Ramen jokes exist for a reason, college students are broke! And they should be, every young adult needs to go through that broke period. It’s a rite of passage into the hell that we call the real world.
However, ramen noodles three times a day is not exactly a nutritionally balanced diet. To purchase expensive things (like fruits and vegetables!), college students need to hustle. And by that, I mean make extra money not prostitute themselves. Here’s a few easy (and legal!) ways for students to bring in extra cash.
1) Get a job. Unless you are an athlete or a musician ON A SCHOLARSHIP without time to work and attend classes, you need to have at least a part-time job. Besides the usual food service or retail gigs, you could also try an office position with your college.
As a freshman and sophomore, I worked as a receptionist in the Honor’s office of my school 20 hours a week. The pay was minimum wage, but I had ample downtime for internet browsing studying. It was definitely one of the easiest jobs I ever had.
2) Sell your textbooks. AFTER the semester ends, okay? You will be lucky to recap 50% of the cost from your bookstore, so try selling on Amazon or to a student taking that class next semester. If you do choose to sell it to the bookstore, do it right after you take your final exam (provided you know you passed the class!). The school bookstore often only takes back a certain amount of books, make sure yours is one of them.
3) Sell your belongings. Get rid of unwanted clothing, electronics, books, DVDs, and furnishings by selling them on Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon or by selling it to a friend or another student.
If you find yourself in a predicament where you have to sell something you do still want, I feel your pain. I definitely sold some personal items in order to make rent on time. Remember, you are going to college to increase your earning power — this will all pay off later. Unless you majored in something ridiculous, then good luck to you.
4) Become a D.D. If you have a car and a group of partying friends, you can make some cash being the designated driver on the weekends (or during the week, no judgment). Drive your friends to and from the club or bar and charge them for it! You get cash, they get a safe ride home for cheaper than a cab — win-win!
Note: Don’t offer to D.D. for friends who have a tendency to throw up, pass out, or start fights when intoxicated. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
5) Freelance. Do you have a marketable skill? Sell it! You could troubleshoot computer issues, change the oil in cars, or anything else you can do that your peers can’t. Freelancers are self-employed, meaning they can set their own hours. No other job will give you this flexibility, allowing you to drink study whenever you want to.
You could also write for money! Start writing other people’s college papers a blog or write for other blogs to bring in some cash on the side. Depending on the time you put into it, this can be a very lucrative gig for a college student.
6) Tutor/proofread. Are you exceptionally good at math? Or maybe you are a master proofreader? Use these skills to bring in cash! Many students seek good tutors that will help them get through classes that are tough for them. Others may struggle with writing papers and need good proofreaders to help them out. Finally, being good at school matters for something!
7) Participate in a research study or survey. Some majors (like psychology or sociology) need to perform research studies or conduct surveys with other students. Often times, these gigs are paid! Definitely take advantage of these easy money making opportunities.
Warning: Your university probably won’t allow these, but maybe steer clear of experimental drug studies. Is $30 really adequate compensation for a drug that could affect your fertility? I’m thinking no.
8) Sell plasma. If you aren’t terrified of needles, bring in some extra cash by selling plasma. Many clinics will allow you to donate about twice a week for $30 a day. However, the Red Cross has much stricter guidelines than that, so it might not be a great idea to give 8 times a month.
Personally, I would exhaust all other options before doing this. Needles are terrifying and my pain tolerance is ridiculously low.
9) “Donate” sperm or sell eggs. Speaking of selling parts of your body, you could sell your reproductive health to couples or singles not blessed with your fertility.
Men have to um, put their sperm in a cup, to make some quick cash. Selling eggs is more complicated and invasive, but pay out can be thousands of dollars. Of course, there is the risk of seeing a kid on the street that looks exactly like you and wondering if it’s “yours”. Awkward…
10) Sell homemade goods on Etsy. If you are particularly crafty (or even if you aren’t, people buy some really dumb stuff), you could open a shop on Etsy selling your goods. This could be home decor, homemade body products, candles, homemade jewelry, clothing items you sewed, accessories, or anything else you create.
Crafting can be time consuming, so make sure your Etsy store doesn’t keep you from attending classes and socializing a bit with your peers. You don’t want to become the crazy lady that knits and never talks to anyone!
Being a broke college student is perfectly normal and acceptable. Enjoy these last few years of freedom and do a little hustling for extra beer money and to add anything not ramen to your diet.
What do/did you do for extra cash in college? Have you ever sold part of your body for financial reasons?