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How to make money as a student

Whether it’s student rent, food shopping or study supplies, going to university can be expensive. But to help make uni life a bit more affordable, you could look at using your spare time to make some money.

Ways to make money as a student

1. Get a part-time or holiday job

There are plenty of benefits to part-time work, including building up work experience and having a steady income. Many organisations, including supermarkets, food outlets or even your university, may take on part-time staff during term-time. They may also offer flexible shift patterns, allowing you to work around your timetable and deadlines. If you’re unable to work during term-time, you could try finding a temp job during the holidays to build up your savings.

2. Try freelancing

Freelancing can be a great way to earn some extra cash. Plus, the flexible working hours and control of your own workload mean you’ll be better placed to balance your work/study life. 

You could look to do some freelance work in the same industry as your degree to help gain experience, or in an area you’re interested in. A wide range of companies use freelancers including:

  • writing
  • graphic design
  • programming

3. Provide tutoring support

Providing academic support to other students can be a good way to make money. You’ll also be able to grow your own skills in things like communication and time management. If you’re unable to tutor face-to-face, you could provide online tutoring support.

If you’re considering tutoring students under 18 years old, you may need to request a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check to get a copy of your criminal record. It’s not legally required, but parents may ask to see it. 

4. Make and sell items

If it’s something you enjoy, you could look at making items to sell. There are loads of things you could create, including tote bags, jewellery and t-shirts which you could sell online or at markets. 

You may need to consider things like insurance, or if there are any health and safety regulations you need to follow. For example, homemade items such as candles, soap and baked goods will need to have the correct labelling if you’re wanting to sell them. 

You could also sell items you no longer use to make some extra money. There are lots of sites where you can sell second-hand goods, including:

  • clothing
  • shoes
  • tech items

Some dedicated sites may also offer to buy specific items from you, like old mobile phones or DVDs. 

5. Try your hand at user testing

Some companies will actually pay you to review their websites. You might need to take part in a focus group, fill out an online survey or simply speak to them, but it can be a good way to build up some extra cash.

Paying tax

If you’re looking to start making money on the side regularly, make sure you understand the tax implications. You’ll need to pay income tax on your taxable income – which is anything you earn over the personal allowance. For 2021/2022, the personal allowance is £12,570. You may also need to pay National Insurance if you’re self-employed and your profits are over £6,515 for the year 2021/2022.

If you’re self-employed and think you’ll earn over £12,570 in the tax year, it can be useful to save around 30% of your profits when freelancing or selling items. This is a good estimate of what you’ll need to pay in income tax and National Insurance. 

If you’re going to make a profit of more than £1,000 in a year you’ll need to register as self-employed. And if you want to charge any clients VAT or your turnover is above £85,000 in a year, you’ll need to be VAT registered.

At the end of the tax year, which runs April to April, you’ll need to fill in a self-assessment to show you have been paying the right amount of tax. 


Explore more: What is a self-assessment? 

What next?

Opening a savings account can give you somewhere to keep your additional income and also earn interest.

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