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Jobs and Making Money: the Essential Guide

Man working behind a barFind a part-time job, juggle it with your studies and avoid legal pitfalls with our essential guide - or find a way to line your pockets without a job.

Want more detail? Look at our full guide to part-time jobs.

Do I need a job?

To start working out whether you’ll need to work while at uni, you need to review your finances and make a budget. If you find you can’t cover all your costs without working, you’ll probably need a part-time job. Either way, thinking carefully about how much you’ll spend on what is much more reliable than guessing or following a hunch.

Remember, working while you study isn’t just about the money: you also gain valuable experience for your CV - and some students even find the start of their career.

Balancing work and study

  • Working during the holidays will be less disruptive than working during term
  • Evening and weekend work such as bar work won’t clash with lectures
  • Working close to uni will make life a lot easier - a long journey makes a job eat into your time even more
  • Try to cut down for exams and coursework: you will need to dedicate more time to your course at these times.

What job should I look for?

  • Work in the university is usually conveniently located and usually flexible when it comes to exams or coursework. You could work in a student bar or as a student ambassador.
  • If you already have a job at home and it’s with a national chain like a supermarket, you might be able to arrange to work for the same company during term-time.
  • Some jobs don’t take up as much time as it seems: working in the union bar might be part of your social life as well as a job, while a job with lots of quiet time might even give you a chance to do some study.
  • You could also sign up with a recruitment agency, who can help you find a job that fits your needs in term-time or the holidays, or use a website like The Student Job to help you find jobs for students.

How else can I get some extra cash?

  • Volunteer for experiments: students of subjects like psychology are often looking for people to run their experiments on, and there’s often a cash reward for a few hours of your time. Keep an eye on noticeboards, mailing lists and even Facebook for opportunities.
  • Start a business: it might sound daunting, but starting a business can be a good way to make money, fits around your studies and could kick-start your career.

More unusual ways to make money while studying.

Do I need to pay tax?

Most part-time jobs won’t bring in enough cash for you to have to pay tax. You will have to pay National Insurance if you earn more than £149/week, but this will normally be taken straight out of your pay. Find out more with our full guide to tax.