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You’re living the dream life! You get to sleep in, watch your favorite Netflix series and browse on YouTube whenever you want all day long.
This sounds fantastic, especially after exams, but once you’re caught up on the latest shows, boredom sets in quickly. Within weeks, you’ll find yourself searching for the next activity to keep you entertained.
The problem is not that you can’t find awesome activities to do. It’s the fact that many fun activities require something you don’t have a lot of…
And that is cash, my friend.
Let’s face it.
You have plenty of time at your disposal, yet no money to enjoy it.
As long as it doesn’t affect your academic performance, learning how to earn money during college can greatly enhance your university life. Plus, it will set you on a sounder financial footing upon graduation.
Interestingly, a rising number of Americans aged 16 to 22 are now either working or on the hunt for jobs, as indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in August 2023.
Believe me, living the “broke student” life is no fun! I’ve been there and experienced it firsthand.
While my husband and I attended college, our finances were stretched incredibly thin.
However, this didn’t stop us from hanging out at Starbucks! NOPE. We found creative ways to earn FREE gift cards and PayPal money with Swagbucks (we usually redeem free Starbucks gift cards) so we continue to sip on free coffee, lattes, and fraps at our favorite coffee shop. We got all sorts of freebies by surfing the web, playing online games, and doing quick surveys. It was our little hack to earn free coffee!
Finding ways to save money as a student helps a lot, and freebies are amazing!
But if you want to earn more money to buy a new laptop, stash some money away for a nice trip, or put towards your tuition, you’ll need opportunities that pay more.
Depending on what you like to do in your pastime, you can even find hobbies that make money!
All the money-making opportunities on this list have flexible hours and most allow you to earn money online so you can easily fit it into your busy schedule without missing class.
That’s enough yapping, let’s get started with the best ways for college students to make extra money!
1. Get Paid by Sharing Your Opinions
It’s not fun being late for class because it can be embarrassing when you open the doors and the entire class is just sitting there watching you find your seat. To avoid such uncomfortable moments, you do your best to be on time or arrive a little bit earlier.
But what do you do when you’re bored sitting there waiting for the professor to show up?
Instead of checking our Facebook feeds or laughing at memes, my fiancé and I found creative ways to make extra money and earn FREE gift cards in class.
What did we do?
We took paid online surveys before class started.
For example, Starbucks sends out short surveys to their customers after their purchase to receive feedback on how their last experience was. In exchange for completing the surveys, customers are rewarded with Starbucks Stars, which can be used to redeem for FREE Starbucks coffee, food, or other store merchandise.
Similarly, other large corporations (e.g. Nike, Google, and Samsung) spend billions of dollars each year in market research to better understand their customers. That way, they can develop new and better products for everyone so they can increase their sales.
Corporations hire market research companies to conduct research and surveys, and they are more than happy to pay consumers like you, real cash, and free gift cards for completing short surveys and giving your feedback on products and services. You can be brutally honest on surveys and express how unhappy you were with how their customer rep and what they need to improve on!
Surveys are specifically designed to be short and easy to answer so you can do them whenever you want. The majority of surveys only take 3-15 minutes to complete and after you’re done, you get paid via PayPal or you can choose to be compensated with gift cards to retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Starbucks.
You’re not going to get rich with paid surveys, but it’s a quick and easy way to pocket some extra cash in your spare time like waiting for class to start or the bus to arrive.
If you have some downtime, be sure to check out the best paid survey sites that are worth your time. They’re the most trusted and popular amongst other survey companies.
Swagbucks is a popular survey company and is one of my favorite survey sites – we’ve been using it since 2009 (as broke university students) to help pay for our Starbucks coffee! In addition to earning cash by taking paid surveys, you can earn PayPal money by watching videos, searching the web, shopping online, and playing games.
You can also check out our review post where we answer whether Swagbucks is legit and show you our Swagbucks hacks so you can earn extra money online as a student.
🌟 Swagbucks is currently giving new members a FREE $5 BONUS for signing up today.
IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to verify your email with Swagbucks so don’t miss out on your FREE $5 offer!
Survey Junkie is another very popular online survey site amongst survey takers because they have one of the highest payouts for their surveys.
🌟 You can earn up to $45 per survey with Survey Junkie! Try them today to earn PayPal money instantly!
2. Make Money Online by Blogging
Is it possible for you to make money online with a blog?
And I’m living proof that it’s absolutely possible to make money with a blog and earn a 6-figure income online from home!
I started this personal finance blog in hopes to teach everyday people, like you, how to earn more money so you can save more and spend more without cutting back on things that bring joy to your life.
You see, a few years ago, before I started my blog, I had no experience and I didn’t know what blogging really meant. I had no clue that there were SO MANY people earning a full-time income online blogging!
As someone that is open to different ideas and learning new things, I was very excited to experiment with this crazy blogging idea. Maybe it was because I really hated my office job and I needed something fun and positive to look forward to!
Shortly after a year of blogging, my blog allowed me to do something that I never knew I could ever do in my life… and that is to quit my full-time job and pursue my passion!
(You can read more about my blogging journey and how I became a full-time blogger)
The blog you’re on right now is small, but by learning how to make money blogging with display ads and affiliate marketing, I’m able to earn $20,000 per month blogging online without any prior experience!
Now, I don’t want you to think that you can get rich blogging and quit school the next day, so you don’t have to write any more exams – it’s far from that!
If you follow my blog income reports, you can see that I didn’t make $20,000 per month overnight. I struggled for many months and didn’t earn any money in the beginning, but I didn’t give up. I really wanted blogging to work because I wanted to quit my job badly. So I kept learning, tweaking, and testing different strategies until things slowly started to click and made sense to me.
Slowly but surely, I managed to earn $10,000 per month a little after my one year of blogging!
My point is… making money with a blog (or anything for that matter) takes time, determination, and persistence. However, like everything in life, I truly believe that if you put in the time and effort to learn something, you’ll be able to master it over time.
In hindsight, I’m very thankful that I started a blog on a whim because if I didn’t start this blog, I would be stuck at my 9-5 job. Dragging myself out of bed every morning, commuting for 2.5 hours (1 hour and 15 minutes to get to work and another 1 hour and 15 minutes to get home), and dealing with toxic workplace politics.
Honestly, blogging is one of the best ways for college students to make money online and earn extra money while you’re stuck on campus waiting for your next class to start.
My main regret with blogging is not starting one sooner!
Had I known about blogging earlier, I would’ve started my blog while I was in school and learn how to earn money online!
3. Make money through Delivery apps
For college students navigating tight schedules and tighter budgets, food delivery apps like DoorDash offer a flexible way to earn some extra cash.
By becoming a delivery driver, you can easily fit work hours around lectures and study sessions, turning spare time into productive income.
Many students are drawn to DoorDash because it allows them to earn on their terms, especially during peak meal times when demand surges. Plus, on campuses with a dense student population, deliveries are often short distances, allowing for more trips in a shorter time frame.
I’ve personally done food delivery with DoorDash and earned $155 per day as a side hustle. I’ve written a separate post detailing my experience and discussing how much you can potentially earn in a day with DoorDash. I highly recommend checking it out!
So, if you’re looking for a gig that respects your student commitments while putting some extra money in your pocket, food delivery could be your campus hustle!
4. Become a Freelance Writer
Are you a speedy writer that can pump out papers from scratch within hours?
The thought of selling research papers and essays to other students probably crossed your mind but you stopped short of actually doing it because you felt it was unethical to do so.
Well, there are other ways you can monetize your writing skills, ethically!
Thanks to the Internet, consumers are spending more time online than ever before! With the increase in demand for online content, companies are on a hiring spree and are eagerly looking for writers to produce valuable content for their customers, readers, and followers.
As a freelance writer, you could get hired to write blog posts for bloggers, draft weekly newsletters to subscribers, or come up with an appealing product description for online businesses.
Being an online freelance writer allows you to write ANYWHERE you want and you get to set your own schedule. So if you’re a night owl, you can write for money at nighttime!
You can find freelance writing jobs on Upwork, social media (Facebook Groups, Twitter), and Reddit (/r/HireaWriter/).
It takes time to find good clients to work with, but once you establish a solid working relationship with your clients, you can get a steady stream of work and negotiate for better rates.
Getting started is very simple. All you really need is access to a computer/laptop, some delicious snacks, and coffee to keep you going! When you’re determined, anything can happen!
5. Social Media Manager
Do you always check your Instagram or Facebook feeds because you need to be in the loop with everything? Are you the one always sharing the hottest and latest trends with your friends and family?
Your parents might not be happy with how much time you spend on social media because they think it’s a waste of time and distracting you from your studies.
However, if you speak with hiring managers about your social media usage, they might have a different view. Many employers nowadays consider the ability to use social media as an essential skill!
As a heavy social media user, you know what’s hot and what’s not. You can leverage off your knowledge of different platforms to create unique content for users.
Your role might require you to manage business’ social media profiles, produce engaging posts with various audiences, or grow a loyal base of followers for a startup company.
When starting out as a beginner, college students can earn anywhere between $20-$23 per hour.
You can find social media manager roles on online jobs boards or by contacting your favorite small business owners and asking if they need help building or managing their brand online.
The beauty of these types of jobs is that you get paid to do things you enjoy and you can do it anywhere you want since it’s online!
6. Sell Your Old Clothes on Poshmark
Is your closet full of clothes that you don’t wear anymore? If you’re like most people, you probably have a pile of old clothes that don’t fit you anymore and it’s sitting there taking up your closet space. With Poshmark, you can declutter your closet and make money on the way!
You can even check out the best apps to sell your clothes for extra money.
Poshmark is by far the most popular online marketplace where you can sell your gently used clothing like shirts, jeans, shoes, and handbags. There are 70 million users on the platform so there are plenty of users looking for stylish secondhand items to buy.
You can sell any brand of clothes online, but brands that sell the quickest are Nike, Lululemon, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci. Now, this doesn’t mean that other brands don’t sell fast. You just have to know what users are looking for and learn how to market your items in the description and photos.
Taking quality photos that are clear and bright will make your products much more attractive. No one wants to shop for items that don’t look appealing.
Go through your wardrobe and see which items you wear on a regular basis and sell the rest for cash! It’s not hard to earn
A great closet trick to tell which items you wear is to hang all your clothes backward at first (turn your hanger 180 degrees). After you wear a shirt, a dress, or a pair of jeans, you can hang them back as you would normally. After a month or two, clothes with hangers that are still hung backward are the ones that you can sell for money.
7. Earn Extra Money as a Tutor
Do you have classes in college that are easy, and you don’t need to put too much effort to get A’s? While you find these classes a breeze, not every student in the class feels the same.
Many parents and students recognize that getting good marks is not easy and they’re willing to pay someone (you!) to help improve their grades.
Here’s the thing, you don’t need to get top marks in ALL your classes to qualify as a tutor. Suppose you’re tutoring for Spanish; you don’t need to get A’s in math or physics because they’re unrelated. Your job is to teach Spanish and that’s it! A math tutor will teach math, not you.
Put your talent to use and tutor other students that are having a hard time grasping theories or understanding complex concepts. (By the way, language tutors are high in demand as our world becomes more and more diverse.)
Your students can be first-year students or even high-school students. Parents aren’t afraid to spend money on their kids’ education and will do whatever they can to prevent their kids from falling behind.
As a paid tutor online, you can earn anywhere between $30-$40 per hour and as you become better at it, you can charge $50+ per hour!
Start by telling your circle of family and friends that you want to earn extra money in school by offering tutoring services. If they know anyone that is looking for a tutor, they can connect you with the student.
Another way to find tutoring work is by posting your services around campus or near libraries.
Tutoring is not a fast way to make money like tech gigs, but it is one of the best paying jobs for college students that allows you to have a flexible schedule.
8. Become a Virtual Assistant (VA)
Looking for a job that offers flexible hours and you can work anywhere you want so you don’t have to miss classes? Then you might want to consider becoming a virtual assistant.
As a VA, you will assist and help business owners or managers take the administrative tasks off their plate so they can focus their time on expanding their business.
Many business owners are extremely busy and have little time to attend to day-to-day activities like reading through hundreds of emails, managing calendars to avoid double-booking meetings, and organizing files on their cloud storage.
To perform well at this type of job, you’ll need to be proficient in Microsoft Office (i.e. MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint) as most companies use these programs to manage their daily operations. In terms of soft skills, having great communication, organizing, and multi-tasking skills will set you for success. That’s because the primary form of communication is through emails and you’ll likely be dealing with various tasks at the same time.
VA work is not limited to administrative work, you can also get hired as a VA to help bloggers, vloggers, YouTubers manage their social media profiles. So, if have someone that you follow online regularly, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to them and ask if they are looking for a VA.
The earnings for virtual assistant varies, but you can expect to earn $15 to $20 per hour as a new VA.
You get to work from home (or dorm) and set your own hours while earning extra money to finance your student life!
9. Make Quick Cash with Babysitting
You’ve spent countless years watching over your younger siblings and gained valuable babysitting experience along the way – whether that’s by choice or not is another story.
As much as parents want to be with their kids, they too need a break and alone time (without the kids). Busy parents are more than happy to pay you $75 to $100 for several hours in the evening to watch over the kids so they can enjoy a nice quiet dinner to themselves.
Younger children tend to have earlier bedtimes so after you put them to sleep, you’re free to do whatever you want – watch movies, read a book, or catch up on your schoolwork.
Similar to babysitting, pet sitting is another fantastic side hustle for college students looking to earn extra money.
Pet owners would love to bring their pets along on their trips and vacations, but it’s not always practical. When they’re away from home, someone needs to feed, walk, and play with their pets! You love animals, you need to make money, so why not?
You can get paid anywhere from $15-$20 per hour for fun work, like playing video games with kids!
To find your first client, always start by asking family and friends first before posting your services online. If you don’t have any referrals, then you can try joining babysitting Facebook groups for your neighborhoods or you can try Care.com.
The babysitting and pet sitting business are very easy to tap into, literally, anyone can do it, and it is a quick way to make money as students. It’s the perfect gig for you to pursue if you need to raise cash fast to buy new clothes.
10. Selling on Etsy
We’ve all heard of people selling all sorts of things on Etsy like socks with funny phrases, unique coffee mugs, and eye-catching car stickers, and they’re earning a great income doing it!
If you have a genuine interest in arts and crafts, this is your calling to start your own online side business, while attending college.
Etsy is one of the largest online marketplaces where artists list their handmade arts and crafts to sell to buyers across the globe.
What are the best sellers on Etsy?
They include cute stickers, charm necklaces, handmade wedding invitations, distinct artwork, bath bombs, party supplies, kids’ clothing, and many more!
Mind you, popular items today don’t necessarily mean they’ll be popular tomorrow. In-demand items change very quickly so you have to be on top of current trends and adapt your product offerings accordingly.
When it comes to pricing your products, never undervalue your own time and talent. Factor in your material, labor, shipping cost, and be sure to add in a healthy profit so you’re not working for free.
As with any business venture, the sky is the limit when it comes to earning potential. However, if you aren’t serious and don’t put in the time and effort to market your products properly, you won’t be able to earn anything from your shop.
Aside from the earning potential, Etsy shop owners love how it gives them the opportunity to be creative and see buyers all over the world appreciate their products. How awesome is that?
You’ve always wanted to try this side hustle because it sounds interesting and it’s something that you want to do yourself. However, you never had the time to sit down and really look into the idea to learn how it worked.
Well, today is the day that you’re going to act and learn how to create your own Etsy shop!
Seriously, if other people can do it, so can you!
11. Monetize Your Hobbies
Hobbies are activities that you do in your free time whether you get paid or not. That’s what hobbies are.
But what if you could find a way to turn your hobbies into an income-making machine? It sounds too good to be true, but it’s actually not! There so many profitable hobbies that make money, you just need to be a little creative with your approach.
Let’s say that you’re a sneakerhead and you love everything about sneakers. You can spend all day admiring how beautiful they are and with a single glance, you can spot a pair of unique sneakers from a mile away.
You can monetize your knowledge of sneakers by hunting for underpriced sneakers on eBay or Facebook groups and reselling them back out to others at a higher price. Buy low, sell high is the name of the game.
The concept of flipping things for a profit existed years ago and can apply to almost any product! (Yes, you can this for handbags too!)
Personally, I flipped furniture as a side hustle, and I was able to generate an extra $300-$500 every month!
There are people online that earn a full-time income flipping blogs, so anything is flippable as long as you have a genuine interest in the products and there’s a demand for it.
If you’re really into photography, you can pick up side jobs and work as a second shooter for photoshoots or weddings.
For graphic designers that know how to build websites, you can help small local businesses build or improve their online websites. You’d be surprised how many small businesses have websites that look like they were built when the Internet was born.
Be creative and think outside the box because finding ways to monetize your hobby could literally change your life and lead you down a career path you never thought of.
How to Make Money in College Summary
This list is clearly not an exhaustive list of ways for college students to make money.
There are endless possibilities to earn extra money in college! You can make money with crafts, pet sitting for busy pet owners, write computer programs for startup companies, teach kids to play soccer. The list goes on and on!
However, you need to stop overcomplicating things and start doing! Set your fears aside and experiment with different ideas.
You’re young and have unlimited energy so pick any ideas from the list and try it out! If you don’t like it, simply try something else.
Don’t spend your time in college sleeping and watching Netflix all day because there is an opportunity cost to everything in life.
Share your best tips and ways to make money as college students in the comments below!