The top money-making hacks for students in Germany

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Nehal Johri - [email protected]
The top money-making hacks for students in Germany
When each weekend is a party, every penny counts. Photo: DPA

Covering expenses can be hard. From that delicious piece of cake to hefty concert tickets, each buy can have a big impact when you’re on a budget. But there are many ways to make a little extra cash in Germany without offending the limitations of your student visa. Here are some ways how.


Get a HiWi job

The word Hiwi comes from Hilfswilliger or voluntary assistant. It was predominantly used during World War II to refer to citizens from Soviet countries, who volunteered to help the Nazis in Germany.

Today, it is more commonly used to designate Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft - luckily nowadays it simply means a research assistant. The standard pay scale is €10 per hour for students with a Bachelor’s degree and €15 with a Master’s.

The work involves assisting in research, teaching, or administrative activities. A lab may need help maintaining its fly stock, creating databases or constructing parts of experimental equipment.

The university website is often a good place to scout around for such offers or, look at the Stellenwerk website for your city which advertises jobs for students. The Bundesagentur für Arbeit (job centre) is also willing to help you in your job search.

Bartend, shop-assist, serve ice cream - grab your favourite Minijob!

Any city flourishing with shops, cafes and bakeries has a lot of ‘minijobs’  to offer. With 20 to 40 hours of work per month, you can sustain a steady flow of independent income. As long as the earnings remain at or below €450 per month, there is no need to declare your income to the tax department.

Beyond the service industry, both private households and universities offer minijobs. For instance, families might seek a private English teacher for their son or require help with housekeeping tasks.

A university, on the other hand, is always looking to reorganize the library and to find a helping hand with the management of conferences. If you are a fitness enthusiast, ask what your local gym has to offer.  

The fact that students might try to bag two minijobs has not evaded the German government. However, it is allowed - as long as the overall income does not exceed the limit of €450.

A vendor scoops ice cream at the beginning of summer in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Become a babysitter

A lot of German families are interested in raising their children in a multilingual environment and are happy to deliver this early exposure to the child via an English-speaking babysitter. As a beginner, babysitting may pay between €8 to €10 per hour per child. With additional training and knowledge of safety aid, this amount can stretch up to €15.

The best way to find a friendly family is through friends and other acquaintances. Do understand that there may be cultural differences to embrace. Being straightforward, punctual and respectful will take you through it successfully. Ask as many questions as possible!

Freelance as a writer

Do you have a flair for putting pen to paper? Consider writing for a news outlet to bag that extra cash. A 1000-word piece contributed as a freelancer can fetch up to €50-€150.

As you establish yourself as a writer, the pay gets better. It often involves stories on travel, lifestyle, culture or science, and there are many English-based outlets - including The Local - that pay for good content.  LinkedIn is a good place to find such gigs.  

There is also a huge range of other writing jobs. Through websites that connect freelancers to recruiters, you can even develop a new skill set on the side in translating, copywriting, proofreading, or even writing code. For these purposes, check out Upwork and Fiverr.

Become a 'lab rat'

As a student in a university, you are surrounded by other young graduates conducting experiments in psychology and economics, imaging brains, volunteering for hand-eye coordination tasks etc. These experiments may pay as little as €7 per hour to a decent €10 - and if you’re lucky, might fetch you €50 for three hours of playing video games.

Overall, participating in university experiments poses no danger to your health. These studies undergo extensive evaluation before they are allowed to occur.

If you are worried about it though, communicate openly with the student leading the experiment, or speak to university management.

Donate that healthy plasma

Everyone has heard of blood donation but fewer are familiar with another much-needed liquid: plasma!

Plasma is the liquid portion of blood leftover, when all the blood cells have been separated from it. In its 90% water composition, it retains important electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids and vitamins that help in the recuperation of burn, trauma and cancer victims.

A man donates plasma in Frankfurt (Oder). Photo: DPA

One full donation pays €30 on average, depending upon the exact volume of plasma the person is able to donate.

According to the German Red Cross, Germany is short of 200,000 liters of plasma a year.

If you decide to lend a hand to the cause, do read into their guidelines thoroughly and check with a doctor if you're unsure of anything. You also have to clear all the health checks to be able to take part.

Do you have a money-making or money-saving hack you'd like to tell us about? Get in touch! [email protected]



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