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How to Earn Extra Money in College

Updated on April 23, 2013
Babysitting or nannying is a good way to earn extra income while you are in college.
Babysitting or nannying is a good way to earn extra income while you are in college. | Source

Making Extra Income in College

The four years you spend in college are a time to discover not only what you think you want to do with yourself, but also to learn who you are. It's not all studying and books, though--in fact, you'll spend relatively little time in an actual classroom, at least compared to high school.

This leaves more time for making friends and going out--and that takes cash. It's very likely that college is also your first exposure to managing money, unless your parents gave you an allowance and expected you to pay for certain necessities (like gas, for instance) out of it. When you're not used to managing money or don't have an understanding of how far a dollar really goes, you can find yourself broke--and left behind while your friends go to dinner or other activities that require money.

Luckily, there are several flexible jobs you can undertake to make extra spending money in college.

Why You Should Work in College

Before we discuss how to make spending money in college, let's discuss why you should work at all. Many people have to take out student loans to pay for college, and it can be very tempting to take out a few extra thousand a semester to pay for your "fun."

Three simple words: Don't do it. Those dinners and weekend vacations you buy with your student loans will be gathering interest, and when you graduate and have to pay that money back, you'll regret not being more frugal.

You can have fun on a budget in college--limit yoru spending to what you can earn, and don't accrue unncessary debt.

Working for the Library in College

Most campus libraries hire a small army of students who attend the college. These students shelve books, tidy the stacks, and help other students find research materials. They may also man the front desk during late-night hours.

While you'll likely be making minimum wage if you choose to work at the library in college, just putting in a few hours of work can add up to several dinners or outings.

A particular perk of working in the campus library is that the environment is very quiet and conducive to studying--if you're working the main circulation desk or the research counter, you can kill two birds with one stone: study while you earn.

Babysitting and Nannying to Earn Money in College

If you're good with children, another way to make easy money in college is to babysit or nanny. Check online ads or the campus newspaper for families who are seeking reliable, responsible childcare. Often these jobs pay $10-$15 an hour--well above what you'd make working retail.

Childcare jobs are flexible, generally don't require long hours, and also may give you time to study (when the child naps, after you put the child to bed, etc.).

You may have to give up the occasional Friday or Saturday night, but babysitting and nannying are easy ways to earn some fast money.

More Tips on Making Money in College

Working Events in College to Earn Cash

If you're outgoing and social, another way to make money is to work for various events in the area. Check online ads, especially Craigslist--many companies are looking for confident young men and women to promote a product for a few hours on weekends.

Tasks can range from handing out samples to speaking to passersby about a certain product, and the pay is generally well above minimum wage.

(Just be safe about it--make sure the company hiring you is reputable and not trying to scam you.)

Earning even $20 or $40 a week from freelancing can give you enough to go out to dinner with friends.
Earning even $20 or $40 a week from freelancing can give you enough to go out to dinner with friends. | Source

Using Your Talents to Freelance for Extra Money in College

Everyone has some sort of talent--writing, graphic design, marketing--that they can leverage to make a few extra dollars. Sites like and let you both bid on tasks and advertise your talents to draw clients.

Browse the categories and see how you could best fit your talents to the market.

As a word of warning, these sites do underpay, in the case of Fiverr especially--but if you're saving for something in particular or just want a night out, a few hours of work can give you the necessary cash.

Paying Your Bills in College

Making a few extra dollars in college isn't hard--if you're willing to put in a few hours here and there at whatever you choose.

Avoid the temptation to take out extra loans, and you will thank yourself later!


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