With the fall semester of 2021 underway, you’ve made your payments, purchased your books and hopefully recovered from the “sticker shock” brought on by all the expense. The truth is, even with scholarships and the help of financial aid, college is expensive! There’s no way around it. So what’s a broke college student to do? Sometimes all you need is a little pocket cash to pay for gas or an occasional meal out with friends. If you’re finding yourself a bit short on spending money, here are a few tried and true ways to bring in a little extra “dough.”
Turn Skills into Bills. Think through what you’re good at and turn it into a money-maker. Are you an English whiz? Why not edit papers for classmates? Does math coming easy for you? Or Spanish? Why not offer your skills as a tutor? Most colleges have some sort of job board where it’s easy to put up a flyer notifying others of your services. Whether you’re available to clean houses, do lawn care, or teach a private ski lesson there is someone out there who can use your assistance and expertise. Social media is a great platform to advertise your special niche and drum up a little business.
Give a Little “Art” and Soul. Maybe your “skill” is more of a hobby for you. Think about how you enjoy bringing beauty to the planet and find a place to market your art—whether that be setting up an Etsy shop online or reserving a booth at a local craft show. You might be gifted at painting, leatherwork, jewelry making, repurposing furniture, photography, cake baking or woodworking (just to name a few). The trick is simply finding the right avenue where your creativity can go to work for you! Perhaps if you are musical, a local coffee shop might pay you to perform some live music. Teach music or art lessons at a local after-school program or for a homeschool co-op.
Take the Driver’s Seat. These days, if you possess a car and a driver’s license, you have a money-making asset at your fingertips. In addition to time-tested supply systems (think paper routes or delivery of pizza, groceries or flowers) there are now so many apps such as DoorDash and UberEats which offer part-time employment. Setting up work on these apps (which allow you to deliver restaurant food to customers) is relatively simple, and allows you to manage your own hours and availability, which is perfect for a busy college student with a fluctuating schedule.
Earn a Bit While You Sit. People are always looking for childcare. These days, that may even include things like being hired as a “fitness assistant” to help kids stay active, or an after-school driver to help busy parents shuttle around their children, so don’t b
e afraid to think outside of the box on this one. But in addition to babysitting, there’s always a need for housesitting, pet-sitting or companionship for the elderly. Don’t be afraid to get your name out there– whether to college faculty and staff or your local church–if you’re willing to take on this kind of role. Often word-of-mouth is the best advertising, and if you’re good with pets for example, you may be booked for weeks. There aren’t many employers that allow you to study while on the job, but once the kids go to bed or the animals are fed, these jobs may be enable you to do just that!
Shed Your Excess. It’s pretty much guaranteed you have stuff you don’t need, whether used textbooks, sports equipment, clothing, shoes or old video games. Why not take the fifteen minutes to list these “extras” on Facebook marketplace? Or drive to your local consignment store and trade in what you’re not using for some extra cash? Not only will you be earning money, you’ll be simplifying your life and decluttering your closet at the same time.
Obviously, this list if far from exhaustive. Often, a good old-fashioned job is the sure-fire way to earn a steady cash flow. But sometimes it’s nice to find a little “side hustle” in order to make ends meet. Thankfully, we have many promises that remind us of God’s goodness to provide for our needs (Phil. 4:19; II Cor. 9:8). But we also know God delights to bless those who are willing to put in a little extra work in order to see those needs met (Psalm 128:2; Proverbs 14:23). So roll up your sleeves and jump in! The pay-off will be rewarding.