Doing tasks to help out your parents is a great way to say thanks for everything they do. And, it turns out, there are some easy things you can do to help them that actually earn you money.
For a lot of students, it’s difficult to get by financially at uni without support from parents. The government generally calculates Student Loans under the assumption that the more your parents earn, the more money they will give you at uni, offering you a smaller loan as a result.
The issue is that, for a number of reasons, not all parents do give their children money at uni. This leads some students to experience a funding shortfall compared to others who receive bigger Maintenance Loans.
Even if you do receive money from your parents, you may still find that it’s not enough – and it’s not always easy to ask for more.
If you’re not comfortable asking your parents for money, we’ve got lots of ideas below that can earn you cash while helping them out too.
Referring your parents to different organisations is an amazing way for you and them to get free money.
To make sure it’s mutually beneficial to you and your parents, think about what websites and services you regularly use that you think your parents could find useful too. Then, have a look online to see if those companies have a refer-a-friend scheme.
A lot of these schemes offer cash rewards or in-app credit. For example, PayPal’s refer-a-friend scheme lets you and the person you invite earn £10* each, as long as they spend or send over £5* after signing up via your referral link.
You’re able to earn up to £50* with your referral link, so if you referred both your mum and dad (and maybe a few other friends), they could each get a tenner, and you can receive £10* per person.
Banks generally have the biggest cash rewards/vouchers for referring friends and family (often around £100). However, these offers are unlikely to relate to student bank accounts. Instead, while you’re at uni, it may be more helpful for you and your parents to separately look for banks that offer good sign-up offers.
Then, in a few years when your graduate account expires, it might be a good time to see if your parents’ bank has a good refer-a-friend scheme that could help you and them earn money.
Shop online via cashback sites
Next time your parents are planning to buy something, offer to buy it for them via a cashback site or app. This won’t cost them a penny extra, but it allows you to earn money from the purchase.
In case you’re not familiar with cashback, it’s an easy way to receive money back after buying things. Our full guide to getting cashback explains the process in detail.
Keep an eye on supermarket cashback apps, too – if you see there’s a promotion on a product you know your parents usually buy, offer to buy it for them. Your parents could reimburse you the full cost of the item, and you’d then be able to keep the cashback reward.
Check the T&Cs of the cashback site you’re using to make sure you’re able to buy something on someone else’s behalf.
As an example, at the time of writing, TopCashback says in their T&Cs that they’re happy for you to make the occasional cashback transaction on behalf of close friends or family members. However, you shouldn’t use your account to buy things on behalf of lots of other people.
Switch their bills
Helping your parents to switch their energy providers could help them save money, and there’s the potential for you to receive some money as a thank you.
Look for gas and electricity providers that offer low prices and cash rewards for signing up. If your parents switch to them, they’ll benefit by getting lower monthly bills, and they could possibly give you the money they received as a sign-up bonus.
If your parents aren’t already with a green energy provider, it’s worth highlighting to them that this would be a good reason to switch. Not only could it save them money, but it will also help to reduce their carbon footprint.
An example of a green energy provider with competitive prices is Octopus Energy. You can get £50 for signing up (click the link for more info).
As well as helping your parents to switch energy providers, you could also offer to switch their broadband provider. Some providers give out vouchers when you sign up – find out more in our guide to the best broadband deals.
Find the best deals
When living on a student budget, it becomes second nature to hunt for the best deals.
As you’ll no doubt be keeping an eye out for great offers anyway, you could look out for cheaper alternatives to products that your parents regularly buy. This could be anything from shampoo, to coffee, to pet food.
Once you’ve found something for a lower price than they’d usually spend, you can offer to buy it for them. If they’re happy for you to keep the difference in cost, they could then pay you the amount they’d usually spend on the item as reimbursement plus an extra payment.
This would be no extra expense to them beyond what they’d have spent otherwise, and it could help you earn a bit of cash.
To keep up with the latest deals, sign up for our weekly deals email. After registering, you’ll also get our free student money takeaway which includes a handy one-minute budget sheet.
Plus, when shopping online for your parents, remember the earlier tip about buying things via cashback sites to make some extra money.
Help with errands
Whether you’re living at home with your parents during term time, or you’re back for the holidays, you could offer to help them with errands. This will save them time while giving you the chance to make money.
If you’re comfortable doing so, you could ask for a small fee in return for going to the supermarket or Post Office, or doing similar errands for them.
However, it’s possible for you to earn rewards simply through walking, meaning the errands could give your finances a boost without your parents needing to pay you.
As we explain in more detail in our guide to making money from walking, apps like Sweatcoin and winwalk offer you rewards based on your step count. These rewards include vouchers, discounts or even free stuff.
You do need to do a fair number of steps to qualify for the rewards. But, doing tasks that save your parents a job is both helpful to them, and a good way for you to increase your daily step count.
Do house chores
If your parents are happy to give you a bit of money in return for doing house chores, this could be a great way for you to make money at home.
And keep in mind that if you do any cleaning for them, you could try homemade cleaning products – they’re cheap, non-toxic and multi-purpose.
Do freelance work
There are lots of ways you could use your skills to help your parents, and potentially make some money in the process.
For example, if your parents have their own business or they’re involved in a community club (e.g. a local sports club) you could offer to do some freelance work for them. This could involve managing social media accounts, designing marketing materials or even helping them to start a website.
To find out more about making money as a freelancer, have a read of our guide to freelancing.
Look after pets
Do your parents have pets such as a dog or cat? If so, offering to stay at home and petsit while your parents are away is definitely worth thinking about. It could be a huge help for them.
Hiring professional petsitters can be pricey. It can also be quite nerve-wracking to leave a pet with a complete stranger – especially if they need to stay in a new place that they’re unfamiliar with.
From your parents’ perspective, it should bring them some peace of mind if you’re at home looking after the family pets while they’re away.
And in terms of money, you could ask for however much you think is fair. As you’d be spending time with a lovely animal who you already know, it should be a pretty easy and enjoyable way to make money.
Ask for money instead of gifts
If none of the above tips appeal to you, but you really could do with some extra cash, you could potentially ask for money instead of gifts for your birthday or Christmas. It shouldn’t cost your parents any more money than they were already planning to spend on you.
But make sure this is something you’re comfortable with. You might prefer to receive a physical gift from your parents (especially if it’s a big birthday like your 21st), so remember that there are plenty more ways to make money that might suit you better.