Make extra cash for pizza and books

Ways to Earn Extra Cash at College

by Rich Finzer


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I recently read an article with ideas about how college students could make some extra cash. It was quite intriguing. And it got me to thinking along those same lines too. I'm 60, but if I was still an undergrad, how would I make some extra cash, knowing what I know now?

Surveys: Marketing research companies are always quizzing the public's opinion about goods and services. So why not sign up with some of them? Outfits like www.erewards.com have online surveys you could participate in. You'll earn money for your Upromise account, PayPal account, or cash in the form of Amazon credits. College students are a demographic cohort that marketing research companies are very focused on. You're up on the latest trends in fashion and music, you're tech-savvy, and you represent the next generation of consumers.

Research Subjects: If surveys aren't your cup of green herbal tea, why not become a "lab rat" for extra cash? Many colleges and universities conduct studies into human behavior, etc., and they always need research subjects. The best part is they pay you to participate and generally you don't have to leave the campus to earn the money. As a personal note, I'd steer clear of any research project involving electricity, radiation, or interacting with monkeys.

Blogging: Now, if sitting in a darkened room with electrodes taped to your skull for extra cash doesn't sound appealing, why not start a blog? Better yet, why not set up a website to host your blog and leverage the power of Google's "Adsense." The basic concept behind it is that Google will place ads and links on your website based on the subject matter you blog about. As your readers click on those links, Google gives you a portion of the ad revenue they receive. Stupid suggestion right? Well, I couldn't say for certain, but some people generate four-figure incomes every month by harnessing the power of Google and Adsense.

Create Web Content: If blogging and managing the care/feeding of a website doesn't excite you, why not create content for someone else's? Companies like Demand Studios, eHow, and Suite 101 are always looking for writers. The pay is pretty good, you can work from anywhere, and you're free to create as little or as much content as you choose. Instead of sitting in the student union babysitting your Facebook page, you could be using your laptop to make some money. If you are hopelessly addicted to Facebook, you can add links to your eHow content and generate even more money. That's because some of these outfits compensate you based upon the number of clicks an article receives. Think of this strategy as a hybrid between blogging, Adsense, and Facebook. And again, you don't have to leave the campus or even your dorm room to start making some dough.

Write Hardcopy: If your campus has a daily or weekly newspaper, I'll wager a dozen water balloons they're looking for staff. Forty years ago, I took my first crack at becoming a writer when I became a features reporter for the independent company that wrote, produced and distributed my college's weekly newspaper. Six months later, I was promoted to Features Editor. I had been earning money for every by-lined feature I wrote. When I became an editor, I started earning a weekly salary. Admittedly, I couldn't afford a villa on the French Riviera, but I was earning money while I learned the craft of writing.

As your writing skills improve, you might begin submitting articles to magazines. The www.freelancewriting.com website has the submission guidelines for several hundred publications. Does this tactic work? Yeah, it does. It's how I discovered "Dollar Stretcher," "Living Aboard," and "Northern Breezes" magazines, all of which I've had pieces published in.

Keep Your Eyes Open: During my freshman year in Tennessee, we were hit with a freak winter snowstorm. As two guys who were always eager to score some quick cash, my roomy and I pocketed a fast $40 pushing cars up a short incline. None of the drivers had snow tires and couldn't make the climb without an assist from us. That particular evening, we had people literally begging us to take their money. How could we say "no"? The point here is to leverage every available opportunity to make some money.

The bottom line is to harness the open-minded thinking a college education is designed to foster. Instead of simply paying someone else tuition to teach you to think, why not leverage your young, independent and creative minds and get someone else to pay you a little extra cash?

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