10 Things To Do If You’re a Student With No Money (AD)

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So, you want some student money-making and money-saving tips? Today I’m sharing 10 Things To Do If You’re a Student With No Money.

We’ve all been there. Students are dealing with rising tuition fees, rising rent and living costs, and we all struggle with money. I’ve been a student in London for the past five years, so believe me, I know.

I’ve previously shared tips on how to save money as a student, hacks for life on a budget, cheap alternatives for holiday accommodation, and budget-friendly tips for fashion. This time I’m writing about what to do if you’re a student with no money, I hope you find it useful.

10 Things To Do If You’re a Student With No Money

10 Things To Do If You're a Student With No Money
  1. Ask Mum & Dad (or Grandparents). I’ve got four younger brothers at home so I generally avoid this unless I’m truly desperate (usually involving borrowing for rent deposits), but remember that your family do love you and want to support you.
  2. Check if you’re eligible for any bursaries from your university or college. I got the “King’s Living Bursary” from King’s College London because my parent’s household income was low enough to qualify.

    This gave me an extra £1500 grant per year, plus £350 for graduation costs. Without this, I don’t know what I would have done! Living as a student is hard enough, let alone a student in London.
  3. Look for part-time or casual jobs. It’s hard to have a job and be a full-time student at the same time, but a lot of us have no choice. I’m lucky to have a part-time job from 10 am to 4 pm, 5 days a week, which fits nicely around my Master’s degree.

    I won’t lie, it was hard to manage working during my third-year Undergraduate exams and dissertation. During my first and second years at uni, it was pretty much impossible to have a job, due to the random lecture times I had.

    Third-year involved a lot more independent study, so I got a job. A lot of my friends are on part-time or casual work contracts, and the regular income on top of our student loans helps so much.

    If you don’t have the time to find a job, why not earn some extra money online? I manage to make enough money to cover most of my bills and expenses through blogging. I really recommend starting a blog, on any interest/hobby you have. It can be very therapeutic to write, and who knows, you might land a career from it!

    If you’d like to start a blog, have a read of my other blog, Internet Wages, and check out my blogging tools page. The main thing is to just start, then focus on getting your blog seen. Most of my traffic comes from Pinterest.
  4. Quit the gym. Unless you love going to the gym, or you totally need all the equipment there, why not quit that monthly payment of £20+ and run around the local parks or cycle? I enjoy following pilates and yoga YouTube videos at home, they’re free!
  5. Sell your clothes. Whenever I’ve needed a bit of extra cash, selling a few unwanted clothes or shoes has worked out well. I use eBay usually, but don’t forget that they take a commission. You could always try Facebook or Gumtree too. My university has an online marketplace for students, check if yours does too.
  6. Buy & Sell / Upcycle. For this, you’ll probably need a small amount to invest, but you could always pick up some furniture for free on Freecycle (which is totally awesome by the way), then resell it after cleaning or repainting.

    I’ve been meaning to try out something like this for a while, Shabby Chic furniture is so cute! You could always do the same with vintage clothes.
  7. Matched Betting. This sounds dodgy as hell, but I promise it isn’t. Thanks to Profit Accumulator, an awesome website that tells you exactly how to match bets, you can earn a lot of profit. You need a bit of upfront money in order to place and match the bets, but then you get a lot more back.

    In June 2017 I made exactly £217.32 in profit from matched betting. It’s probably best if you have a look yourself instead of me trying to explain it, but basically, you take advantage of free bet offers from various betting sites. If you’d like to find out more, I recommend reading Neesha’s blog. She knows her stuff!
  8. See if you can increase your overdraft. Student accounts generally have awesome free overdrafts (mine is £2000 at Natwest), so make sure you’re on the maximum possible if you need it. If you’ve been a student for a certain amount of years, many banks offer a larger free overdraft. I also have an overdraft in my Monzo account. 
  9. Never go above your free overdraft limit. This is so important. Banks charge you an insane amount if you go over your limit! If you’re in desperate need of money, you’d be better off getting a payday loan than going beyond your overdraft limit. Yes, I’m serious. I’m not an expert at all on credit etc, but CashLady* provides loans for those with bad credit. Make sure you’re careful and pay back any loans on time, or you’ll be in real trouble. 

    This really should be a last resort, if you’re facing eviction or significant financial issues. Having an open conversation with yourself, your university, Citizens Advice, and your family should happen before considering any loans. Always check to see if you are eligible for any governmental support or benefits.
  10. Get a 16-25 railcard! I got one free when I opened my student bank account, but even if you have to buy one, it’ll save you so much money when travelling home to visit family. Or you could get the Megabus, it’s so cheap! It took me forever to get from London to Exeter on a coach, but it saved me a lot of money. My flatmate commutes via coach between Oxford and London every day because trains are so expensive.

Bonus Tip: deposit £1 to investing apps and get free shares. Then sell the shares. Free money!

If you sign up to FreeTrade and deposit £1, you’ll get a free share worth between £3 and £200. It takes a couple of days, but once you get your share, you can sell it immediately for a bit of extra cash.

I got a £20 free share when I joined FreeTrade, then sold it and banked the money… £19 profit for doing nothing.

Trading212 have a similar offer: you can get a free share worth up to £100 for joining. I got a free share worth £15 from Trading212.

Take Advantage of Free Trials and Student Discounts

It’s definitely worth using free trials and student discounts if you’re short on money. I got a free 2 week trial of Skillshare, a free month of Audible, and 6 months of Amazon Prime Student. Read more about Amazon Prime for Students.

Don’t forget to cancel these services before you get charged if you can’t afford them!

If you already pay for a subscription such as Audible, Canva, or Adobe Creative Cloud, it’s worth going into the settings to cancel them. Why? Because they’ll often give you a free month, discount, or another incentive to stay.

In 2020, I got a free Audible credit, a half-price month of Canva, and 3 months for free on Adobe Creative Cloud plus a discount on my monthly payment. Check my discount codes page for an up-to-date list of free trials.

If you study an arts degree, you might be able to get Adobe software for free through your university, or with a significant discount. The same goes with tech equipment like laptops. Apple has a good education discount, and Microsoft 365 (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) is free for students.

That concludes my list of 10 things to do if you’re a student with no money! What are your student money-saving tips?

All the best,

- Emily

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10 Things To Do If You're a Student With No Money
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  1. This isn’t as relevant to me as I live in the US but some of these would be super helpful! I definitely know the struggle when you’re a student with no money. I am graduating in December (THANK THE HEAVENS) and I am so nervous about getting a job right out because it’s so hard for teachers to get on in December/January.

    xo, Kimberly

  2. Ah this post is so helpful as currently I am a student with no money. For second year I’ve joined a waitressing agency so the hours can be flexible based on deadlines and lectures. The upcycling is a good idea too, I’m definitely going to look into attempting it. I swear being a student in London is too expensive even though it’s amazing there, great post xx

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