Making Copper When You’re Brass-ick

I’m willing to make a bet that a sizeable portion of students at the moment are pretty damn poor and are awaiting for loans to come in, living off the bank of mum/dad/other appropriate relative, guardian or friend or having just as much (if not more) going out than coming in. I know the feeling. It sucks. But believe it or not, you don’t need to be an alchemist or a miner to make some ‘wonga’ in these tough times – even if not by much you can still party on and (with some commitment) make some money to put some bread on the table.

Our Survey Says

More and more websites are popping up day to day like people in the street asking if we have a few minutes of our time to answer a few questions, often with the reward being the fuzzing feeling the companies hope we have at the end knowing that we’ve helped them gain insight to our opinions on something, or give us the hope we might win something in a prize draw (which very rarely happens). But what if you could get paid for it? Bodies like Swagbucks, Toluna, Ipsos (Mori) and YouGov have been around for yonks with their opinion to those that aren’t drooling over numbers being all that appealing. But when faced with a potential financial crisis can become a holy grail for a bit of time in the evenings where you’d be otherwise watching cat videos, playing FIFA, staring at Pintrest, totally ploughing through your reading list.

But it’s not just click click ka-ching I’m afraid with some surveys having a preliminary section to see if you qualify as one of their ideal responders. Check out each of the sites (non affiliated) to see what you prefer and if you’re up for it, sign up! Though be prepared if you’re not the most opinionated to check the email settings as if you’re not committed to do it every day or every other day, it can feel quite spammy over time getting notifications in.

Who Is The Mole?

Another research and assessment opportunity you can partake in is the role of a mystery shopper. To the uninitiated, the mystery shopper is a customer hired to work on the inside by visiting an outlet (either by it’s manager directly or at random by it’s parent/group) and follow a set of specific instructions secretly (often buy a certain set of items or request a particular service), pay for the goods using money either supplied by your employer or as an expense to be refunded later on and report back through a small survey often to describe the customer service you received, the quality of the place you visited and the quality of the products purchased. Depending on what you’re assigned to you can often keep the products too as well as get a pay-check for completing the task. Your responses are then fed back to the outlet for further improvements, all whilst never knowing the identity of their secret shopper.

Swag Radar

You’ve probably heard of this term before. If you’re not as fussed about getting the income in cash but in the products you’d normally need to buy with your depleted balance, then product reviews are a good way to get some cool products without having to pay much if anything at all.

Sites like Pinchme & Swaggable in the US, in the UK and Vipon or Toluna globally will allow you to partner with companies to try out new, improved or unreleased products, usually for free or for a hefty discount in return for you trying it out and returning a review with some constructive comments and/or criticism as required. It might be awesome, it might not be so glamorous, but at the end of the day you got it for very little and it might just save you a trip to the supermarket or gadget shop in the near future!

Uber Hauler

If you have a car or van, enough for a tank of petrol/gas and a free half a day on your hands, why not sell a bit of usage of your vehicle and the privilege of your driving for some money? Often hated by local taxi firms, follow in the footsteps of my inspiring friend Phil at University and start a small “fab cab” for your coursemates, with lifts to lectures, evening campus events or study groups and lifts to/from town for a night out for a cheap fee.

If driving people around isn’t your cup of tea, why not trade the humans for cargo and offer to do some couriering? Maybe you know a band that’s playing a gig in the next few days that’ll need their amps, instruments and PA system moving to the venue or perhaps a media project that requires a lot of audio visual equipment moving to a set on the other side of town. If you like the look of start-ups like Deliveroo and there’s a niche in your town, perhaps take people’s food orders at lunch or dinner time by text and offer to bring home their bacon one night in return for bringing a little financial bacon of your own home?

The possibilities are endless depending on the vehicles you have to hand, just make sure you don’t irritate any local businesses or do anything unlawful whilst you’re doing it and you’ll find a great job for your spare time!

Cleanin’ Out Your Closet (in a much, much nicer way)

The final method only involves a bit of manual labour and a bit more sacrifice. In our digital age, fewer people are finding use for the older technologies that haven’t quite made it into the timeless retro period such as CDs, cassettes and DVDs. With most of these either going back to their Vinyl roots or making their way onto the digital platforms, many people have found their music and film collections gathering dust in old cupboards, attics and spare bedrooms. If you have no use for these anymore, why not sell them on to somebody who may still have use for them or to a place that may be able to recycle/reuse them in some way? (FYI, many people have found optical disks a great deterrent for birds in allotments or as artwork in cafes and bars).

Sites like CeX & Music Magpie in the UK. Decluttr & F.Y.E in the USA, The Beat Goes On in Canada (but ship elsewhere too) & or SecondSpin globally, can all help you empty out what you don’t use anymore, value it and give you cash in return for your used media, meaning you have a little bit more towards though cheaper tracks in the future.


So go out there, reveal the mystery and take the services out for a test drive. Have you got any other suggestions you’ve found for saving a bit of money (besides getting a proper job?) Feel free to leave your review and  comments down below. Your opinions are valuable and may help shape the future decisions of other readers. 


Happy Saving!