For all those students out there, whether you need money for books, some “walking-around cash,” or the fare for a ticket home, here are six creative ways you can earn some extra bucks.
Human Guinea Pig
Ever thought of participating in a research study? Compensation for clinical research study volunteers runs the gamut from fifteen dollars for answering a few questions on lifestyle habits to a couple thousand dollars for participating in a longer term study with an in-patient stay.
If your university has a med school, check out opportunities on campus. National clinical listing services include www.clinicaltrials.gov and www.centerwatch.com.
All Savi Maharaj from the University of Florida has to do to get a paycheck is drive her black Volkswagen Beetle around campus. If she leaves her car parked in front of the dorms, it’s even better for business.
Maharaj is one of over 700,000 contacts for a marketing and promotions company called Free Car Media. The company matches advertising clients with drivers across the country to promote the company’s products. Drivers receive free samples of the product they are promoting to pass out along the road to interested consumers.
Sell what you don’t need, can’t use, or no longer like. Sell back your used textbooks at semester’s end. Do it on campus for the fastest return, but if you’re a recent grad you can sell back textbooks on-line. Check out www.barnesandnoble.com.
Other easily convertible-to-cash items include CDs and clothing. Expect to get one to five dollars per CD, depending on the condition. Gary Alpert, twenty-three, after-school director at the Jewish Day School in Newton, Mass. takes the music resale concept a step further. “I bought a box of used records at a garage sale for three dollars and then sold them for one to two dollars each at the used music store.”
For students living in a state that has bottle deposit laws, returning empty soda cans and beer bottles is a popular way to make quick cash. Pick up empties at the cafeteria or littered at school events.
Kate Hutchinson, twenty-one, and her friend Nate Curtis, twenty-two, both recent Trinity College (Hartford, Conn.) graduates, recycle cans together and use the money for “the extras, mostly stuff for our cat; a new collar, a litter box, going out money.”
Hutchinson does typing for extra money. “I work an average of two hours a week at ten dollars/hour but I get more business closer to Christmas because my customers are busier themselves,” she says. Alpert has a weekly babysitting gig.
Sometimes the only way to get real money is to get a real job. For example, playing Santa in the winter and manning a firework stand in the summer or any other temporary holiday jobs are perfect if you want to make money but don’t want to make a huge job commitment. Some schools will post jobs on-line; others will post them outside the financial aid office.