Cashback websites: how to make money while you study

I recently bought a pizza on offer from Papa Johns for 99p (was £14.99 – best day of my life), so I would definitely consider myself money-savvy. Despite the proud sense of superiority when I order a jug of tap water for the table, it is only recently, at the end of my three year degree, that I have found out the real benefit of cashback websites.

We all know that cooking homemade curly fries after a night at Evolve is probably cheaper than fighting through the masses at Viallis, but who would want to miss out on the experience? No one wants to risk going near hot ovens after a drink or two anyway.

Cashback websites take the hassle out of saving money. They’re simple and easy to use – you sign up, click through to the links to your retailer and shop as usual, then you get paid a percentage of what you paid back. From Amazon to ASOS, these websites have thousands of retailers working with them, offering you the chance for deals and cashback when you do your regular shopping.

Amar Dhokia, a postgraduate Chemistry student checks cashback website Quidco before buying anything. “Why not make money back on stuff you were going to buy anyway? The amount of Domino’s boxes I see on campus – if I was sitting next to them when they ordered and used cashback websites, I’d have made thousands.”

The websites themselves are excellent for their community engagement too, they have forums, are easy to connect to social media and share information with everyone in your networks. If one of the merchants is trying to rip you off, they will be removed from the network and discussed in detail on the forums – it’s a self-reviewing and self-sufficient process.

Aside from simple cashback, there is also the chance to earn money, points and rewards for free. Students should be no stranger to websites who offer clicks for cash, checking in, filling out surveys, sharing links or taking part in free trials that you can cancel easily later.

On the downside; watch out for correctly tracking your path to the website – this must be done through a PC usually, not tablets or mobile devices or the merchants can’t track the click. In addition, signing up to the freebies usually involve becoming a flame for all the promotional emails from every shop under the sun, which can get very tiresome after a while. There are a few terms and conditions involved on every website, do have a look through them before you sign up, so you know the rules.

Overall, once you know the terms, cashback websites are simple, and the choice is obvious. I am more than happy to put up with a few emails in exchange for cash, especially when forking out for an MA next year. It’s simple, honest money that you can get back for doing the shopping you’re doing anyway – what’s not to like?


The UK’s best cashback websites compared:

TopCashback claims to be the UK’s most generous cashback site. Their testimonials are generous, it’s got over 3800 merchants, and 100% gets passed back to you. They do, however, have a two-tiered membership system, where TopCashback Plus members pay their first £5 earnt annually to give you no adverts and priority access.

imutual offers you shares as well as your cashback, if you’re interested in a personable online service. It’s also got a highly active forum community who regularly share new deals and offer money-saving insights. Honesty and integrity are highly valued at over 3000 merchants, with no admin fee or two-tiered access.

Quidco claims to be the UK’s most popular cashback website with 3.5 million members. It’s got a clearer system, nicer graphics with cashback and voucher codes, and like TopCashback, has a mobile app too. They also have a two-tiered membership, and a premium offer is available for £5 per year of your earnings.

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