Students are always seeking the best money hacks to earn extra cash and manage student loans; here are five TikTok student money hacks that actually work
Balancing budgets as a student can be a struggle, and as social media becomes more sophisticated, so does the level of readily available content for people to absorb. Over the last 120 days, #studentmoneyhacks #studentmoneytips were viewed by 576K people in the UK on TikTok. But is the advice credible and reliable?
Advice available to students across social media on how to earn extra income is incredibly saturated. Not all advice is applicable to the majority of UK students. Whilst it can be helpful to listen to former students sharing their personal experiences, more specific advice should be approached with caution.
"Advice available to students across social media on how to earn extra income is incredibly saturated"
Uswitch mobiles expert Rehan Ali looked at some of the most popular hacks and tips shared across social media and reveals if they really work, and some great alternatives if not.
1. Switching phone contracts can save you costs and earn perks
Credit: Mirel Kipioro
British TikTok influencer, @krish.kara who has over 90K followers, posts personal finance advice. Some of his content discusses flexibility in phone contracts and affordable SIM Only options as a way to cut back on expensive monthly costs.
Switching to a SIM Only contract can be a smart move to reduce your monthly outgoings. With the majority of mobile network operators offering rolling monthly deals for as cheap as £5, it’s a good way of freeing up your budget and having more flexibility.
Additionally, many providers offer perks alongside contracts; for a smaller monthly cost with SIM Only, you can benefit from a weekly free coffee, free cinema tickets or discounts from food and retail outlets.
Recent research by the Uswitch mobiles team showed that the value of all perks that O2 offers amounts to £2,135.67. This means that, over a 24-month period, you could be earning £699.23 once you’ve factored in contract costs and the cost required to redeem some of the perks.
If you opt for the O2 SIM only £6.99 per month 6GB deal and take advantage of all of the perks on offer, you’d only be spending £167.76 for your phone, and enjoying perks with far greater value.
2. Turning your digital skills into a side hustle
Anna, or @moneyformilennials on TikTok has 148.2K followers and offers money management tips for students. In one video, she details numerous digital side hustles for students to earn extra at university such as selling digital guides on Etsy, selling course notes, online tutoring and running social media for a small business.
Using your digital skills to earn extra money at university is great advice, just ensure you’re taking opportunities that work to your skillset, are manageable alongside your studies and are ethical.
"Creating blogs, social media accounts or looking to do part-time social media work can be a great way to earn extra income"
For example, selling course notes can be against some institutions' plagiarism guidance, and tutoring online to kids may involve completing some necessary qualifications and checks beforehand.
Creating blogs, social media accounts or looking to do part-time social media work can be a great way to earn extra income — and also useful learned experience alongside studying for future career opportunities.
3. Completing online surveys and digital brand promotion
TikToker and university student in London, Hannah Walker, talks about using apps such as UniTaskr to her 92.1K followers. UniTaskr is a platform that pairs businesses and students to complete content creation, market research and other tasks for one-off fees.
There are numerous market research companies, but using a platform like UniTaskr means you can often complete the work needed around your own schedule and offer a mixture of online and in-person jobs.
This can be a great way to earn extra cash around your studies. It’s also worth looking for local community groups on social media and through your university union, for companies who may be wanting market research specific to your university or location.
4. Budgeting your student loan payments
Credit: Damir Khabirov
Emma Cutler, a content creator from Loughborough University regularly shares university budgeting tips with her TikTok followers. In one video, Emma talks about how she categorises her outgoings to then budget her lump-sum loan payments over a longer period.
Most students who receive finance in the UK are paid in termly installments. Receiving a larger sum can be tempting to live beyond your means which can make for difficult circumstances further down the line, understanding and budgeting for how long that money needs to last you is important.
"Receiving a larger sum can be tempting to live beyond your means which can make for difficult circumstances down the line"
You can use financial tracker apps, smart saving pots with your bank or manually plot your budgets for that term to ensure you can make your loan income last as long as it needs to.
5. Use tech-saving features or old-fashioned cash
Whilst using tech can be helpful to budget, sometimes taking it back to basics can help with budgeting. Amber May Hutton regularly gives advice from her experience as a student to her 324.4K followers.
In one video, Amber talks about taking cash on nights out and social occasions in order to prevent unmonitored spending through contactless payments or Apple or Android Pay.
Whilst tech features can be beneficial to students looking to budget, they can also make the process harder. Setting yourself a spending limit for particular social occasions and only taking that amount in cash is a good way to see the physical value of the money you’re spending.
However, remember not to leave yourself short—always make sure you have enough money to get home safely—or take a backup card just in case. A good alternative is utilising savings pots and lock features if your bank has those features. This means you can allocate a maximum spend until a certain date, so you don’t go over budget.
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