Going Broke: 8 Ways to Make Money in College

In college, it seems like you’re always going broke. Without even realizing it, you suddenly only have enough money for ramen, or you can manage to fill up almost half of your gas tank, or you end up sharing a textbook with a friend because they are so expensive, or rent is due in two days and you’re still $50 short — and then there’s paying for tuition. The list never ends.

College tuition

Not only do us college students have to worry about our required expenses, but we also worry about having extra money. Everyone wants to do fun stuff with their friends! Whether that be going to famous campus bars, hitting the best pizza joint in town, or going to see the latest Hunger Games movie, money is necessary for all of it.

Money is one of the two biggest stressors for a college student, the other being grades. In an attempt to alleviate some of that stress, here are eight ways to make money in college.

1. Get a job

This is pretty obvious. There are several kinds of on-campus jobs that are super flexible with schedules, and they usually pay over minimum wage. A lot of off-campus jobs also seem to pay higher wages. While this is the most obvious fix, it is not necessarily the easiest fix. A commitment to an hourly job can easily interfere with school, and at the end of the day, your grades are more important that your job. You’re here in the first place to get an education, not to be a Steak ‘N Shake server.

2. Open an Etsy Shop

If you can draw/paint, or you can knit/crochet, or you can make jewelry, or SO many other things, open an Etsy shop! Selling things on Etsy in your spare time is an easy way to make quite a bit of extra cash. They do charge a small fee per item sold, but you can still make a substantial amount of money if you’re selling consistently.

3. Sell clothes to Plato’s Closet

If you have clothes that you haven’t worn in a year, and you know deep down that you’re probably not ever going to wear it, sell it to Plato’s. Plato’s also takes shoes, purses, wallets, accessories (jewelry, scarves, headbands, etc.), movies, and books. It’s an easy way to make quick cash!

4. Sell clothes on Poshmark

Poshmark is a free app exclusively meant for selling clothes, shoes, and accessories. The great thing about Poshmark is that you sell your items at the price that YOU want. You can negotiate prices with potential buyers until you’re both happy. I used Poshmark A LOT last year after I lost weight and none of my clothes fit. Plato’s is a great resource, but they typically don’t give you very much money for your clothes — even if they’re brands like American Eagle, Buckle, etc. With Poshmark, you can make a much higher profit. Shipping charges are even covered by the company. There is just a small fee per item sold, like Etsy.

5. Use an app like InboxDollars or Swagbucks

Both of these free apps pay you to take surveys, to watch videos, or to shop at certain stores. You earn a certain amount of money for doing each task, and when you earn enough money, you can cash out in gift cards such as Starbucks, Target, and Amazon, or you can have the money transferred to a PayPal account. It takes awhile to reach the minimum cash out requirement, but it’s a super easy way to make a few bucks every month.

6. Download Ibotta

Ibotta is another really useful (and free) app. Ibotta is a rebate app. If you shop at a qualified store for a qualified item, Ibotta will give you a cash rebate for each item. For example, I shopped at Kroger and bought green peppers, pre-packaged salad, carrots, onions, potatoes, apples, bananas, and tomatoes. I earned a $2.75 rebate for those items. Once you reach $10, you can transfer the money or buy gift cards with it. Grocery shopping is likely something you do at least once a month, so why not use Ibotta and earn a little cash back?

7. Babysit over school breaks

Out of everyone that you and your parents know, there has got to be SOMEONE with small children that you could babysit. Super easy way to make some money. Also super fun.

8. Donate to BioLife

BioLife is an organization that pays you to donate your plasma. There are several eligibility quotas that you must fill: you have to be 18 or older, you have to weigh at least 110 pounds, etc. For those of you who are afraid of needles or don’t deal with pain well, this probably won’t be an option for you. The amount that you’re paid increases the more that you go — You could make around $200 in one month if you go often enough.

You’re probably thinking, “mom, why didn’t you tell me being an adult is so gross?” She probably did tell you and you just didn’t listen. So welcome to the world of adulthood, friends. It’s fun most of the time, but sometimes, it just plain sucks.

I have $3

Alyssa Modos

English Major, Future Book Editor, Class of 2018, Fort Wayne, IN

I'm an English major and Marketing minor with the dream of working for a Big Five publisher in the Big Apple. I'm obsessed with my cat, I'm newly addicted to pineapple, and I like to go running for fun. When I'm not at the gym, you can find me buried under blankets in bed watching The Walking Dead. Every Friday is Pizza Friday at my place; it's my own little "slice" (heh heh) of IU Traditions and Spirit. Follow me around online and through social media to get to know IU and how amazing it is. You'll get to know me, too -- I'm a pretty cool person, just throwing that out there. (: Be sure to check me out on Spoon University (where I write about delicious, life-changing food) and The Odyssey (where I write about a little bit of everything).