Smart ways to get money for nothing

Sadly there are few (legit) ways to get paid for zero effort – but can you make extra cash without a full-on slog? Save the Student uncovers some easy wins.

Forget rooting down the back of the sofa for spare change: if you want to make money for next to no effort, you’ve got to get your smarts on. That means finding the biggest pay-offs, thinking long term, and getting real about how much time you can throw at it.

No brainers

The cash pots you should you be hitting-up as standard!

Max out student funding

There’s tons of prime funding out there that doesn’t have to be paid back, most of which goes unclaimed – probably because it’s better hidden than a politician’s Panama cash stash. 

As well as uni-funded bursaries, grants and scholarships, there are loads of businesses and charities offering apprenticeships, sponsorships and grants, with support for everything from gender and nationality to book smarts and sporting prowess. Finding something you’re eligible for can take some looking – luckily, here’s a list of the best places to strike it rich. You’re welcome. 

Get a savings account

Not having a savings account is like turning down the last parachute on the plane because you went bungee jumping once and liked it – it makes no sense. 

Keeping cash in the bank earns you extra money for free in the form of interest: the higher the interest rate, the more you’ll earn. While rates are pants poor right now, the trick is to save little, often and for the long haul – and keep moving your cash when you find a better deal. 

Reckon you can’t afford it? Slice a bit off every time you get paid (Student Loan, birthday money or wages) and put it away. Even a jar of loose change adds up. Get the savings habit now and you’re guaranteed to be better off later in life. Fact. 


British pound coins

A bit more effort

Super skint and got a bit more time on your hands? Give one of these a whirl.

Sell your story: you don’t have to deliver a baby in a festival portaloo to get your face in the papers. Massive weight loss, prize car boot hauls and funky business ideas are all ripe for five minutes of fame and a bit of cash in your pocket. Contact local or national newspapers, websites or TV stations for leads.

Sell your stuff: as well as off-loading your unwanteds on eBay, if you’re a dab hand with a glue gun, a camera or a paintbrush, you may be able to use your talents to turn a buck. The smart money is on things you can make once and sell multiple times: think hawking your photos, artwork, typography, soundtracks and sound fx – have a look at Envato to see what folk are willing to pay for.

Sell your space: got a car, blog, vlog or anything else that someone can slap an ad on? Charge for it. Try Car Quids, check out YouTube  or get Googling!

Get paid for surveys: the thing no one tells you about survey sites is that many involve massive time suck for pretty low returns. You Gov is one of the better ones for not leeching masses of personal info – it can still take up to a year to reach the £50 payout but if you’re online and opinionated is worth a look.

Try your luck on a gameshow: while there’s no guarantee you’ll come out with a win, it could be good for a laugh while you’re at it. Plus you might get to meet The Beast. Scour the station websites or have a look at Beonscreen to see what’s going.

Womble: Not just for freakishly furry eco warriors, wombling involves scouring supermarkets for discarded receipts. Why? Because some of them can be used to claim forgotten reward points, offers, money off or price matching. It’s not glamorous by any means, but dedicated womblers reckon they net around £200/month. That’s the kind of supermarket sweep we like ...

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