Creative Ways to Increase Savings and Decrease Spending at College
Approximately 17.5 million Americans will be attending college this fall. If you’re one of them, you’re probably thinking about how you will pay for it. Even with grants, scholarships, loans, and savings many students come up short every semester. This forces many students to look for an additional source of income or other ways to cut expenses.
While many students are given the traditional get a job advice, working while attending school full-time isn’t always easy. In this economy, very few employers are willing to work around school schedules during a semester; not to mention the difficulty of finding different jobs every time the semester ends and you move back home. If you’re having trouble making ends meet at the end of each semester, get creative about ways to earn more money and keep more of what you earn
Ask your professors about working for them as a Teaching Assistant, Lab Assistant, or Paper Grader. Many schools do not list these kinds of jobs in their campus work centers; in fact many of the students who work in these kind of jobs had to convince their professor to create a job for them. Expect to make about minimum wage or slightly higher.
If you’re good at teaching, tutor other students. Specifically, think about high school and middle school students. The parents of high school students look for ways to give their kids some extra help without embarrassing them. Being in college means their kids won’t have to tell everyone they’re being tutored. Rates go between $10-$25/hour (decide if you’ll go to their house if the students will come to you).
It’s not glamorous work, but try cleaning houses and/or offices. You can set your own schedule and the pay is good. Most house cleaners keep costs down by advertising on craigslist or by posting flyers in faculty areas, and they can earn about $25/hour. Offices are usually cleaned late at night (after the regular employees have gone home), and there is usually very little gross work; it’s mostly vacuuming and emptying trash cans. These assignments can be hard to get without knowing someone who works in the office. Houses can be more difficult to clean (and the owners more picky) but a lot of people would love to have some part-time help.
If you love kids, babysit. Today, many parents are leery of leaving their children with people they don’t know, so most college students who babysit meet potential clients through their church or other civil groups. You might also want to advertise as a substitute baby sitter; someone who can fill in when a regular babysitter is sick. Usually you will get referred by the sitter the parents know, and this can become a full-time gig. Also look into summer nanny positions, they typically pay more and come with free room and board during the summer (great if you want to stay in town but don’t have any classes to take).
If you don’t like kids, try elder-sitting. Many families are looking for someone who can help an elderly relative clean house, cook a few meals, or just keep company. While some positions may require you to move in with someone (a bonus if you’re renting an apartment and need to save on rent) other families just need someone to come by a few times a week.