6 Ways to Earn Money in College

Woman working at the video rental store

Being in school doesn’t have to be synonymous with being flat broke. If you want to enjoy your college life without taking a forceful, time-consuming job, consider any of the following ideas to earn cash:

Tutor Someone

Visit the tutoring center on campus and see if they have any availabilities. Most departments also have independent programs, so you may be able to find jobs by talking to your professors or agency staff. If you don’t feel comfortable tutoring your peers, younger students at nearby elementary and high schools might be looking for a tutor.

Donate Plasma

Similar to giving blood, donating plasma requires sitting and being pricked with a needle. Each site is different but pay ranges from $20-$50 a visit. According to DonatingPlasma.org, federal regulations allow individuals to contribute twice in one week, with at least two days in between donations. Donated plasma is widely used to treat shock, burns and adult respiratory distress syndrome, as well as help clotting and a number of other life-saving therapies.

Work On Campus

Planning on going to all the football games anyway? See if you can score a job selling tickets. Used to spending your time at the library? See if you can restock books, monitor computers and run the front desk. A university is like a little city — there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Visit your school’s employment office to see if there are any on-campus jobs that are right for you. Don’t limit your search by your department. You may not have had a passion for gardening, manning a cash register or shoveling snow before, but you’ll probably discover a new skill, make some friends and earn some money if you hold those positions anyway.

Look Off Campus

College towns are usually surrounded by college hangouts, which make excellent places, find part-time work. Hit up local coffee shops, book stores and yogurt stands to see where you can spend your afternoons working and meeting new people. Job-Applications.com has online jobs for tons of employers such as Target, Subway and Sears. The site also lists jobs by categories, including armed forces, banking, hospital, fitness and more.

Take Odd Jobs

Something seasonal is right up your alley. Offer to mow lawns in summer, rake leaves in fall or shovel snow in winter. Find a T-ball team or soccer league you can coach or referee. Visit a local sorority or frat house and offer your weekly cleaning services. Great for a summer job but still doable during school, babysitting can get you easy money. If you’re good with kids, spread the word. Grad students or professors may need someone to watch their kids while they go to class; if the kid is asleep that’s free money and private study space for you.

Check the Classifieds

Read your college newspaper not to get the latest gossip but to find opportunities to earn some needed funds. The social sciences department, often times, will pay applicants to participate in a sleep study, students will seek tutors or local parents will post help-wanted ads. If you have a particular skill such as a background translating, post your services online and wait for people to come to you.

Taking On Student Loans The Smart Way

Students who are applying to college have a lot to think about: where they want to attend school, what they want to pursue for their major, and how much the whole experience is likely to cost.

Thinking about finances is definitely a wise idea; a U.S. News & World Report article refers to the National Center for Education Statistics, which found that tuition plus expenses at a private, non-profit four-year school runs around $35,000 a year, or $140,000 a year. Because college can be so pricey, many students apply for student loans. While these types of loans can help make the dream of college a reality, they can also leave new graduates swimming in debt. As a result, it is imperative that students do their homework about the loans, learn how to pay them back as quickly as possible and that protecting your credit is a must.

Choose Your College

First, aspiring students need to decide where they want to attend college and decide how much it will cost based on the University. As an article on NPR’s website suggests, this involves really being honest with themselves and asking why they want to go in the first place. They should also understand that a well-known (and very expensive) Ivy League college does not necessarily lead to success. Future employers and graduate schools, the article points out, want people with experience and a wide range of skills, not a specific collegiate pedigree.

Choose the Best Repayment Plan

Those who apply for and get student loans do not have to make their first payments until six months after they stop taking courses, according to a CNN article. Fortunately, by choosing the best repayment plan, getting out of debt can happen sooner rather than later. For example, the CNN article noted an income-based repayment plan will determine payments based on what students are earning. As of 2012, this was capped at 15 percent of disposable income. As a bonus, graduates who take a job in the “public servant” arena — like fire fighters and teachers — will have their balance forgiven after making 120 on-time payments.

Another option is the standard 10-year repayment plan, which the CNN article says is the fall-back choice for students. Assuming a debt of about $25,000, monthly payments generally run just under $300.  In addition, some students opt for the graduated repayment plan, which is a nice option for those who expect to be making more money over time. The first payments are low, but then are raised gradually so that the loan is still paid off in 10 years. As a bonus, there is no penalty for paying back student loans quicker than the schedule indicates. This will help graduates get out of debt sooner and pay less interest overall.

Pay Off the Loan Quickly

One way that students can pay their loans off as quickly as possibly is by establishing good financial habits while they are still in college. An article on U.S. News & World Report’s website cautions that students should be careful about applying for and using credit cards, and to keep close tabs on where their money goes. As many people find out the hard way, pizzas and coffees can add up quickly. By setting a weekly budget, college students can learn early on about keeping track of their income and staying on top of their finances.

Want to Save on College Textbooks?

cheap used textbooksBefore you fork out ton’s of moola on expensive textbooks, research the many options for getting them for less.  There are online sites who offer cheap used textbook selections, like Valoore Books. Besides stressing over finding used ones, purchasing digital books or renting textbooks are often much less expensive options.

To start you in the right direction, check out the hyperlinks (text in blue) below.  Get more tips on how to save at MoneyTalkNews.

Amazon’s Kindle Textbook Rental is a flexible and affordable way to read textbooks.  Rentals are available for a minimum of 30 days (at 80% off list price) and can be extended if you need more time.  Don’t have a Kindle?  Now worries,  you don’t have to – apps are available for your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows smartphone or Blackberry, as well as Kindle.

Check out Kindle’s textbook store selections here.

Another practical option is Skyo which is a great place to buy or rent your textbooks fast, easy, and cheap!  Like their Skyo facebook page.  They post regularly with useful info.

Good luck!

Thanks to MoneyTalkNews!

As you may notice, articles are often shared here from a website that I love, www.MoneyTalkNews.com.    I strongly encourage readers to check out this website and subscribe to the newsletter.  Stacy Johnson is the founder and he and his contributors offer a wealth of knowledge about all things financial, from college costs, to how to save money on light bulds, to couponing, to mortgages, and much, much more.  You name it, he covers it in an objective, easy to understand style.

Thank you, Stacy, for allowing me to share your articles, and for also helping me personally! Your advice and tips are always spot on!