5 Dumb Little Ways for a College Student to Make a Buck

by Olivia Fox


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One of the joys of college life is the freedom it brings, but unless your folks are dishing out big bucks for you to blow, spending money is hard to come by. Evaluate your resources and turn them into cash.

  1. You've got brains and brawn. Find a need and offer a service. Can you trim hair? Can you troubleshoot computer problems? What about doing lawn or garden work? Baby-sit? Type up other student's papers? Tutor a course you did well in? If you have a pick up and a strong back, offer moving services. Make it known you're available. A girl in our dorm stocked her small fridge with high caffeine sodas. She was just the person to know during exam time, especially since she undercut vending machine prices.

  2. Sell your plasma. Check out venues in the good old Yellow Pages. You should be healthy, at least 17, and weigh 110 pounds. Eat something within two hours of the procedure and come well hydrated. Make sure you haven't taken aspirin or products with aspirin for two days beforehand. A single exchange can net you from $9 to $20. Even though your body replenishes plasma quickly and you may give up to twice weekly, be moderate, as your veins can be toughened up from constant poking.

  3. What about refereeing? Cash in on your skill at a particular sport. Investigate local venues, youth leagues, or even your own campus for opportunities. The pay tends to be decent and you get some exercise to boot. If your time is more flexible, consider coaching younger kids for pay.

  4. Collect metals and resell them. Copper is great, but a bit hard to come by. Aluminum (as in cans) isn't bad. Make friends in places that sell sodas, or pick up cans off the streets. We cleared about $45 over three months of evening strolls through town. Some states have cash back policies on glass and plastic bottles too.

  5. Resell your textbooks. This is a great incentive to keep your stuff in great shape. You can certainly do better than the school bookstore "buy back." Try cash4books.net or like service. They offer free shipping and a preliminary evaluation on what they take. Or post the books on the student center bulletin board and sell directly. Bring it up a notch and sell other things you no longer need like CDs, video games, and even computers. All these can be listed on Craigslist for free and on Ebay and Amazon.com at a cost. If you're a fashionista, take your good condition clothes to a consignment shop.

Now you have a couple of ways to line your pockets without having to call home.

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