It’s a myth that you have to be poor to have lived the ‘authentic’ student experience; roughing it needn’t be the only way for the forward-thinking undergrad.
Here are 5 ways you can keep the wolf from the door, and have a little leftover pocket money to put towards fun, or even paying off your student loans early. There’s a lot to be said for living off your earnings and putting any extras aside – rather than go the way of the traditional student, you can learn some useful financial management skills at the university to stand you in good stead for life after graduation.
You, no doubt, have several hidden talents that could be useful both to other students and the local community and which could be made into money-making endeavours, quite apart from the fact that learning to draw on your strengths is a useful life skill.
Here are a few ideas to get you started. It could well be the start of life as an entrepreneur!
Cook up a Storm
If you can cook, you’re likely to be pretty popular on campus. Those who prioritize their pennies for nights out, and live on a diet of instant noodles or beans on toast, will pay a premium for roommates who can knock up a meal on a budget.
Capitalize on your culinary abilities and charge a weekly fee for packed lunches or hot dinners to your friends and neighbours. This is a lesson in profit margins for you; cooking up a vat of chilli for 20 won’t cost you the earth, but will give you a tidy sum by the time you’ve divvied it out.
If you’re not a chef but are great at organising or tidying, your skills are likely to be in high demand at your student residence if you can manage to pick up the remains of last night’s dinner from your next-door neighbour’s bedroom floor. It’s a niche market for the strong-willed, but sometimes all it takes is to be able to see opportunity where others fail to.
There probably aren’t many students on campus with kids, unless you’re studying a postgraduate degree, and maybe even then they’re thin on the ground, but look around your local area, help out a professor from time to time and earn some pretty good cash. Once word gets around locally that you’re swapping beers for bedtime stories, people will be queuing up for a well-deserved night off. Depending on how big your university town is, depends on how far you can take this opportunity. Just make sure you still have time for the odd all-nighter when projects are due in!
Uber in Demand!
If you are one of the lucky few to have a car at your disposal at university, perhaps offering lifts at a small fee would be an option for a little extra pocket money. If you can spare a couple of days or nights a week, or the odd weekend, considering signing up as an Uber driver could be a lucrative business idea – after all, every night of the week is a party night for students, and you’ll be in high demand for rides back to student digs. If Uber isn’t an option where you live, why not consider working for one of the numerous delivery companies for the numerous students ordering takeaway! It might be you have to do the odd shift at unsociable hours, but if you’re organised you can fit in it to your busy schedule and make a decent wage to boot.
Sell what you don’t use/ need
If you’ve got anything in your flat that is just gathering dust, be it an old computer, an exercise bike that you bought with the best intentions but is just acting as a clothes horse in the corner of your room, take a picture and post it for sale on noticeboards around college, or using one of the numerous apps available for that purpose. You might have a games console you thought you’d have more time to use or clothes you’ll never wear. One man trash is another man’s treasure, as they say, so getting bartering, and see what you can make out of stuff that’s spent ages lurking under the bed, or at the bottom of your wardrobe.
Room for Rent
Let’s face it, you have a whole lot of holidays as a student. You’re off a month at Christmas, two weeks at Easter, not to mention the endless summer breaks… Not saying you’re lazy, you’ve probably got lots to do to prepare for exams when you get back to school, but you’re likely to be living in the lap of luxury at mum and dad’s in the meantime. Why not consider offering your room for rent while you’re out of town? There are always exchange students and visitors visiting university towns on a budget, so offer them a good deal and make a bit of cash on the side for nothing. All it means is a little clean up before and after, and you’re making money work for you.
Maybe you’re a linguist, a singer or dancer or all three, or you have a knack for writing blogs, CVs or articles on the student paper. The options are numerous, and those willing to pay for your services are more numerous still. Learn how to leverage your talents early on, unleash your entrepreneurial flair, and reap the benefits until retirement.