The best ways for students to earn money in lockdown

I went on a mission to find out the most effective and efficient ways to make £100 in lockdown

There is no doubt that these are ‘unprecedented times,’ and although we won’t be paying accommodation fees this term, it does not hurt to make a little extra money to get through the summer. Dreams of holiday work as waitresses and shop attendants have gone out of the window, so what is the best way to make money while sitting on the sofa?  I went on a mission to find out the most effective and efficient ways to make £100 in lockdown. Here are the results!

FIRST PLACE: Online tutoring

Time taken to earn £100: 10 days

Useful Websites: Tutorhunt, Blue Tutor, Mytutor

So, I am way too disorganised to be an online tutor, but lots of students are making fast money through this at the moment, and as Cambridge University students, you will be in high demand. Having looked at a few sites, the average student tutor makes £30 an hour, which would make them well of £100 in two weeks with just two weekly students. Lots of fellow Cambridge students have good things to say!

‘It takes me a few hours to prepare for each session, but I recommend it as a way to have some structure in the week and it’s rewarding in itself’ – 1st year Girton Student.


SECOND PLACE: Selling Clothes

Time taken to earn £100: One to two weeks

Useful Websites: Depop, eBay, Amazon

The room after my declutter…

I am sure, like me, you have been nagged by various family members to spend this time ‘wisely’, and clear out your room. And if like me, you now have various bin bags of stuff you want to get rid of, this is a great way to get your £100 in a matter of weeks! While you might normally donate old things to charity, it is now impossible to do that.

So, you can sell your items guilt-free and earn some extra money! Since the lockdown, I have since sold twelve items ranging from £7-£50, which is a lot of money to make while lying in bed. Now is the best time to support second-hand independent sellers because it takes the strain off large retailers in this challenging time, and it’s better for the environment. Depop released a statement saying, “The Depop community is more active than usual right now. Time to get listing.” So, what are you waiting for!


THIRD PLACE: Selling arts and crafts

Time taken to earn £100: Two weeks

Useful websites: Facebook .eg. Ticketbridge, Canva

Artist: Ellie Hebe (Instagram: @elliehebe_watercolour)

I have never been arty, so this one isn’t for me. However, if you do have the talent, being creative is a fast way to make your £100. There is money to be made selling designs on websites like Canva, or you can set up your own business within Cambridge using Ticketbridge. This is how Cambridge student Ellie Hebe has been selling watercolours of Cambridge from the comfort of her own home. She charges £15 for ready painted images and £25 to paint an image of your choice. Having had ‘35 commissions’ already, this has proved to be a very effective way to make money and deserves 3rd place.  It has been a great experience for Ellie, who hopes to get her prints sold around Cambridge next year!


FOURTH PLACE: Supermarket shopper

Time taken to earn £100: Three/four weeks

Useful Websites: TaskRabbit

My first shopping escapade!

About a week ago, I emailed people in my local area advertising my services as a shopper.  I offered to buy and deliver groceries to anyone who wanted them. For the elderly, I provided this service free of charge, and for others, I charged £7 per shop. Since I was already doing the weekly shop for my family, this was an ideal way to make money. I have not managed to make £100 yet, but I estimate it can be done in three weeks with enough interest. Sites like TaskRabbit can help you find people in your area who want this kind of help.

However, there are some downsides to this job: you physically cannot fit that much shopping in one car, and shops have put restrictions on how much of one thing you can buy. This is difficult when you need eight packets of pasta. You also need enough money to pay for shopping before it is reimbursed. Therefore, this might be more of a good samaritan idea than a money-making enterprise.


FIFTH PLACE: Selling study notes

Time taken to earn £100: Four months

Useful Websites: Stuvia, Notesale, Uni Study Notes

My well-kept ring binders

I am sure many of us were told to keep hold of our GSCE and A-Level revision notes ‘just in case.’ This is the perfect opportunity to make your old ring binders worth the storage space. People will pay good money for your old notes with hardly any effort on your part. You just upload them and wait! Unlike selling old clothes, the same set of notes can be sold hundreds of times, and it can sit there in the background making money.

But beware that some sites take ridiculous commissions such as Oxbridge Notes, which wants 50% of earnings! On most sites, you set your price, so I am selling my GCSE notes for £5 per subject. So far, I have made £35, which doesn’t feel like much, but it is a lot when you consider how little work I had to put in. Scribbir states that top sellers on Stuvia make ‘$400 a month’, so maybe my notes just aren’t any good! There is, therefore, a chance you will make £100 way quicker than my estimate of four months.

So, here is my leader board for the best ways to make £100 in isolation. These are recommendations from my own experience, and I am sure there are many other ideas to explore. Happy money making!