You’ll never forget your uni days. They’re a time to make great friends, have lots of fun and, yes, to learn. But, there’s no getting away that this life-defining experience can be expensive.

According to a survey from Save The Student, 79% of students worry about making ends meet. Indeed, the survey also found that there’s a £267 shortfall between the maintenance loan and actual living costs for people at university in the UK.

Whether you’re struggling to keep up with the cost of living or just want a little bit more spending money in your pocket so you can enjoy the positives about going to university, this post is geared towards helping you. At Free Money, we love ideas that can save and earn that little bit extra – and learning thrifty habits as a student will stand you in good stead as an adult. Earn while you learn with these ideas…

How to make money at uni

Survey says? Free money!


With online surveys, you can literally get paid for your opinion. It’s a great way to earn a bit of free money on the side – and a much more lucrative use of your down time than just scrolling through social media channels.

A whole series of people – from top brands to politicians – are keen to understand what people think, so there’s always a demand for people to let them know through surveys. Some sites offer an outright cash reward for your time, others give you the chance to redeem points for gift cards, which can be just as good if they’re for retailers that you’re bound to spend with.

These surveys can often be pretty interesting – especially if you’re a passionate person with an opinion – and can feel rewarding too, as your thoughts can help to shape the way products, marketing campaigns and policies are shaped.

Here’s three sites to try:

Those who can, teach

There are plenty of people on the lookout for trusted tutors and you might well have the skills they’re looking for help with. Whether that’s overseas students looking to fine tune their English language or parents looking for someone to help their child with their tricky maths GCSEs, this can be a lucrative side earner to fit around your studies.

Here’s a few options to consider:

  • If languages are your thing, sign up for Lingoda.
  • Place an ad in a local Facebook group – these are a great way to find people nearby
  • Go ‘old school’ and put a card in the window of your local shop


Sell, sell, sell

Newsflash, you’re practically an adult now – and that means facing up to the fact that you might well have accumulated plenty of ‘stuff’ that you don’t need. 

From those clothes you thought were great when you were 15 through to your old phone that’s sitting in the draw, you’re bound to have unwanted items that can be put to better use in earning you money.

As you carry on at uni, you might also have old textbooks that you can sell on to the next set of students.

Good selling sites include:


Monetise your hobby

Want to make a bit of money from doing something that you love doing anyway? Whatever your passion is in life, there might be a way to turn it into a money-making enterprise. From arts and crafts that can be sold as gifts to baking, photography, upcycling or gardening, if you’ve got a talent, there’s a chance someone will pay for it – and it won’t feel like a chore if you enjoy doing it anyway.

Given that you’re studying at university anyway, there’s a good chance that you’ve got a good way with words. Explore the many different ways you can earn a bit of money as a writer – be that copywriting for businesses, reviewing products or pitching freelance articles to publications on your chosen passion. You might even be able to take on some proofreading.

Look out for:


Small tasks all add up

Only got a small amount of time to spare? Don’t worry. Every hour you’ve got can be useful when it comes to money-making activities. There are plenty of sites that cater for small-scale freelance projects – known as gigs – that can be lucrative ways of making a little bit extra cash while you’re at uni. Typical tasks include web design, voice over, translating or writing assignments.

Check these sites out to browse the sorts of task you could undertake:


Get a job on the side

You might have a lot on your plate at uni – especially when it comes to exam season or key essay deadlines. It might still be possible to squeeze in a part time job that brings in enough cash to help you along the way though.

It might well be worth looking for something that’s flexible and allows you to up your hours when you have more time and reduce them when studies need to take priority. Bar work, shop work and delivery driving are all common jobs to consider.

Some good jobs boards to consider are:


Sell your uni notes

That pile of notes you made during last year’s lectures and seminars? Don’t throw it away. It might well be able to make you some extra money. Yes, really! Every year a fresh batch of students follows in your footsteps and there are always people on the lookout for help. Whether they’ve had to miss a lecture and are behind – or just didn’t quite understand a topic and want to see how someone else interpreted it – there are sites that allow you to upload your notes. You don’t need to worry about breaking the rules here either – you aren’t passing on completed essays or anything secret – just the notes you’ve made during your studies.

You’ll get paid for every download – and all for something that you’ve done anyway. Typed notes make more money – although you can still earn cash from hand-written notes too.

Sites where you can sell your notes include:


Sign up for a clinical trial

Are you fit, healthy and a non-smoker? You might well be just the person for a drug or medical trials. Clearly, you need to make sure you’re comfortable with whatever you’re being asked to do here – and if you’re not, you should decline and leave. However, if you’re the right fit and you’re happy, you can earn about £100 a day from a clinical trial – and many of these span several sessions over a period of many months. 

Reputable companies offering clinical trials in the UK include:


Savvy students can certainly make their life a bit easier by making some money on the side. Likewise, our whole site looks at ways in which you can get more out of life. Take a look around to see:

  • Cash back offers
  • Online surveys
  • Cryptocurrency