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Tech-powered solutions for cash-strapped uni students: Gadgets and side hustles to hack your way to financial freedom

Uni students worry about finances amid cost-of-living crisis. But tech innovations offer solutions: tap-to-pay apps, budgeting apps, sharing economy, digital textbooks, and tax software.

Tech-powered solutions for cash-strapped uni students: Gadgets and side hustles to hack your way to financial freedom

Between studying for exams and enjoying the freedoms of a university student, today’s bright-eyed academics are engaging in another activity: worrying about their financial situation.

With rising inflation impacting all areas of the economy, the cost-of-living crisis is hitting the pockets of cash-strapped pupils. With the vast majority (94%) of uni students saying they have changed their financial behaviour in the past six months, money management is on the curriculum for those entering higher education this year.

But when it comes to finding an effective saving and earning solution, students have two things going for them: the ingenuity of youth and recent innovations in financial technology. So to help hack a path to healthier student finances, we’ve compiled this cheat sheet of tech-powered gadgets and side hustles.

1.  Tap to Pay

For students supplementing their income through self-employment, receiving and managing payments has traditionally been tricky. While cash-on-hand has never been the safest or most scalable payment solution, investing in an electronic card, the reader, can inconvenience those on the move.

Spotting the gap in the market, Dapio has recently released a perfect solution to these problems. Merchants can turn their smartphones into dedicated payment readers using the tap-to-pay app. Suitable for commercial enterprises of any scale, this intuitive application enables rapid transactions from any Android-powered device.

To see the product in action, take a look at this video.

2. Budgeting apps

Managing your finances has always been a difficult skill for university students. While student loans may come in regular instalments, expenditure patterns can be difficult to predict. Whether paying unanticipated expenses or being enlisted for an impromptu night out, a practical budget planner should consider the volatile nature of outgoings.

Many budgeting apps are available online, which can help you track and manage spending. These include an exciting range of fintechs like Revolut, Monzo, and Starling, each offering real-time spending data to help you gain better insight into your financial behaviour. With this increased visibility, users are encouraged to improve their money habits, enabling them to reach their financial goals.

3. Join the sharing economy

The sharing economy has witnessed incredible growth in the past decade. Uber. Airbnb. Deliveroo. These economic disruptors have shaken up their respective industries, their business models founded on the simple principle that what’s mine can also be yours.
This industry can present attractive opportunities for uni students looking for extra income. If you own a car or have a spare bedroom in your rental accommodation, it’s worth considering how you can turn static resources to your advantage. With flexibility being a key advantage to such revenue streams, you can earn in your own time, in your way.

4. Digital textbooks

One expense that tends to prove more costly than anticipated is student textbooks. For some subjects, the price of a specific edition can run into triple digits. To avoid being hit with huge fees for each semester’s reading material, it helps to enter the online marketplace.

Digital editions of many major educational works can be found online as ebooks or PDFs. If you have an e-reader to hand - a brand new Kindle can be picked up these days for just £79.99 -it’s possible to read, annotate, and save highlights, proving an effective study tool for students. These can be downloaded from JSTOR, Library Genesis, Project Gutenberg, and Textbook Nova.

5. Tax and accountancy software

Tax liabilities exist for enterprising students whose side-hustle earnings exceed their £1,000 a year trading allowance. To quickly and easily calculate the amount required to pay, it’s essential to maintain an up-to-date record of earnings and any expenses claimed. To help streamline this process, simple and affordable tools are available online or via the app. Providers like Quickbooks and Xero provide state-of-the-art accountancy solutions so that you can devote more time and effort to growing your business.

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