How are us "mature students" earning a living?

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    Hey, I'm 27 just started uni, and I'm wondering what all the other mature students out there are doing to earn a living?

    I have met a few older guys at uni that i get on well with and it is a subject that comes up often.

    So far we have come up with a few ideas.

    -Three of the guys are ex military so they have suggested joining the TA, and as they are ex-military they will get paid slightly more (around £100 per day i believe) for a couple of days a week.
    -One guy is day trading commodities (gold, but lost 31k the other monday)
    -Im doing part time building work as that is what i was (a builder)

    I hate building work with a passion, it is why i am at uni, id love to stop all together but i can't bring myself to work for minimum wage!

    Id love to start an online business, and id be willing to invest a few quid into it, but i have no idea where to start!

    So whats everyone else doing?
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    Perhaps you should just focus on university for now? Unless you have a mortgage to repay, you shouldn't need to work whilst at university, you can live off the student maintenance loans. Starting a business whilst studying full-time would be very difficult indeed.
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    (Original post by Denzel89)
    -Three of the guys are ex military so they have suggested joining the TA, and as they are ex-military they will get paid slightly more (around £100 per day i believe) for a couple of days a week.
    Firstly, you would have to be sure that those two days aren't going to clash with lectures, exams etc., which I doubt is feasible. Secondly, the TA isn't just a way of earning a quick buck. With recent cuts, core military functions are starting to rely on the TA more and more, so you could find yourself in action or at least providing support in a live theatre. Don't sign up unless you're prepared to serve and to put uni to aside if you're required to.

    -One guy is day trading commodities (gold, but lost 31k the other monday)
    Even that one sentence makes it sound like a mug's game. Get rich quick schemes are usually an illusion. Besides, you need a decent wedge of money to start you out in trading. Presumably if you had that, you wouldn't have your current cash flow issues.

    -Im doing part time building work as that is what i was (a builder)
    That's good.

    i can't bring myself to work for minimum wage!
    Guess what - your landlord, power company etc., don't care. They send you a bill and you have to pay it. Which means you need money, any way you can. You need to get out of your current mindset - anything which pays the bills is absolutely fine. I do two shifts a week in a supermarket which lets me take on short/unreliable jobs doing what I love to do. I'm 52, have good undergrad & Masters degrees and used to earn great money in the IT industry. None of that matters. The bills get paid and I'm beholden to nobody. Job done. Minimum wage is not beneath me - it keeps me where I want to be in my life.

    You need to compromise (building work/minimum wage) in order to do what you want (uni).

    Id love to start an online business, and id be willing to invest a few quid into it, but i have no idea where to start!
    Let us know if you find out. Presumably if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Not saying it's impossible, but it's rarely as simple as it looks from the outside.

    So whats everyone else doing?
    11 hours a week in a supermarket at just above minimum wage. Alternatives I was considering were care work and office temping.
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    The 'trading' thing is definitely one to steer clear of! Day traders are just mugs, frankly - if you could actually make money from it, we'd all be at it. It's glorified gambling.

    It's a tricky one, this. On the one hand, I perfectly understand your need to earn a crust, particularly if you have already financial commitments from before you became a student. But really the studying has to take a great priority over earning. I understand that you don't want to go back to building work, even on a casual basis - would you consider working as an odd job/handyman? There's an awful lot of people who are too busy/inept to put up shelves, fit doors, mend cupboards as the like? You would get to choose your own hours, set your own pay rate and be your own boss.

    Just an idea.
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    I don't work. I'm 68 so officially 'retired'. I have custody of one of my grandchildren and so we live on my pension and Child Benefit. I have 7 adult children so they help when I need books etc.
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    You'd be classed as in independent student, thus full SF maintainance loan and grant (you likely recieve around 6000 from them a year), plus you are likely entitled to the full bursary from your university also, depending on where that is probably 500-3000.

    So really, you shouldn't need to work, that is why independent students get more money (so they aren't out on a building site).

    May I ask what degree it is you are studying?

    I'd say to swallow your pride and just go for the minimum wage job tbh
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    I work 20 hours a week as a mental health advocate, via a combination of two and a half days on duty and a further half day administration from home. I (and my husband) have a mortgage to pay and children to clothe and feed. The field of work is directly related to the doctorate course I plan to apply for next year. Plus, my employer is flexible enough that I can tell them what my non lecture days are for the academic year and they accomodate my availability into my work pattern.

    I worked full time for 20 years before redundancy and returning to study. This feels like a relatively chilled period of my career in comparison, so I don't mind juggling work with study and I am quite motivated in doing so.
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    (Original post by Denzel89)
    So whats everyone else doing?
    I'm just on an access course right now, but what I'm doing is working at McDonalds. Most towns have one, hopefully I can get into one when I move off to uni. Hours are flexible, it's a shite job, but it's handy.


    (Original post by Snufkin)
    Unless you have a mortgage to repay, you shouldn't need to work whilst at university, you can live off the student maintenance loans.
    I wish that was possible as a Northern Irish student, but our maintenance loans/grants only cover about £5000 in total. Not sure they've changed in the past decade or so.
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    I shouldn't of said what i did re: minimum wage jobs, that was wrong....i apologise.

    Like i said they where just ideas, I'm not joining the TA, not day trading and i do not have cashflow issues.

    I will probably stay with the building work albeit on an ad/hoc basis, i have just dissolved my construction company so i have a few contacts left over. The pay is great, i just despise doing it.

    Years ago i used to be a sous chef and i vaguely remember that being a happier experience so i may go back into that in the evenings.

    Im studying building surveying at UCLAN.
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    I work retail, and I usually end up going way over the 20 hour limit (I'm also in full time education). Only for a year before I'm off to uni though!
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    (Original post by Denzel89)
    Hey, I'm 27 just started uni, and I'm wondering what all the other mature students out there are doing to earn a living?

    I have met a few older guys at uni that i get on well with and it is a subject that comes up often.

    So far we have come up with a few ideas.

    -Three of the guys are ex military so they have suggested joining the TA, and as they are ex-military they will get paid slightly more (around £100 per day i believe) for a couple of days a week.
    -One guy is day trading commodities (gold, but lost 31k the other monday)
    -Im doing part time building work as that is what i was (a builder)

    I hate building work with a passion, it is why i am at uni, id love to stop all together but i can't bring myself to work for minimum wage!

    Id love to start an online business, and id be willing to invest a few quid into it, but i have no idea where to start!

    So whats everyone else doing?

    I've just landed a tutoring job with a college. Its really good pay (for me) but not a lot of hours (partly cos of clashes). Like yourself really did not want to work min wage. I could if wanted not work but would mean a frugal living and more importantly I don't want a 3 year gap of not working (even with studying) on the cv at my age.

    There is the stuff the like doing office work from home through websites but it depends on your experiance.
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    I just left a good engineering position to do a Masters - I'm now back in a retail job doing 25 hours a week and struggling financially ... Every tin I stack on the shelf I say to myself ... no pain no gain...ha
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    Nobody likes going from a good salary to a 'bad' one, as in halving your earnings or more.
    If you have obligations (the golden handcuffs as I call them), then I hope you find the above comments helpful.
    If you have less drastic financial commitments - you rent instead of paying a mortgage, no dependents, have car finance etc. - find a way to cut your outgoings. Money Saving Expert is great at offering solutions for this. Downsize your accommodation and car, get some 0% balance transfer cards to stave off interest for a while, shop around for better utilities deals / car insurance etc. Cook for cheap. Curb your social spending. Give up smoking, whatever. Find a way to live for less.
    It's true that Student Finance won't see you all the way especially when you consider the breaks inbetween terms. So your question is sensible. But don't sacrifice your chance at doing brilliantly in this degree, forfeit networking opportunities etc. for the comfort of your current standard of living. Accept the value of short term pain for long term gain.
 
 
 
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