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.

Talk to Your Teens Early About Credit & the Pitfalls of Credit Cards

Establishing good credit is vital for young adults, yet if parents don’t start the conversation early with their teenagers, they may be causing them financial troubles the rest of their lives.  The importance of good credit is too often not realized early enough to avoid the pitfalls that credit cards may present.  Good credit will save borrowers money long term in lower interest rates, which can really add up especially on big purchase items like cars and houses.

Among the pitfalls of credit cards are getting their first card and subsequently charging it to the max.  Parents need to explain that the credit limit is not a spending goal but rather an indication of how much a bank trust them to pay them back.  Before teens ever put a dime on a credit card, they need to have prepared a monthly budget that includes all income and expenses.   Only then will they be able to identify what their actual limit should be.

When teaching older teens how to budget, make sure their budgets are based on paying the card off in full each month rather than paying the minimum monthly payment.  Show them the area of the credit card statement that reflects how long it will take them to pay off the debt by only making the minimum payment and what it will cost over the duration.  Credit card companies resisted disclosing this information as part of the 2009 Credit Card Reform Act because they want borrower’s to make low payments.  They’re making more money off interest than fees.

Missing a due date is also a major credit card pitfall, not to mention a costly one.  Late fees almost always result from a missed payment and you might as well throw your hard earned cash out the window.  A good way to avoid missing a due date is to get in the habit of making the payment a couple weeks before it is due.  If there is a history of paying early, then lenders are more likely to cut the borrower some slack or waive the late fee should they miss a payment from time to time.   Financial experts recommend borrowers call the lenders ahead of time if they have a financial hardship to make special arrangements, but if the young adult understands their limits and budgets accordingly, this is a pitfall that’s easily avoided.

Next, before asking a parent, relative, or friend to co-sign a loan, the borrower needs to fully understand the consequences of missed or late payments.  Not only does it negatively affect their credit, the co-signer’s credit will take a hit as well, and often unknowingly.  Nothing can stress, or ruin, a relationship like costing someone money which is exactly what a lower credit score does.  It’s not something that can be corrected overnight as it takes years to build up a credit score.

Although a borrower may have budgeted properly and be spending within their means on credit cards, they may also easily fall into the trap of applying for too many cards.  It’s never a good idea to apply for a credit card every time you hear “You can save 10% today by applying for our credit card.”   It seems easy enough to justify saving money, but what many young people don’t know is that having too much potential for debt, ie numerous cards, adversely effects their credit rating.

Young adults have the opportunity to build strong credit scores and set themselves up for the life-long rewards that accompany great scores, but only when they are taught the basics.   Don’t wait until your teenager is turning 18 when they have other big decisions occupying their mind, like graduation, college, joining the military, or getting a job.  Instead, start these conversations years earlier.  When they start high school, have quick conversations in the car, or while you are shopping, about establishing credit, the importance of high scores and the pitfalls of credit cards.  Repetition works with teens.  Eventually, it will sink in.  And they will be ahead of the game when they start families and careers of their own.


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!