Frugal University 101: How to Make Extra Money Without a Real Job
Selling your class notes and other bright ideas to make extra money.
Let’s be honest with ourselves: it’s halfway through the semester, and any money you might have made before spring break is nowhere to be found. You might even be scared to look at your bank statement. (Don’t worry – I’ve been there, too.)
But here I am back at college – in the same situation as you – to tell you that you are going to be okay. Let me tell you the secret to making some extra money with minimal effort:
Sell, Sell, Sell!
If you have something lying around in your dorm or college apartment that you haven’t touched in over three months, say hasta la vista to that bad boy! You can sell your old clothes or your textbooks from last semester to make some easy extra money.
Selling your clothes is as simple as it sounds. Pile up all your old clothes that you don’t wear anymore or that no longer fit you, and head to a Plato’s Closet near you. As long as your clothes are in mint condition, Plato’s Closet will most likely buy them back from you. They also accept shoes, jewelry, bags, and winter jackets. Depending on what you bring in, you can make anywhere from $5 to $50.
That extra money can get you a month’s worth of gas or two weeks of groceries!
Meanwhile, selling your textbooks is the same process as selling your clothes. Head down to your school bookstore and ask how much they will pay to buy the book back from you. But if they don’t buy your book back, don’t give up yet. Facebook posts and word-of-mouth referrals by friends work just as well. After all, someone at your school is bound to be taking that same class that you took last semester.
Get Creative With Your Business Model
And you can get even more creative with what you sell: the notes you take in class!
To be blunt, people are lazy and either sleep through class or don’t show up at all, except on test days. A savvy college student like you can take advantage of that! There are multiple websites that will pay you for your notes and study guides, such as StudySoup, Stuvia, and Course Hero.
Each website is essentially the same. You upload your class notes and study guides for tests, and you make money on commission. For study guides, you earn a certain fixed amount on top of the commission you make on how many guides you sold. Additionally, some of these websites give you a yearly bonus of up to $100 if you stick with them!
I’d recommend checking these websites out and signing up for some of them. All you have to do is sign up by email, watch a quick video, and then start uploading your notes! Not only will you be making money, but this forces you to pay attention in class to take notes. This will hopefully allow you to excel in all your classes and get you on the road to that 4.0 GPA.
Sell a Service
Don’t limit yourself to only selling tangible goods – take a good look at your audience and sell a service that might be needed. For my school, that means offering rides to the airport.
With the airport an hour away, taking a taxi or an Uber is just too expensive. But if you have a car and drive yourself there, parking for more than a few days is pricey. When I went home for five days, I spent $80 on parking. That’s $80 that I just don’t have to spend!
Most people request $15 to $25 a ride, which is very reasonable. And you can drive four to six people at a time, depending on the size of your car. So with a full car, you can make over a $100 for just one trip! Offering rides to the airport is a great way to make money on your own time, and it gives you the flexibility to work around your class schedule.
And now that you have some extra cash in your pockets, go forth and spend your extra money wisely.