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Student Life: Ways to Get Extra Money and Still Have Time to Study

Updated on November 2, 2020
Lady Lorelei profile image

Mother of 2 daughters and grandmother of 7, I strive daily to achieve an optimum level of health and happiness. Life is all about balance.

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Those Dollars Can Quickly Add Up

Attending college can be expensive but if you manage your money right you can cover your basics and still have a little money left over for fun. It will take some dedicated planning, budgeting, and squeezing of the pennies but it is very possible to accomplish.

  • Do up a budget
  • Cut your costs
  • Make the most of the money you have
  • Find money that you won't have to work for
  • Find a part time job that won't interfere in your studies
  • Find more economical ways to do things
  • Keep your budget handy and stay within it

College can be one of the most memorable adventures in your lifetime so it is nice to remember it in a positive light. Having a few extra dollars in your pocket can help out with that. There are quite a few ways that you may be able to increase your available college money. Whether through an increase in incoming money, a cutting of necessary costs, or by juggling how you currently manage your expenses these tips may help you out with college budget.

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It Starts With Your Arrival at College

When searching for clothing, dorm room furniture, or other college neccessities scout out your local flea markets, garage sales, and thrift stores. You can save about seventy-five percent on items you may require for school. Clothing choices are abundant in thrift stores but you can also get a desk, table, chair, night stand, lamp, toaster, coffee pot as well as many other items to outfit your dorm room. These items are plentiful at your local Goodwill thrift stores and available for a fraction of the cost that they would be to purchase new.

It is also nice to know that you are being environmentally friendly whenever you reduce, reuse, and recycle. By purchasing recycled materials you help create a market for recycled goods.

Apply For Bursaries Grants and Scholarships

Apply for any bursaries and scholarships that you are eligible for. This free money can help get you through the school year. Many students are under the mistaken assumption that they must have previously excelled in their grades to receive these monies but that is not always the case.

Bursaries and grants are often provided through local businesses or government programs with the sole requirement being the financial need of the student. The sad fact is that much of this money can go unclaimed because students don't know they are eligible for it. A simple visit to your college or university financial aide counsellor can put you in touch with funds that you may be eligible to apply for.

Take Advantage of Online Opportunities

There are many ways to earn a little extra income online, most won't make you rich but they may put a few extra dollars into your pocket each month.

  • Do surveys for cash on sites like SurveyJunkie or Ipso i-say.
  • Swagbucks offers up points for doing surveys, shopping online, watching videos, and performing other online tasks. These points are redeemable for gift cards or as Paypal cash. I love it there.
  • If you are a highly creative person then Fiverr may be a good site for you to sell your services. Check them out to see if there is a niche there for you.
  • Write at a Hubpages. It generally takes awhile to get income coming in but writing articles is something you can do at your leisure. You will need to have a Google Adsense account to earn there.
  • Resell items through eBay. If you have a good eye for a bargain then this may be a good niche area to earn a few extra dollars in. If you enjoy cruising garage sales and thrift stores then reselling the items online can be quite profitable. The downside to this venture is that you have to have expend cash before you can make it. You also have to have space to store the items you purchase to resell.
  • If you are crafty then you can advertise your articles to other students by placing ads on college bulletin boards. You can also list your crafts on eBay or Etsy. In addition to selling crafts on Etsy you can also sell vintage items there as well.

Buy Used Textbooks Then Resell Them When the Semester Ends

An area where you can easily save money is on school supplies. You can purchase used items for a much lower cost than new. Secondhand text books are often advertised on school bulletin boards or in school papers and you can generally save about fifty percent off the list price. The good news is that you can also resell these same books when you are finished with them thus enabling you to recoup a portion of your costs back at the end of the semester.

Try not to pay full price for any of your supplies. Watch local fliers for sales and purchase your school supplies at reduced prices. Also never purchase more than you realistically think you will require for each semester.

Refilling your computer ink cartridges rather than purchasing new ones can also save you a little money. These cartridges run out quickly if you are printing out a large amount of paperwork. We all that there are a lot of reports required from us at college so count on using at least a couple ink refills while you are there.

A Higher Education Can Bring us New Skills

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Pick Up Some Part Time Work

Getting a job is the best way to insure that you have a steady income stream but it can be a bit of a task to find an appropriate position when you are a student who is currently spending the majority of your time attending classes and studying. You definitely don't want your grades to suffer so acquiring a position with appropriate hours to match your needs is very important.

Some of the best college jobs are those that are available on campus. Most college positions are posted on bulletin boards but you may also want to check with your financial aide counsellor to see if he/she has an insider tip for you. It also never hurts to print up your resume and personally drop it off at the college office, bookstore, and cafeteria. You can also put up your own ad on bulletin board to offer your services as a tutor or learning assistant for those who may be having difficulty maintaining their grades. If you have a service you feel you can provide the bulletin boards are there for you to advertise it.

Off of campus the nearby restaurants and stores are generally quite aware that student workers require special work hours and are often quite accommodating to those needs. These are ideal businesses to apply at.

If you are looking for piecework or very part time employment you can place an ad in a local paper to offer your services as a babysitter, dog walker, housecleaner, or jack of all trades for households that may need yard work or other household tasks done.

Use your special skills and talents to create extra income. If you are computer orientated offer your services for those who may need help programming or repairing their computer. If you are artistic put up an advertisement stating that you will do sketches or portraits for a specific fee. If you can cut hair there are many students who will take advantage of a low cost on campus hair cut.

We all have skills we can use to earn us a few extra dollars. Acting as a proof reader or editor for other students is another great opportunity for earning a little extra cash. If your math skills are good then tax time offers up a great opportunity to do tax forms for those who are a little less math friendly.

Trade your labor for what you need. Put ads on bulletin boards to tutor, houseclean, or do other chores for the items that you need. Other students may not have money to pay for your labor but they may have extra school supplies that they can trade for it. Bartering your services adds up to a win-win situation for both of you.

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Do Up a Budget

A little financial planning can go a very long way in preventing or resolving a cash crisis. One of the first steps in your college financial plans should be to create a budget. When you can visibly see your incoming money versus outgoing it gives you a much better opportunity to assess and set goals for yourself. By writing out your expected expenditures it creates a clear image of your situation.

You can see which areas you will require the most money in and which areas you can possibly save money in. Your budget will also tell you if you have to find other means of increasing your incoming cash flow to insure that you meet your financial responsibilities. The information a budget can provide is priceless. Keep in mind that you will have both essential needs and a few luxuries in your economic plan. College is also a rich social experience so it is important to budget for a few additional entertainment costs as well.

Budgets are flexible so if you can save money in one area then you can transfer that extra cash over to another place where it may be more needed or wanted. Although college tuition fees are firm costs that cannot be changed there are many other areas of your budget where savings can be had. Rent, school supplies, food, clothing, laundry, transportation, miscellaneous, entertainment, and emergency costs are all adjustable expenditures. This means that you can transfer money from any one of these areas into another.

Take Advantage of Student Discount Programs

Most businesses know that students have a number of items that they will require during their school years and these companies are willing to offer discounts in their efforts to woo you to their products. Local stores and restaurants, cell phone providers, and credit card companies are a few examples of companies who may provide attractive offers to college and university students.

These incentives can save you a great deal of money when they are wisely used. Although these coupons, discount cards, and freebies are great to receive some of these offers may come with an attractive lure to draw you into spending more than you were planning to. Use these offers wisely. Just because you are offered a deal does not mean that you have to take it.

Having the available cash that a credit card provides can be enticing but if you elect to have a credit card try to use it sparingly and pay off your bill at the end of each calendar month. The interest fees on credit cards are some of the highest charged and much higher than the rate of a standard or student loan. Credit card fees are an extra expenditure that you really do not want to be paying so try to keep yours in check.

Talk to your cell phone provider in order to set up a phone plan that will be appropriate for your college needs. If you can get unlimited free texting than use this to your advantage. Let your message box pick up your incoming calls and then text back free of charge. Messages won't cost you anything to receive but answering the call may. If you return calls only during your allotted minutes and really attempt not to go over budget on it those extra savings can add up over the course of your college years.

ATM charges are another expense that appears small but which can add up into big dollars over the course of time. If your bank does not have an ATM on campus then talk to your financial institute to arrange an economical banking plan that won't cost you a fortune in service charges. ATM fees can add up.

A Few Extra Dollars Can Come in Handy

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Skip The Beverages

Prioritize your entertainment spending. A candle light dinner or potluck meal can be as much fun in the dorm as is going out to a local restaurant and it won't set you back financially as much as eating out will. You want to get the most fun for your entertainment dollar, so always keep in mind that by saving money in one area that you will be able to use it in another.

Bag your school lunch rather than purchasing it at the college cafeteria. You can save a tremendous amount of money by preparing your own campus meals. A sandwich or salad as the main fair accompanied by an apple, banana, or orange and a baggie of dry cereal to munch on can make for an inexpensive yet tasty meal. The money you save on school lunches can be later used in an area of your choosing.

When you are dining out with friends keep a few simple tips in mind to help you save quite a bundle on your restaurant costs. When eating out order a meal but skip the costly beverage and ask for water instead. Most beverages in restaurants and pubs are highly over priced and over time this expenditure can add up to quite a tidy sum of money, likely enough to take you out for an extra couple evening meals. The extra enjoyment of an additional meal or two is definitely worth skipping the drink for. Make use of coupons, meal specials, and specially day pricing to help further reduce your eating out costs. Always keep in mind that the pennies you save in one location you will be able to spend in another. These savings add up.

If you must drink alcoholic beverages try to avoid drinking at pubs and bars. When you do find yourself out on the town limit the amount that you consume to one or two drinks. Just keep reminding yourself that these establishments have a markup price of up to seventy-five percent so you won't feel too deprived if you have to wait till you get home to have a beer. It's also safer to drink at home rather than out.

The College Years Can Be Expensive

Sometimes there just is not enough money to cover everything that needs to be purchased. College can be one of these times. Tuition fees, text book and supply costs, dorm fees and food can all up to one very overwhelming financial expenditure. Budgeting helps but sometimes even it will just not allow you to have everything that you need for college. This is when knowing where to find free back to school supplies can really help out. So where exactly do you look?

If you have a problem that needs fixing there is always someone out there who can help you with it. You just need to find them. Students not having ample resources to purchase the back to school supplies they need is a very common problem so a lot of organizations have banded together to help to reduce this occurrence. You just need to find them. If you are met with a firm "NO", don't give up. Use any tips or suggestions you acquire to help you continue on in your quest. There is someone somewhere who will be able to help you acquire what you need you just have to keep looking till you find them.

Don't be afraid to ask those who are most concerned for your wellbeing and this means mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and great uncle Henry. If you are sincere in your attempts to further your education and they have the resources then they will often times help you out. You just have to ask.

If your family does not have ample finances to help you then can start searching for additional aid elsewhere. A local church, Salvation Army, Legion, or other group may be able to help you. These organizations receive donations from local businesses and members which helps them donate to a number of worthwhile causes. Helping to keep someone in school may be a good enough cause for them to support so don't be afraid to ask. If they are not able to help you out then they may know of an organization that can.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Lorelei Cohen

What Do You Think? Comments Welcome!

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    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      13 months ago from Washington Court House

      Lorelei,

      You have written this article quite well.

      The points you cover are valid.

      Grant money is a great way. Student loans do come in a lump sum..I remember using part of mine one yr to buy Christmas presents thinking I could pay it back later.

      I imagine lunches do get expensive. Packing your own sounds great.

      I love all your ideas. This is a must read for those going to college.

      Thanks for the share.

    • Lady Lorelei profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorelei Cohen 

      23 months ago from Canada

      I think another factor that is difficult for students is the fact that the student loan money comes in a lump sum so it can be difficult to resist over spending while it is sitting in hand whereas a monthly payment would really help some budget it out for a longer period of time.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      23 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      These are excellent ways students can manage their finances. Partying and gambling are often the causes of high student debts. Having a budget is key so their spending can be managed better.

    • Lady Lorelei profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorelei Cohen 

      23 months ago from Canada

      I recently explained bursary funding to a young fellow working in a fast food outlet. He was shocked that he might be able to get college money that was independent of his grades. I think the grants and bursaries are something that every student needs to be made aware of. Flourish also important to note that in Canada it is illegal to sell body parts or fluids, we can donate blood but cannot sell it.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      23 months ago from Sunny Florida

      You have listed excellent ways to meet the financial goals of getting through college. I agree that making a budget is first. Looking at the various costs can be an eyeopener. I remember my children buying used books, as did I. I really like your suggestions.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      23 months ago from USA

      Psychology studies and sometimes medical studies can pay a little bit of money as well. One thing I would not do that some students do is sell plasma. I did it twice as an undergraduate and the other clientele were really scary so I stopped. And I saw a guy wig out from the procedure. Really freaky.

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