There’s so much to worry about in college and trying to save up money during your time there can be a struggle. Certain majors require so much studying that it’s hard to maintain a part-time job. Others get stuck with unpaid internships (which should NOT even exist) and then have no real way of making an income. Here are some ways I made money during my time in college, which helped me pay for class expenses, food, entertainment, transportation, and shopping. I really budgeted myself in college and made sure I had a comfortable amount saved up by the time I graduated.
This is a mobile application that invests your money for you through round-ups. This means that everytime you buy something, like a coffee for $3.65, the app will invest 35 cents (the roundup to a dollar) into your account. You can customize it in many different ways and choose how aggressively you want to invest. Depending on your choice, the app projects an estimated amount of money you’ll have by the time you’re 67, and you can scroll through the graph to see the potential growth throughout the years. You can also set up recurring investments. For example, I have mine set to invest $5 at the end of every month. Watch out though, if you have a recurring amount and don’t have enough in your bank account, you could face an overdraft charge.
Get a Work Study Job
I’m not sure if all universities offer this, but my sisters and I all got work study jobs during our time in school. If you’re offered a work-study award in your financial aid package, that means you can find a job working at your school’s library, career office, research lab, bookstore, athletic department, and many others. I started off working at the bookstore but then moved to work at the business school’s career services office. I stayed there for the rest of my three years at university and acquired a lot of helpful skills for my internships. Most of the people I know who had work-study jobs stayed with them during their entire time in college, because the hours are flexible, you get paid a pretty good rate, and you’re exempt from taxes (woo!). Plus you get to establish great relationships with the people you work with and they can be helpful as future references.
I used my work study money for groceries and to pay for the cost of gas or ubers. I saved a little each week, but I was able to save much more money once I actually had paid internships. Work study money is perfect for weekly groceries or meals but probably won’t provide a huge income.
Google Opinion Rewards App
I JUST discovered Google Surveys at the end of my time at university. It’s a pretty cool app. Don’t expect to make bank off of it but it’s perfect for paying for coffees here and there. You can download the app and each time a new survey is available, you’ll get a notification. It’s a little creepy because all the surveys are based on where you’ve been (they know your exact location) and ask you if you bought something while you were there. But the surveys are usually only two or three questions and take 10 seconds (seriously) and then award you anywhere from 10 – 60 cents randomly. When you hit $2 in the account (which takes about two weeks or so) then you can cash out to PayPal. I’ve made $10 from this app and every time I make $2, I cash it out and treat myself to a coffee. It’s nothing HUGE, but I prefer it over those survey apps that never seem to work.
I started using ibotta right when it came out and I LOVED it. I used to shop at Ralph’s all the time before a Trader Joe’s opened up near me and it actually saved me a lot of money. You get a $5 referral bonus if you get someone to sign up, and they get $10 if they use your code. So if you’re in college, refer your roommates and friends and you all could make money! Yay! That’s what I did and ended up making an extra $35 in my first month of using ibotta.
It’s super simple to use. After you shop, make sure to save your receipt. Then you take a picture of your receipt to scan it and prove you bought certain items, and the cash back will be awarded to your account. Once you reach $20, you can cash it out for gift cards or to your bank account. When I started using it, they didn’t have Trader Joe’s on there, but now they do! They’re continually adding new stores and aren’t just limited to grocery stores. Check out the app, enter my referral code (krdidur) so you can start off with $10, and see how much you could be saving.
While you’re here, check out my recent post about my $30 Trader Joe’s Grocery Store Haul.
Download ibotta using this link: https://ibotta.com/r/krdidur
Don’t have time for a part-time job? There are always some gigs you can do for some extra money. Some of your options include:
- Research Studies
My school always posted announcements about paid research studies. For just a few hours of your time, you would be involved in a study and be compensated for it. For example, I saw a posting for one that was going to study how sugar affects your brain and another on students who vaped/smoked. While I never did either of these (I don’t smoke or vape), they all seemed to have solid compensation provided and I can’t imagine they would be awful experiences. It’s a nice way for a quick $25-75 dollars.
If you have some free time in the afternoons or on weekends, babysitting is definitely a great way to get some cash. Some babysitting jobs require you to have a car, so that might not be possible for you, but if you live in a city you’re at an advantage. My sister lived in New York and was able to make about one hundred dollars a week by picking up some kids from school and watching them until their parents got home from work. Some schools even have community postings where people in surrounding neighborhoods are looking for babysitters, so make sure to hunt those down. You can also ask around clubs, groups, or church communities to see if anyone is looking for a babysitter.
- Uber Eats/Postmates
I know some kids in my university who delivered for Postmates. Since most college students had a bicycle on my campus, they would do deliveries around the area to make some extra cash on the weekends. I don’t have experience doing this, so I’m not sure how much you can make from it, but I’m sure it provides some extra cash so you can spend it on your own food delivery. 😉
Hopefully, some of these suggestions give you some inspiration on how to make some extra money in college. I definitely recommend trying to stick to a budget because it’s a great feeling to graduate with a comfortable amount in your bank account. Always try to plan for the future and even saving up a little every now and then can add up.
Let me know other ways you save money in the comments below!