Let’s face it- budgeting and a part-time job alone ain’t going to cut it for our college lifestyle. Sometimes we just need a little extra income for those new headphones or that dress you saw at the mall last week. Aside from saving (check out this College Savings Guide) and a part-time job, there are plenty of extra ways you can make money in college. We made a list of 25 Best Ways to Make Extra Money in College . When architecting this list, we made sure to consider ideas that would be flexible, scalable (so you can turn it into a business) and worth your time. Essentially, you can pursue your side hustle on the weekends or whenever your schedule is free.
25 Best Ways to Make Extra Money in College 
1.Become a tutor
This is the most flexible side hustle- and it can pay very well ($15/hr – $60+/hr depending on the subject and experience), plus it’s very scalable into a business. The skills required are a strong passion and knowledge on the subject and the course, some degree of social skills. Other more technical skills are patience and consistency. We’ve all heard the saying, “if you’re good at something, never do it for free”. If you did very well in a course and understand the subject to an extensive degree, particularly math-related courses, so accounting, finance, engineering and physics: make extra money in college by becoming a tutor.
2. Sell Your Class Notes
It pays to be a good student in class; literally. You should be rewarded for waking up to early morning classes and taking (good) notes. Sites like provide you an efficient way of uploading notes to share and be rewarded by your fellow classmates. This won’t make you Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates rich, but something is better than nothing. Plus, maybe it’ll give you some extra motivation for those early morning courses. For hand printed notes, you might need a scanner, so just pick up a used-one or find the wallet-friendly scanner from Amazon. Check out sites like: Stuvia, OneClass, and NexusNotes.
3. Build a Website
This idea is a bit more difficult and time consuming, but its flexible (you can work on it whenever you want) and very scalable. You can make money in various ways depending on what sort of website you build. You can sell products online by dropshipping or creating your very own goods. If you’re a good writer, you can blog and set up ads or affiliate marketing to make money. You can pay someone to write all your content on freelancing sites like Fiverr or Upwork, but its recommended that you write your own content when you start out (since it can get expensive to hire writers). To start, use sites like Shopify (for selling products), Wix and WordPress (for blogging) or build your own and use a hosting server like Bluehost. In a sense, starting your own website is like starting your own business, so some degree of business acumen and learning is required. The goal is to bring as much traffic as you can (so you can monetize it), and this is done by either having a/some wonderful products or very useful and intriguing content. It’s indeed going to be a slow start but if your website is successful, it’ll be well worth your time. Plus, this is an amazing line to put down on your resume.
4. Sell Used/Unused Items
Do you have any items that you no longer use or need? Selling some of those unused or used items might make you a little extra money. It’s also a great opportunity to move towards a minimalist lifestyle and remove the clutter in your home or apartment. There are several websites that will enable you to list and sell items that you no longer need such as Letgo, Kijiji, Craigslist , and Tradyo. Tips to help your sales over the web would be to take clear pictures (preferably in nicely lit areas) while providing an honest and accurate description. Be firm with the price, and don’t settle for low ballers! Always be sure to be safe when meeting the buyer, bring a friend and meet in a public or crowded place. If you’ve got loads of old items, you can always go old school and set up your own garage sale, that’s definetly something that can be on a bucket list: Have a garage sale- check!
5. Sell Stock Photos
If you have a camera or even a smartphone, you can sell your photography online. You don’t have to be photography major to earn money using this method. This is perfect if you already have a photo portfolio or you plan to start out in photography. There are several websites that will allow you to upload and sell your photos as stock images, here are the most popular ones: iStock, Shutterstock, and BigStockPhoto. Most stock photos are bought and used by businesses for their advertisements and promotional materials. This won’t turn you into an overnight billionaire, but with enough royalties from photos, you can have a decent supplementary income. Check out the apps for Android or IOS at the end of the post.
6. Offer Cleaning Service
This idea doesn’t require much except an eye for cleaning and some basic cleaning equipments. You can take up cleaning jobs for homes or apartments, remember to be safe when doing so. As long as you have great attention for detail and some free time, you can easily make money by providing cleaning services. You can find companies that hire contract cleaners on your local job boards, Craigslist or Kijiji. PS: Buy yourself some great pair of cleaning gloves.
7. Join Focus/ Study Groups
If you’ve got time to spare, check your local campus or hospitals for focus or study groups. Focus groups usually pay you for answering surveys and doing a few tests. You’re usually paid at the end of the studies, or sometimes mid-way. The easiest and fastest ones to do are the psychology/ question survey studies where they ask you a few questions and assess your answers. The requirements for each study will differ, but as long as you’re healthy, you’ll qualify for the majority of the “easy money” (answering questions) study groups. Make sure you read all the fine prints of the agreements, and don’t be a guinea pig for any sort of new drugs. Take a look at these online surveys/ focus groups to make some extra money: SurveyJunkie, MySurvey, and VIPVoice. There are some high paying surveys online ranging from $30+ per completion to $80+, but most of them are around the $10 mark.
8. Become a Mystery Shopper
If you’ve never heard of mystery shopping, it’s essentially companies that hire a shopper to go and buy a product or visit a store and report their experience and provide feedback. The reason mystery shoppers are hired is because companies want to gather information, ensure that stores are being managed efficiently and that customer experience is top notch. As a mystery shopper, you’re task is to discreetly shop and complete certain checklists while answering certain questions pertaining to a review-like form. For instance, “how many employees greeted you?” or “how many offered help?”. The tasks are usually pretty easy and requires no skills except an easy “pre” test online before being assigned a task, but some attention to detail will help. Once you complete the task, you’ll be rewarded depending on the difficulty and length. If you’re hired to do a task, you’ll typically earn between $10 to $25+ per task. There are several websites that hire mystery shoppers, check out: MarketForce, MysteryShoppingServices, and BestMark. If you join other mystery shopping sites, make sure they are not scams and are approved by MSPA (Mystery Shopper Provider Association). Here’s a quick list of approved companies: MSPA. Mystery shopping won’t make you rich, but done if done consistently, it will definetly be some sizeable cash, especially for a college student.
9. Become a background Actor/ Actress
This is perfect if you have a flexible schedule in college. To become a background actor or an “extra” requires a few steps. Firstly, you’re going to need an agency, either non-union or union. Non-union usually pays a bit more, but it depends on what you’re background acting for. To begin, you’re going to need a headshot of yourself. Submit your headshot and an application to acting and talent agencies in addition to including all your talents and skills (they usually have a application you fill out). It helps to have special skills such as playing sports, knowing martial arts or your athletic. The best thing about being a background actor is the pay and the amount of work you need to do. Usually, you’re on set for the whole day (or a specific duration) and most of the time you’re just sitting there (so bring some notes to study or a good book). You can earn anywhere from $75+ to $400+ depending on what you’re acting gig is. It also helps to build a good network while you’re background acting, you can easily get better and higher paying acting gigs and who knows… maybe you’ll be the next Angelina Jolie or Christian Bale. Check out sites like: BackStage, CentralCasting or do a quick search in your local acting community.
10. Freelance Writer/Blogger
If you’re a good writer, there are plenty of ways you can make extra money in college. If you’re particularly good at one subject, say fashion, you can easily be a content writer for fashion bloggers and websites. There are plenty of companies that require the services of a writer for their website or blog. An asset would be already having a good writing portfolio, but its not a necessity. In a content writing/ blogging job, your role is to create content, and posts usually range between 500- 2000+ words depending on what your contracted to do. On the flip side, you can average about 5 cents + per word, so that 2000 word post can make you about $100+. You can also negotiate your deadlines and set your own price. You can even charge per hour, ranging from $10/hr to $50/hr+. Popular sites like Upwork and Fiverr will help you find freelance work and get your content writing side hustle up and running.
11. House Sitting
House sitting is just taking care of someones property while they are away. It’s quite simple to do, but finding a gig might be harder. Do you know someone who is taking a vacation? House sitting is one of the best ways to earn money without doing anything or without the need for any specialized skill. You’ll be responsible for looking after the landlord’s home and do some mundane tasks such as walking the pets, feeding the pets, some light maintenance and just making sure the property doesn’t fall apart. The only requirement would be a very high degree of integrity. Check your local job boards for house sitting positions (make sure to be safe), look on Kijiji, Craigslist, or HouseSitter, and HouseSitterAmerica.
12. Become a VA (Virtual Assistant)
If you have a flexible schedule and like to help others, virtual assistance is perfect for you as a college student. A virtual assistant is someone who can provide a wide range of services for clients or businesses online. It’s like a personal assistant except that the services are done virtually, so you can provide support from the comfort of your own home. If you have excellent customer service, great time management and advanced computer skills working with basic programs like Microsoft Word and Excel, you meet the qualifications for most of the virtual assistant positions. As a virtual assistant, you’ll essentially be an independent contractor. Most of the VA positions require you to tackle tasks such as customer support and other administrative tasks such as data entry. You can provide virtual assistance in a variety of fields, for instance: translation, bookkeeping, or writing. Compensation depends on what you’re doing but can range from $10 to upwards of $50+ depending on what skill your providing virtually. Higher paying skills are usually in fields such as programming, copywriting, project management, and consulting. A great way to start is to pick something you’re already good at and offer your services as a virtual assistant in that field. Popular sites to find virtual assistant gigs are Upwork, Fiverr, VirtualHub and TaskEveryday.
13. Offer Online Design Services
If you’ve got some web designing experience or you’re in a UX program, you can make a handsome amount of money by offering your design services to clients or online businesses. Of course, you must be proficient enough in graphic and online design to qualify for your side hustle. The type of work you’ll be designing will range from graphics to advertisements. If you’ve got some good photoshop experience, you can always offer editing services and help create advertisements. Search your local job boards for designing gigs or you can always find freelance designing contracts on Upwork, Fiverr, Kijiji. or Craigslist.
14. Create a Youtube Channel
Top YouTubers easily earn $5M-$10M+ a year just on a subscription and ad revenue basis alone. If you’re passionate about a subject and can create engaging visual content, then YouTube might be for you. An investment in a good videocamera and microphone is recommended, although you can just shoot your videos on your smartphone. It may seem like YouTube is saturated, but there are plenty of ideas that will still captivate your audience’s attention. You can make short comedy skits, product reviews, vlogs, tutorials and reaction, or any sort of video as long as you’re creative. There’s no big secret, if you have good content, you’ll eventually have a sizeable subscriber list, but its definetly not easy. It’s not going to happen overnight, but the passive income from a viral video is well worth the time. You can find some good YouTube channel ideas: here.
15. Design and Sell Crafts
Handmade crafts are usually worth more than mass-produced items, and they only cost time and creativity to produce. If you’ve got some experience in arts and crafts, post your handmade goods on sites like Etsy and Ebay. You may also choose to set up your own online store if you want to skip the Etsy listing and transaction fees. Shopify is a great platform for selling your own hand-made products. If you’re looking for ideas of what to make to jump start your side hustle, hop onto Etsy or Pinterest and look for the most popular items. Easy and low cost ideas include: custom posters, signs, cards and knitted goods. PS: Presentation matters, make sure your photos are clear and well taken. A nice camera helps but not a necessity, a decent smartphone camera will suffice.
16. Design and Sell T-Shirts
If you’ve got an eye for fashion, set up your very own online (or offline) t-shirt store. You can upload your t-shirt designs on sites like TeeSpring, SpreadShirt, Zazzle, BlueCotton, TeePublic and Shopify. You will earn a handsome profit every time someone purchases your t-shirt. You don’t even have to worry about sourcing the t-shirt from a supplier, it’s usually all taken care of on these sites. Once you upload your design, you can share your store or t-shirt on social media and the sites will pay you your profit at the end of your campaign. This is a great way to make passive income as a college student. You can always buy your own t-shirts from places like Marshals or Gildan and then physically design your own art, but mind the overhead costs of equipment and the money value of your time. Post your unique handcrafted t-shirts on sites like Etsy and Ebay. It’s a great line on your resume, especially if you’re heading into the fashion industry.
17. Build an App
If you’re into programming, you’ve got the ability to make the next big app hit! There are several mobile apps these days that started small, but became viral and essential for everyday users overtime – think Uber, Instagram, Snapchat, VSCO, etc. You don’t have to spend billions of dollars and have a dedicated team of programmers. Start small, make an app that can improve or provide solutions to problems.To keep you motivated, build it into something you’re passionate about. If you’re into gaming, develop a game! – remember, Flappy Bird was made by just one person and had reported earnings of $50k+ a day. If you’re into fitness- build an app in health or fitness. Here are some ideas to help get you started.
18. Do Transcription Work Online
If you have fast typing skills, then you’ve got the core of what it takes to do transcription work and to make some extra income in college. There’s a high level of demand for transcriptionists across various industries. Most of the work can be completed online, which makes it convenient for college students, since you can work on your own schedule. UpWork is a great platform for transcription freelancers. You can easily earn anywhere between $10/hr – $25+/hr. Even if you have no previous experience with transcription, there are free resources online that will teach you how to do it. Check out StenoSpeed and ListenandWrite: they are free resources you can use to get your part-time transcription job started.
19. Sell an Online Course
Got any special skills? Are you an expert at something? Juggling? Investing? Speaking to pets? Teach people about your passion online and get paid to do it! Check out websites like Udemy, SkillShare and Teachable. These sites help you transfer your skills into an online teaching platform where it will be shared with the world. Simply choose your topic, create a course and connect with your students. Price your course accordingly and you’re done! You won’t need a teaching contract or a specific degree in that field (but certificates and experience do boost your credibility). It’s also free to create a course on Udemy, just be sure that you create exceptional course content. PS: a great camera and microphone will make all the difference.
20. Rent out your belongings (especially your car or bike)
Bet you’ve never thought this would make the list. We’re sure you’ve got some items that are sitting and collecting dust at home. You can list those items as rentals on Kijiji or Craigslist. Alternatively, you can use apps like Zilok, FatLama, or Peerrenters. Popular items include tools (drills and ladders go for $10-$15+ a day), electronics (drones, games, Xbox, PS4s, etc.), and small appliances (coffee machines, BBQ grills, etc.). They’re free to download from the app store and you can quickly turn your items into a renting business. If you don’t use your car as often, consider lending it on sites like Turo. After a few quick pictures, the rental service is easy to set up. PS: remember to be safe when meeting and renting out your stuff, go with a friend and meet somewhere public.
At the end of the day, it’s all about starting your own business. Your efforts will directly impact your bottom line, so much of it will be needed. Most people are intimidated by the idea of starting a business, but in this era of technologically filled applications, starting your own business in college is relatively easy- being successful is something else entirely. The best way to start out a business is to find something your passionate about AND that can help others– of course easier said than done.
If it’s your first time as a “business owner”, try starting off small and simple. For example start buy used items for low by negotiating and sell them for higher. An industry that’s profitable for buying low and selling high is within the used tire and rim industry- there’s competition but not enough to create barriers for entry. If you have a good eye for cars, then buying good condition tires and rims and putting them together (increasing its value by synergy) could make you a handsome profit. You could also shop your local thrift stores for vintage-like items, those usually have a higher resell value on Etsy, Ebay and Amazon.
You likely have a talent that people will pay for: if you’re good with computers- open up a repair shop or troubleshooting from your home on the side. Good with make-up? Become a make-up artists on the side. Good with technology? Help elderly individuals understand and use technology on the side. Crafts? Sell your handmade crafts on sites like Etsy or Ebay. Remember that almost any type of service or product that adds value can be turned into a business. Be sure to use social media or websites to promote your services. Succeed or fail, starting a business in college will also look very neat on your resume and the experience alone provides perfect answers for interview questions. More important than anything else, you’ll gain business experience.
Apps That Help You Make Money in 2018
If you’ve got no time to fully dedicate yourself to a business, In addition to the traditional methods of generating extra income stated above, you can also use the following apps to make money.
You can earn by completing surveys, completing special offers, participating in daily polls, finding swag codes, watching videos, or referring your friends. There are countless tasks that you can complete with this app that will give you the chance to accumulate points which can be later redeemed as gift cards from top retailers like Amazon or Target, or cash to your Paypal.
Aside from Swagbucks, this is another popular app that can help you earn money (or rather save). Ebates will pay you to purchase through their site from 1800+ participating retailers. You can also refer your friends and make $50 out of it. This app is available on iPhone and Android devices. You can get payment via check or Paypal. If you are going to buy items anyway, you might as well get some cash out of it!
Surveys on the Go
Survey sites or apps are proving to be a great way to make a quick buck in college. Surveys on the Go is one of the more popular apps available for Android and IOS. To get paid, you’ll be doing different types of surveys. Some surveys have more questions than others and you’ll be rewarded a bit more for those ones. You could complete fast surveys while waiting in line for coffee or waiting for a friend. You can earn as little as 25 cents to as much as $5+ for every survey.
Similar to Ebates, Shopkick will give you ‘kicks’ (or points) when you shop from their partner retailers (they have some different retailers than Ebates). Simply walk into a partnered retailer and scan the items before buying. to receive points for each purchase. The app is available for Android and IOS.
Clashot is a relatively new app for Android and IOS. Clashot will pay you when you take original photos of food, cities, art, and other subjects and then sell it to Depositphotos. For Clashot, the average royalty per photo is about 44% of the sale. So if you’ve got some great photos sitting in your phone collecting pixel dust, try putting them up for sale. The bigger your photobank, the bigger your earning potential! Similar apps that allow you to sell photos on Android and IOS are Foap, ShutterStock and Snapwire.
Have you ever earned extra cash with any of these ideas? If you’ve got any other tips, feel free to share them! Sharing is caring!
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