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How to get Free Money as a Student: 19 ways

Tamires Criscio
Tamires Criscio
  | Edited by Tom Church
Updated 19th March 2021

Are you a student in need of extra cash? Latest Deals is here to help. We have 19 ways to get free money as a student! Hopefully, you will find the best way to increase your income without the extra work!

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Understanding free money: Is free money really free?

You probably heard many times in your life that money doesn’t grow in trees… This is one of the most common beliefs related to money in our modern society. It shows that we value more money that comes from hard work than “easy money”. But sometimes, money does grow in trees, because you don’t need to do much to access it. 

It’s important to say that unfortunately there isn’t such a thing as free money. Someone is always paying for it, but in this case not you. There are some great ways to get access to free money with very little effort. We have selected 19 of these ways. Check them out below: 

1. Bursaries, scholarships and grants

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First of all, it’s important to understand how bursaries, scholarships and grants work to see how you can take advantage of them and get “free money”. They all have one thing in common: different from student loans, you don’t need to pay anything back after getting them

Bursaries are study programs paid for by someone else, usually, a company but sometimes by governments. The UK government has a bursary fund, but it’s only for students ranging from 16 to 19. Find out more about it here. 

Scholarships are financial aid awards to help students to pay for their education. The UK government has an official program just for providing scholarships. You can check it out here. 

Grants are money offered by the government, companies, trusts and charities to cover specific circumstances or needs. There are a huge variety of grants available at all times. 

The best way to find bursaries, scholarships and grants is by constantly looking for them within your circumstances as they can vary a lot and have different criteria for eligibility. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Go to Google and type either bursaries, scholarships or grants, then you need to select some relevant keywords to find the perfect one for you. You can put your age, your location or what you are studying. So for example, say you are a design student looking for a grant. You can search for grants for design students under 25 in Manchester. Use the Student Finance Extra Help Page to look for other opportunities to increase your income and study without facing financial struggles. 

2. Sign-up offers

Sometimes, companies offer sign-up deals which gives you free credit. The best thing to do before creating a new account with a company is to check if there are any sign-up offers available at the moment to new customers. If you are interested in making a new purchase, check for these offers first as you can get some good deals. 

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you want to sign-up for a new Gym, for example, you can search for one that gives you the first month for free or no membership fees.

3. Switch bank or utility supplier

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From time to time banks in the UK give you money if you switch your bank account with them. The same thing happens with utility supplier companies. Broadband companies are, usually, offering good deals with reward cards to spend online and offline. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: There are some criteria you need to meet to be eligible for these deals, so make sure you read everything carefully first. 

4. Refer products and services to your friends (and followers)

The best part of student life is friendship. You probably will have more chances of making new friends now than in all your life, so make the most of it. 

You can also find a referral code for almost anything, and most online companies provide them. If you tell your friends about a new service or product, make sure you give your link and you can get free money if they decide to purchase. This is a guaranteed way to make free money. You just need to share the link. Quick and easy. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you get really good at it and have a considerable social media following, you can sign-up for affiliate programs and start referring products and services to your followers. The process is the same but on a larger scale and you can earn real cash

5.  Student Loan Refund

Unfortunately, there are lots of complaints about the current state of Student Finance in the UK where students are often charged wrongly. You need to keep your eyes open for every payment that leaves your bank account because you could be paying more than you should. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: We have a full guide on student loans and student loan repayment. Make sure you read both to understand if you can get a student loan refund. 

6. Get £1,000 free every year with a Lifetime ISA

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If you are planning to buy a property in the UK, you can get £1,000 free every year with a Lifetime ISA when you save £4,000 in that same year. It’s important to keep in mind that’s money dedicated exclusively to buying a property in the UK or to retirement (60 years of age). The maximum you can earn from a Lifetime ISA is £33,000 (equivalent to 33 years in which you deposit £4,000 each year) and you can only make deposits until you are 50 years old. This can be an excellent way to slowly get into investments. You will need to save around £333.33 per month to take advantage of it. Read more about it here. 

However, it is important to know that there is a penalty if you withdraw the money before you are 60, or if it is not for the purpose of buying a property. So do not use it like a bank account, nor if you think you may need to withdraw it beforehand.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This could be a good opportunity for you. If you start saving at 20, for example, at 50, you will have saved for 30 years and will have: £150,000 that you can use for your retirement. You will probably need more than this if you are planning to stop working, but this can be an excellent start. 

7. Shop online and in-store with cashback programs 

If you are still not using cashback programs, you need to start. If you are someone that often shops online and in-store, you need to get into cashback programs. Usually, banks have their cashback deals, you just need to activate the code. There are so many opportunities, just look for them. You can also sign-up for one of the biggest cashback websites in the UK: TopCashback.

8. Walk 

Some apps will pay you free money just for you to walk. Ideally, everyone should be walking at least 10,000 steps daily. If you have the habit of walking every day you are probably walking more than that. The biggest one is called Sweatcoin.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It will take you time to get access to the prizes and be able to exchange your Sweatcoins for money, on the other hand, it doesn't hurt to have the apps counting the steps you are already taking anyway. 

9. Participate in competitions

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There are hundreds of competitions happening all the time. Today, the best way to find competitions is through social media pages. Brands are, usually, promoting competitions to increase awareness of their products and services and you can win free money by just sharing, liking and commenting on a post, for example. Latest Deals also often promote competitions and give away prizes in vouchers, make sure you follow our social media channels. You can also find a page on the Latest Deals dedicated to Competitions around the UK happening at the moment. 

Latest Deals’ Facebook Page. 

Latest Deals’ Instagram Page. 

10. Use the internet with Swagbucks

There is no lie in saying that you are probably using the internet daily. So why not get paid to do it? With Swagbucks,  you have different opportunities to make free money by just doing what you normally do. Create your Swagbucks account here. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: You will need to be patient and use the service daily to be able to accumulate points and exchange for rewards. 

11. Use the internet with Ipsos Iris UK 

Since January 2021, Ipsos Iris is the official source for Online Audience Measurement in the UK. This organisation provides a total view of how people aged 15 or over in the UK use the internet. You can participate and get rewards to spend on shopping. First of all, you will need to request a questionnaire from panel@ipsosiris.com to see if you are eligible. You will need to be approved according to their criteria and needs. If you are, you just need to download software on your computer and smartphone, or wherever you access the internet. Every month, you will receive a reward. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you successfully join the panel, you will get £20 and a further £5, £7.50 or £10 worth of points for each month you continue to participate, depending on the number of devices you have. You could potentially make £120 a year without doing anything. Nielsen research has a similar project and you could get the same opportunity there. 

12.  Unclaimed estates

According to the UK government: “You could be entitled to a share of a deceased relative’s property (‘estate’) if you’re a relative.” When someone dies with no will or no-known family members all their properties (buildings, money, personal possessions) go to the Crown as ownerless property. If you can prove that you are a relative, you could be entitled to part of these properties. You can easily Claim or refer to an unclaimed estate online.

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13. Rent your room on Airbnb

Another way to make free money is by renting your room on Airbnb. If you are going to be away for the weekend to visit your family or to stay with a partner, you can get some free money, just by letting someone else spend the night there. It’s not the most comfortable way to make free money, but if you really want to increase your income, this can be a great option. 

However, you will need to check your tenancy agreement as to whether subletting like this is allowed. It may not be accepted by your Landlord.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You just need to make sure you keep all your belongings safe and that you have a spare set of bedding just for this. 

  1.  Sell your (unused) photos

Nowadays everyone can be a photographer by just learning how to take good photos by using a good smartphone. If you like taking pictures, you can make money by selling them. This is a good option if you already have this habit and don’t know what to do with all the pictures you have in your camera roll. Many websites buy pictures, some of them are Alamy, 500px, SmugMug Pro, Shutterstock, iStock Photo, Etsy, Getty Images, Stocksy, Can Stock Photo, Adobe Stock, Twenty20, Depositphotos, Dreamstime, EyeEm, 123RF, Foap, Zenfolio and Pixieset.

15. Tax return

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It’s not uncommon to pay more taxes than you should in the UK, due to the tax calendar. At the end of every tax year (from April to April), make sure you check if you are entitled to a tax return. Learn more here about student tax returns.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you make any changes to your circumstances during the tax year you are probably entitled to a tax return. 

16. Scan your receipts

There are services that will pay you for the pictures of your receipts. Every time you go shopping, make sure you save your receipts and take a picture of them. You can then upload these pictures in these many apps and expand your potential earnings. We recommend these apps: HuYu, ZIPZERO and Shoppix

IMPORTANT NOTE: You won’t get paid much, but if you already have the receipts why not make use of them? This is also a good way to keep track of your spending habits. Most of these apps accept all UK supermarkets. This can be an extra way to save money when you are shopping for your groceries. 

How to save money at Tesco 

How to save money at Asda 

How to save money at Lidl 

How to save money at Morrisons

How to save money at Aldi 

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17.  Apply for Universal Credit 

You may be eligible for Universal Credit. If you have a reduction in your income, you can get extra help to make ends meet. To learn more about this, access the Universal Credit home page. There you will find out if you are eligible for it or not. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you receive Universal Credit you will have some monthly commitments, and also keep looking for a job to support yourself. 

 18. Apply for Council Tax Support  

If you are a full-time student you are exempt from paying council tax. Read more about this in this guide. 

If you are a part-time student and live alone, you are entitled to a 25% discount for single occupancy regardless of your household income. If you are entitled to receive Universal Credit, you may also be entitled to receive Council Tax Support. You will need to apply for them separately. Check out here how to apply for Council Tax Support. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can also apply to your council for a Discretionary Housing Payment, which tops up the remaining amount of rent you need to pay each month to cover your full (or most of) housing costs.  

19. Share your opinions about products and services

If you already have the habit of leaving reviews on products and services you use, you can make money out of it. There are many websites that will pay you to share your opinion. One of the best is Google Opinion Rewards, where you can get vouchers to use at the Google Play Store. 

FAQs

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