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Being a full-time student often means money is really tight. For most students, loans will barely cover the cost of rent, never mind day-to-day living.
I am a full-time Adult Nursing student, and between placement and study I am unable to hold a regular job. I occasionally do bank shifts, but most of my supplementary income comes from survey sites, receipt analysers, and gig work. I can honestly say it’s made a huge difference to my income, and I would not have been able to afford living in London for the past few years without them!
My favourite way to earn some spare cash is receipt scanning apps. They’re completely free to download, and you just snap a photo of a receipt for items you were going to buy any way! All of the apps I use accept grocery store receipts, so it’s like getting a little bit of cashback for making essential purchases.
My favourite receipt scanning apps are Storewards, Huyu, SnapMyEats, and Shoppix. Huyu only accepts receipts from large grocery retailers like Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and SnapMyEats only accepts receipts containing food or drink items such as restaurant receipts, Deliveroo receipts, or food and drink bought from stores. Storewards and Shoppix accepts receipts from a huge variety of retailers, including when you shop online! I find it easiest to build up rewards with these two, but it’s not an absurdly long time for cashout from any of these apps, unlike some other receipt scanners I’ve tried.
Taking short surveys is a really easy way to get a little extra income. My personal favourite is Ipsos i-Say because you can use it on desktop and there’s an app for smartphones as well. Surveys usually take between 2 and 15 minutes, so it’s easy to build up points and redeem them for a range of different gift cards, including Tesco and Amazon. You can sign up here.
I also use StreetBees, which is a mobile app. Money for surveys goes straight to your PayPal account, so you don’t have to worry about building up enough points or credit to redeem a reward. Surveys are really short, and usually reward between 20p and £2. I’ve racked up over £60 since starting to use StreetBees around 9 months ago. Plus, if you sign up using my referral code 7751TS you can get extra credit after completing your first survey!
I absolutely love cash back apps. Cash back is where you link your card to a reward partner or shop through a reward partner’s link and you get a percentage of your purchase back. There are loads of different cash back schemes, but my two favourites are Airtime Rewards and Quidco.
Airtime Rewards works by linking your cards through their app, and then you can redeem credit off your mobile phone bill. I’ve redeemed over £100 off my phone bill since signing up, and it’s completely effortless – just shop as normal at retailers such as Boots, Morrisons, Greggs, and Primark, and build up credit. Once you’ve reached £10 credit, just cash out and the money comes off your phone bill. If you sign up using my referral code 6T8XC84K, you can get extra credit with your first tracked spend!
Quidco takes a little more effort to use, because you need to go to their website or app and shop through their link. But I’ve never had any issues with my spend being tracked and cashing out – my only issues is I sometimes forget to check if a retailer is listed and then I realise after spending I could have got cashback (whoops). You can sign up to Quidco here.
Gig work has been an absolute life saver for me. I’ve worked one off days at vintage clothing sales, handed out leaflets for a few hours, and I also do bank shifts as a Nursing Assistant at my local hospital. I’ve tried a few different gig work services, but they tend to require a uniform like a black blouse, black work trousers etc., and I don’t want to buy clothes purely to use them once or twice. Instead I tend to check out upcoming local one off events, like clothing sales, and contact the organisers or just check the likes of Facebook to see if there’s any work going.
I was signed up to HAP Recruitment, which offers temporary and part-time hospitality jobs like bar work at concerts and festivals. It was really easy to sign up, and I worked a festival in Ireland a couple of years ago. While the pay was good and you got free entry to the festival, the working hours were ridiculous (12+ hours dealing with drunks behind a cramped bar), meaning you didn’t really get to enjoy the festival, and when I injured my back the supervisors were really unsympathetic. Plus the staff “camp site” was literally just a muddy field, with the most disgusting toilets/shower block I have ever seen, and no adequate security. The whole experience really put me off working at festivals, but I would consider picking up some bar shifts at concerts and sporting events.
I started donating blood for research purposes when I moved to London, and I balance it with my regular NHS blood donations. There’s a lot of medical research companies around the UK that will give you some money to cover travel costs and the “inconvenience” of donating, and they only take a small amount of blood at each donation. While medical research isn’t for everyone, there’s loads of ways to get paid for your time, such as inpatient medical research and different forms of blood donation.
Market research is also a great way to earn money on a one-off basis. I have taken part in several market research studies around makeup and skincare, and they usually only take an hour or two. Market research and focus groups are a great way for brands to shape future products and design marketing campaigns, and they tend to pay really well for your feedback.
Do you have any other ways you earn money as a student? Share them below in the comments!
Until next time,
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