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The broke college kid is a cliche for a reason. If you’re on campus, chances are that your immediate needs are met. You have a dorm to sleep in and a meal plan. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need money. And while it might seem difficult to squeeze in some money-making between classes, it’s far from impossible.
These jobs might not let you avoid taking out student loans, but they’ll at least buy you a six pack this weekend and maybe let you have a little stashed away just in case.
1. Part time job
The old standby. Depending on where you go to college, this can be pretty simple or next to impossible. Check Craigslist postings, keep an eye out for Help Wanted signs, and check on campus. If you can get a part time job on or off campus, that can be a really good source of money during the semester.
I did this one for a couple years during my undergrad. If you take great notes and have neat handwriting, it’s a good way to make 8-10 bucks for something you’re already doing. Your school will have its own system and honestly, it’s probably been updated significantly since I was doing it. But I was basically hired for the job at the beginning of the semester and just made sure to take careful notes and get them to the other student on time. This is a pretty popular job, so keep an eye out for it.
3. Can redemption (where available)
Hold onto your beer and soda cans and bring them in for redemption. You’d be surprised how quickly they build up, especially after a party. My roommates and I used to redeem everything we could, then use that money to buy booze and snacks for the next party. So our parties were basically self-sustaining. That is, until some asshole at one of those parties stole leftover cash out of our piggy bank. But either way, it’ll get you a little extra cash.
4. Online survey and offer sites
Marketing companies want your opinion and they’ll pay you for it. There are sites all over the internet where you can take surveys in exchange for cash or gift cards. You won’t make much and you won’t qualify for every survey, but if you’re just hanging out watching TV or killing time between classes, you can make a little bit of money this way.
Be aware that the internet is overflowing with survey scams. So do your research before signing up for a new company. At worst, they’ll steal your personal information. At best, they’ll refuse to pay out after your hard work.
Here are a few sites I can vouch for. I’ve cashed out at all of them at least once. Note that the links are my referral links.
Swagbucks – One of the best known survey sites. You can earn money in a few different ways including surveys, videos, offers, and searches. The threshold for a Paypal cashout is a little high at fifteen dollars, but you can cashout for gift cards, including Amazon, Starbucks, and Visa, before then.
Inbox Dollars – I have terrible luck with their surveys, but they’re distinct in that they will pay you a few cents to open advertising emails they send out. It’s only a few cents at a time, but it can add up, especially if you combine it with offers. They pay by check through the mail, so you can get a thirty dollar in your mailbox a few times a year with only a little effort.
PrizeRebel – Similar offerings, but I seem to have better luck getting accepted to their surveys. Plus, they cash out to Paypal at five dollars. So you can quickly earn with them.
Like I said before, you won’t get rich off surveys. And they can get really frustrating, especially if you put in the time only to get disqualified partway through. But they’re easy enough to do and you can earn money without leaving your dorm. So give them a try!
5. Amazon mTurk
This is another one you can do from your dorm room, but it is slightly more formal than surveys. Basically, mTurk is an Amazon-run marketplace for microtasks. Someone will put up requests for workers to do various tasks such as transcription, data entry, or academic surveys. They then pay the workers small amounts of money per task. How much you make depends on how much work you put in. This is another one that won’t make you rich, but some people have made decent money through mTurk.
With the amount of work available online, it’s easier than ever to make money in college. Different methods will work best for different people, so take some time to figure out what will best for you!
Any other thoughts? Let me know!