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Ultimate Free Software for Students

free software
photo by archie4oz

Now I fully know students like me don’t want to pay for anything, if they can get away with it. As is said the best things in life are free.

This is true of software, but trying to find viable replacements to the expensive mainstream software such as Microsoft Office can be hard. But over the last few years there has been a small revolution. Initially free software was poor or well below standard. This is still true in some aspects, but there are some cracking freebies that nearly or more frequently than not, out perform there expensive competitors. I always use free software, here are my favourite free essentials:


Well, no competition here, it has to be Firefox, why? It is more reliable, less likely to let viruses through and in my opinion more aesthetically pleasing than Microsofts equivalent – Internet Explorer. [Read more]

Pancake Day!

photo by Paul Albertella

Yep, I couldn’t think of a better title. Today is a perfect excuse to have a go at making pancakes, the chance for students to work together perfecting the art of making and tossing pancakes. It is probable one of the best opportunities to get flat/house mates together for a fun cost effective meal!

Lets face it, this could be one of the cheapest meals you make all year, although it does depend on what topping takes your fancy!

Firstly, don’t bother with ready made pancake mixes, it is easy enough to make your own mix.

Here’s the recipe I use:


110g/3.9oz Plain Flour

2 Eggs

275ml/9.6fl oz Whole Milk



  1. Sieve flour into mixing bowl.
  2. Make a well in the flour and break the 2 eggs into well, whisk in eggs to make ‘dough’ like.
  3. Then slowly add milk whilst whisking, fork is suitable, although hard work!
  4. Melt a little butter into frying pan and add enough mix to cover bottom of pan.
  5. Turnover pancake once cooked on one side, or toss if you are skilled enough!
  6. Was cooked on both sides and serve with your favorite topping.

The recipe I use makes about 12ish depending on the size of frying pan used. You could also use water instead of totally milk, it’s just my preference.

The topping is upto you, I usually go for lemon juice and sugar, golden syrup or ‘Thunder & Lightning’, a Cornish topping with Cornish clotted cream and golden syrup drizzled on top. Although I’m sure there are plenty of delicious alternatives, maybe you can suggest some of your favourites for readers and me to try!

Hope you enjoyed your pancakes!Martyn.

Hot Online Surveys for Cash

paid surveys
photo by -bast-

This is probably the easiest way to make money online for students or for that fact anyone.

Take a survey get rewarded in cash or credits that you can exchange for vouchers. Sounds too easy, but not all paid surveys sites are well paid. So I thought I would today discuss my opinion of 3 major players within the UK market and how I’ve done.


This was the last one I signed up for, but has been the best so far. As well as surveys there is an active community site where you can earn points as well. Generally surveys take between 5 and 30 min’s to complete they are well rewarded and the frequency I am offered surveys to complete is often very good, generally several a week. Even surveys I’m not in the target audience for, often give a small reward of points.

Points can be exchanged for vouchers such as for Sainsbury’s or HMV. For example at the moment 30,000 points converts to a 5 voucher for Sainsbury’s. Hopefully one should be arriving on my door mat in the next couple of days.

Valued Opinions

This one is all in cash, minimum payout is 10 in the form of a voucher, at the moment this includes Tesco, Argos, Amazon plus more. Also you can donate your earnings to charities including British Red Cross and WWF. I receive surveys less frequently than Toluna but they are often better payed. Also pricing is much clearer as there are no points to convert. But unlike Toluna if you are are not part of the target audience or they have as many responses as they were looking for, you are compensated with a ‘prize draw ticket’, a little bit of a drawback. But relative with my earnings for Toluna they’re not far behind.


The first I signed up to, also probably better known because their surveys are often used in newspapers and television. Also available to American visitors (the other two I’m not sure about). It works on the same basis as Valued Opinions except payout is 50 but in cash (by cheque). The drawback, well I’m lucky to see a survey every fortnight, the reward is often ok, but at this rate it may take me a year and a half to reach that 50. Unlike the other two it has a referral system, for anyone you refer you earn an equivalent amount to what they earn in the first 3 months. Although it is the survey site I have found to be least effective.

So what happens.

Well you sign up, probably the longest part as you are asked for various details, so you can be asked to surveys applicable to you. This can lead to some being asked to more or less surveys, but that’s the luck of the draw. Once signed up you will be emailed about any opportunities with the amount of reward you recieve, complete the survey and you are away. But don’t expect much, it is best described as pocket money than a serious income, but you may enjoy it!

In conclusion I recommend Toluna although, Valued Opinions are not far behind.

Best of luck,


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