Inevitabley, at some point in your college career you will find yourself flat broke. That is, of course, unless you’re amongst the privledged few who don’t have to worry about such things. But for the rest of us, money is a big issue. You may have been set back purchasing all those required books at the start of the semester, or perhaps you had a few too many nights on the town. Whatever the case may be, you need cash, and you need it now. So what can you do? And, what shouldn’t you do?
1. Beg mom and dad for money. This should only be used as a last resort, when you really really find yourself in a hard spot, and haven’t been able to come up with any other offers. You’re in college now; it’s time to be responsible.
2. Get a part-time job. This may be a bit tricky. Juggling college, extracurriculars, and a social life is difficult as it is, and throwing in even a part-time job will make it much worse. It can be hard sometimes to find a work schedule that will work with your college schedule. I’m not going to say that having a job is a bad thing, but it can cause you a lot more un-needed stress. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and getting a job can’t always be avoided. Just think about it before you leap into anything.
3. Get a credit card to tide you over. Please do NOT do this no matter how bad things get for you financially. The allure of plastic is just too much for many people to handle it, and it will really suck having massive credit card debt on top of all those student loans you’ll have when you graduate. Avoid credit cards like the plague.
4. Find some odd jobs. Non-regular jobs can help you get cash when you need it, however it is not a steady source of income. But hey, as long as you can get enough to get by, that’s all that matters. Irregular jobs and tasks can even been fun, and interesting…much more so than sitting in a cubicle all day. A great place to find some odd jobs is Craigslist. You can search by your local area, and look through the “Gigs” section. “Gigs”, unlike “Jobs”, are usually one-time opportunities. You might want to also check your local newspapers’ classified sections.
5. Gamble the few dollars you have to turn it into more money. Again, this is a really bad move. Sure, you might get lucky one day and make a profit, but the odds are very much against you. Plus you don’t want to get a gambling addiction at such a young age already, and like credit cards, you don’t need a huge gambling debt on top of all your student loans.
When I was an undergrad, I tried a little bit of everything to get by. I did work-study one semester in the cafeteria, which I hated and quit after a couple months. Then I tried asking my parents for a little bit here and there. After that, I made the huge mistake of getting a credit card, and put some of my expenses on that. And lastly, I got two part-time jobs – one lifeguarding and one working at a library. It paid well, but left me feeling burnt out all of the time, and I skipped classes more than I should have. Eventually I condensed and moved up to a full-time job, which really made going to school tough. Another thing I did here and there was some website stuff for people. I’d make websites or help people list their items on eBay (for a fee of course).
So, I’d like to ask you all…other than getting a job, what innovative things have you done to make extra dough while in college? I