There’s nothing admirable about being a broke college student. While some students may brag on social media like Facebook about how they survive on a shoestring budget, the idea that lacking money is fine because you are in school is limiting at best.
Money is a struggle for any student, especially if you are dealing with a student loan, credit card debt, have limited time for a part-time job, and are competing with fellow students for a campus job or, if you’re lucky, a paid internship.
Being a student is the time in life to be thrifty and resourceful but there are some resourceful ways to rake in extra cash without turning to financial aid. Finding a way to have extra money will give you more options and let you live a little easier, even on a college campus.
There are several real and honest ways to make money in college, even if you are a person who doesn’t want a part-time job on campus.
Here are eight of the easiest methods to earn money while in school. Many of these money-making ideas won’t interfere with your study schedule and can help you get on track to pay off student loan debt in no time.
1. Participate in Online Research Studies
Online job platforms that connect researchers with participants are hassle-free ways to earn money in school without breaking a sweat.
Prolific is an excellent recommendation. Unlike other platforms that arbitrarily disqualify you for surveys you’ve almost completed (very frustrating!), this online research platform only matches participants with studies they qualified for.
That way, you’re not going to waste your time and energy chasing shadows. Start by signing up and providing quality answers to the screening questions. Your answers will determine your demographic and how to properly match you with the right studies.
While this may sound like a typical survey website, it pays you a lot better for your time and answers. You can expect to make between $0.5 and $3.00 for most of the studies, and they usually take anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes of your time.
Plus sometimes these are totally online surveys, meaning you’ll get to see some inbox dollars without even leaving your dorm.
2. Get a Job at the Dorm Front Desk
There are plenty of jobs at the front desk in large colleges or universities because someone has to be at the desk at all times.
Students can make complaints about their dorm room issues at the front desk and also take delivery of their packages.
Usually, any student with good people skills and who can promptly help other students can work this job and earn money. You can do your homework during work since you’ll typically spend long hours waiting for something to happen.
3. Recycle Bottles
Rounding up recyclable cans and bottles is one of the easiest ways to make money in college, and just about anyone can do it since it doesn’t require any special gadget or qualification.
You can earn between 2 to 15 cents per bottle, depending on the type of bottle you deposit and the state where you live. That’s potentially $1.5 for every 10 bottles you recycle.
Think about how much you can make if you spend one or two hours rounding up all the cans and bottles from dorm trash or around your college town. This may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly a more creative way to earn some extra money.
4. Join a Referral Program
Looking for some of the less-common ways to make money in college? Consider joining a referral program, where companies pay you good money for bringing in new customer sign-ups. This is especially popular with the rise of the gig economy. Many times, this can be a good way to make passive income!
Here are three simple referral programs with excellent payouts:
Dosh Cash Back App: You get a $1 sign-up bonus and $20 for every new user who signs up with your link.
Acorns: You receive $5 for signing up and every friend you refer also gets $5.
Ibotta: Besides giving you real cash back for purchases, you also get $10 for joining and anyone who joins using your link gets $5.
5. Works as an Art Model
Posing for art students while they draw or paint your image can earn you good pay, even if it is somewhat one of the unconventional ways to make money in college.
Just to be clear, art models don’t necessarily have to pose nude. However, it is best to find out what is expected of you before agreeing to do this job.
You don’t need any special qualifications to work as an art model but you’ll need to be comfortable with strangers focusing on you while you assume a pose for long periods.
6. Write for Money
If you’re good with essays, you should consider monetizing your specialized skills by working in your college’s writing center.
You can help students come up with topics for their essays, structure essays, correct grammar, and more for money.
Besides earning money, working in a writing center gives you the benefit of reading papers on lots of different topics you may not have come across otherwise. You’ll be able to learn AND reach personal finance goals all at once.
If you’re intrigued by freelancing, this could also turn into a freelance writer opportunity if you let it! Use your writing skills to do some freelance writing, or take it a step further and do some writing tutoring or editing high school student essays as well.
7. Give Campus Tours
Obviously, tours don’t give themselves, so you can submit your resume and cover letter to the tour supervisor to become a tour guide.
You will not only earn money by giving new students and visitors a tour of your college. You will also improve your people skills as well as your public speaking skills.
Earning money this way might involve working on weekends sometimes because colleges usually schedule tours for potential students and alumni during weekends. Still, it’s normally a good way to make at least minimum wage in a short period of time.
8. Submit Claims You May Qualify For
Do you know that every year, millions of dollars are left on the table through unclaimed class action settlements?
If you’ve never heard about class action settlement before, it is a legal process of dividing up penalties paid by defendants (usually companies) to a large group of consumers, known as the class.
Class settlement occurs when consumers seek and obtain justice against a company for privacy breaches, mass personal injury, consumer protection issues, and other issues that lead to loss or harm.
Top Class Actions is a website dedicated to redressing wrongs done to consumers. If you purchase any products, you can check the site daily to see all the open class action lawsuits. Submit a claim for any class action settlement you qualify for.
The process of filing a claim is not difficult and takes only a few minutes, so there’s nothing to stress about. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the number of settled cases per week, and if you qualify for more than one, you can make some cool cash for qualifying purchases you’ve long forgotten about.