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I’m a student – I make £100 extra cash a month with my side hustle

STUDENTS are feeling the strain as the cost of living rises, having to pay for rent, bills and food as well as concentrating on their studies.

Student Beans found that 61% of Gen-Z have started a side hustle in order to earn enough to keep themselves afloat.

Keontae Sadler Hodge tells about how he earns extra cash as a student in Birmingham

Keontae Sadler Hodge tells about how he earns extra cash as a student in Birmingham

Millions of people are struggling as the cost of everything from petrol to energy bills and groceries soars – and students are feeling the pinch too.

And most people in full-time education have limited time to work to stash any extra cash.

Keontae Sadler Hodge, 21, studies Electronics at the University of Birmingham.

Like many people his age, he is feeling the pressure of earning enough money to survive while the cost of living soars.

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So like many of others – and particularly tech-savvy Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) – he has started up a so-called side hustle to earn money in his spare time.

Keontae puts his artistic talents to use by customising trainers for people – and it earns him an extra £100 a month.

He said: “I started doing it because I like art – painting trainers and making money is good, but it’s also combining something that I have a passion for.”

Keontae charges £75 to £100 per pair but he’s sold custom-designed trainers for as much as £250.

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Keontae charges between £5 and £15 for shipping, but the overall price depends how quickly the customer wants their delivery.

He finds most of his customers through recommendations and word of mouth – and gets a lot of repeat business too.

It usually takes around two days to customise a pair – but he has had some designs take as long as two weeks.

Because his time is mostly taken up with studies, he usually sells one pair a month.

For his custom trainers, Keontae uses paint to add the designs, or if they’re really fiddly, he’ll use special felt-tip pens.

“I haven’t really had any weird requests,” said Keontae, “But one pair I really enjoyed doing was putting SpongeBob on one of the shoes and Patrick on the other one.”

While Keontae is lucky enough to be able to make some extra cash from his hobby, may students are really feeling the pressure to find a side hustle to make sure they have enough money to get by.

Student Beans found that some students need to make up to £300 a month extra to be able to afford everything they want to.

And 21% of those surveyed said they’d need to make an excess of £300 a month. 

“Having a side hustle is definitely helpful if you’re worried about the cost of living,” said Keontae.

“I know someone who used to sell their lecture notes or even provide lectures to other people and charge per session.”

How can I start a side-hustle?

In the age of the internet, starting a side-hustle is fairly easy.

Sites like Etsy, Facebook Marketplace and Ebay are good places to sell items if you’re a creative type, or Twitter and Instagram can help if you’re something of a social media influence.

Keontae said it’s worth thinking about how you could earn some extra money out of your hobbies or passions.

He said: “If you enjoy doing it, then it doesn’t really feel like a chore.

“But if you’re not sure what to do, you can always ask your friends or even your tutor at university – they might have a one-to-one with you and give you some inspiration.

Be sure to research your competition to work out how you should price your products or services.

It’s also important to consider aspects such as tax too.

You can earn up to £1,000 a year as a sole trader before you need to declare your earnings to the tax man.

Sarah Coles told The Sun: “It’s important to bear in mind that this is an allowance for turnover, not profit, so if you spend £200 on materials and make £1,200 you will have bust the limit.

“You also need to keep good records using an Excel spreadsheet or accounting software so you can show HMRC if it ever asks for evidence about your earnings.”

There are other ways you can earn money on the side without paying tax too.

The property allowance lets you rent out a driveway, shed or garage if you have one – you can earn up to £1,000 a year from this before paying tax on the profits.

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And if you’ve got a spare room, then rent-a-room relief lets you get £7,500 by renting it out to a lodger or short-term tenant tax-free each year.

Of course, students are unlikely to own a home and be able to use these allowances – if you’re renting, you’ll have to check with your landlord before hiring out any space.