk if your granny insists on knitting you a sweater instead!
Need further inspiration?
We can’t guarantee how much money you might make, but once you’ve looked into some of these, you can create a new budget (see our ‘How do I budget, and why do I need one?’ post for further tips). Don’t forget to look at ways to cut down on your spending too.
If you have any great ideas about ways to (legally!) make money as a student? Share them with us and we’ll feature the best ones on the blog.