When I was in school, money was scarce and I never had much luck finding decent part-time jobs. Hustling on the side became one of my best options while juggling classes, writing papers, and studying for exams. Being a broke college student isn’t inevitable. There are many legit, easy ways to make money in college to help make ends meet.
In fact, many of the ways to make money as a college student be done from the comfort of your dorm room or apartment. This post will give you ideas for making money in college to pad your budget and reduce your reliance on student loan money.
Best Ways to Make Money in College
Many think they can’t make extra money or that they don’t have the time to make money on the side, especially while in college. Don’t give into those excuses.
With a little creativity and willingness to work, there are many ways to earn money on the side. Here are some of the best ways to make money in college.
1. Deliver Meals
Do you have a car, bike, motorcycle, or scooter available to you at college? If so, you can make money delivering meals during your spare time.
DoorDash provides opportunities to make money as a college student. In addition to having a valid driver’s license and passing a background check, you must meet the following requirements to deliver meals for either service:
- Must be at least 18
- Have valid insurance
- Have access to some form of transportation
- Own an iPhone or Android-based phone
- Be able to pass a DMV check if driving a car or motorcycle
You can review other requirements to deliver meals for either service in our guide on how to get paid for driving your car. Since the app pays you per delivery and you get to keep 100 percent of tips, this is an excellent way to make money in college.
Postmates is another good service to deliver meals that also allows you to deliver alcohol and groceries.
Keep in mind you’re considered an independent contractor with most services and not an employee.
Tutoring is a great part-time job and one of the easiest ways to make money in college. If you excel in a particular subject, you may find it easier to help others with their homework and study for exams.
Whether you’re a math or science whiz, a talented writer or speak another language, odds are you can find someone on campus who needs your help and is willing to compensate you for your time.
Some colleges have peer tutoring programs where they hire students to help with certain subjects. You can also advertise your services online or put flyers up around campus. Tutoring online is also an option.
Qkids is one company that hires college students as teachers. With this online company, you teach English to small groups (up to four) of Chinese students at a time. Compensation ranges between $16 – $20 per hour with Qkids.
If you already have a degree and have a year of teaching experience, you can teach international students with SayABC and make $20+ per hour. Not having a degree may hold some back, but if you’re majoring in education you can work for SayABC without a degree.
Check out our guide on how to teach English online from home to find other possibilities and additional requirements.
3. Become a Personal Grocery Shopper
Do you have a car on campus? If you do, you can offer your services to go grocery shopping for people. Advertise your services on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or your local newspaper to get clients.
If you’d rather work for a company, Instacart Shopper is a great choice to be a personal grocery shopper. With Instacart Shopper you shop for groceries at a store and deliver them.
As a delivery driver for Instacart Shopper you can earn up to $20 per hour, including tips. You can create your own schedule and work when it’s best for you.
The on-demand delivery space is exploding, so there are other options to making money with Instacart if you don’t want to do personal grocery shopping.
4. Walk Dogs
For people who aren’t really fans of kids and babysitting but who enjoy animals, I always recommend that they give dog walking a try. Walking dogs is a great way to get some exercise and one of the easiest ways to make money in college.
You can walk dogs in between classes or in the mornings or evenings. You can advertise your services on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or use Rover as resources to find clients.
*Related: Looking for ways to make money for a delivery service? Read our Postmates job review to learn how you can make $20+ per hour delivering meals.*
If you want the benefit of a platform to find gigs, Rover is a great option. You create your own schedule, and list the types and size of dogs you want to serve. You can even offer additional services like pet sitting.
There are numerous dog walking apps you can use for this opportunity, so don’t hold back from signing up for multiple opportunities.
5. Taking Surveys
Taking surveys is an easy way to make extra money in college and is open to anyone over 18 years old. All you need is a computer, internet connection, and an opinion.
Below are some of the best paid survey sites to earn money:
Survey Junkie: Survey Junkie is our favorite survey site. They pay you directly to PayPal or let you redeem rewards for Amazon gift cards.
Pinecone Research: They pay $3 per survey and they pay by Amazon Gift Card or virtual Mastercard. However, if you’ve joined Pinecone in the last 30 days, your first redemption must be by bank transfer to verify your rewards account. They also pay to do product testing.
Opinion Outpost: One of the top survey sites in the space and they have quarterly $10,000 prize drawings.
InboxDollars: Earn money for taking surveys, watching TV, or making purchases online. Get $5 just for signing up.
You can take surveys on your phone and sign up for multiple sites to increase your earnings. While taking surveys online is an easy way to earn extra money, you won’t become rich but they are a good way to make money in your free time.
It’s important that you make sure the survey companies you sign up with will pay you in cash or gift cards that you can use to supplement some of your expenses. In fact, you can use many to earn free Amazon gift cards to save money on Amazon.
6. Sell Old Video Games
If you’re a video game enthusiast, you can make good money reselling video games locally or online. Video games can be quite expensive, and if you own any that you are not playing anymore, consider selling them to SecondSpin to make some quick cash.
Gazelle is another good option if you have other tech items such as phones you no longer use and want to sell for cash.
You can also buy games that are still in good condition and resell them by bumping up the price. You may find profitable games at flea markets, on discounts sites, or on sale for the holidays.
Also, don’t underestimate the value of classic games and gaming consoles. A few years ago, my husband bought an original Nintendo 64 system and a few games for $60.
When you sell old electronics for cash, be sure to shop around for the best offer. Some stores will agree to buy games from you but they may not offer much or may even only offer store credit. In that case, it may be better to sell your game directly to the buyer.
7. Sell Your Old Textbooks
How much do you spend on textbooks for your classes? The average college student spends $1,200 per year on textbooks, according to CBS News. This adds a significant stress to many students looking to keep spending in check.
If you take good care of your textbooks, you can try to sell them to help cut down on the cost for future semesters. Depending on your needs, you may also be able to sell them to pocket the cash. Use resources like Craigslist or your school newspaper’s classified ads to advertise and sell the items.
You can also use the Amazon Trade-In page as a good resource to determine pricing on your old textbooks to ensure you’re selling at market price.
8. Become a Rideshare Driver
Another great option to make money while in college is to becoming a rideshare driver. This is similar to delivering meals, but there are typically more requirements since you’re driving people around town.
If you have a car and are 21 or older, you can drive for Lyft and set your own schedule. Lyft is currently offering a $1,000 earnings guarantee in your first 30 days. You just need 125 rides in the first 30 days to reach the guarantee.
Besides being at least 21, you must meet the additional requirements to drive for Lyft:
- Your registration must be current
- You must have auto insurance
- Your car must have four working doors that operate internally and externally
- The air conditioning and heat must be fully functional
- The vehicle must have at least five seat belts and they all need to be functional
- Your car must pass the requirements of your given city as it does vary from city to city
Check out our guide on how much money can you make driving for Lyft for a further breakdown of requirements and how to increase earnings.
If you don’t mind working evenings or weekends, driving for a rideshare service can be one of the best ways to make money in college.
Babysitting is one of the easier ways to make money in college if you like kids. Whether you attend a community college or university, there are bound to be some parents who are students and need affordable child care.
If there is a childcare center on campus, you can apply to work there or you can set up a profile on Sitter.com to find jobs. It also lets prospective clients view your profile so they can see your references.
When I was a student, I had to take some mandatory night classes for journalism. Since I didn’t live in the same town as my family, I heavily depended on babysitters and friends to help with my son. This is another flexible opportunity to start making money in college where you can work around your class schedule.
10. Sell Your Notes
Do you take very detailed notes? In college, I actually loved taking good notes and writing everything down because it helped me when studying and retaining information.
I didn’t just rely on the PowerPoint slides the instructor used in class and I believe that helped me maintain good grades. Back then, I wish I’d known that you can sell your notes online to help other students study.
Stuvia is a site that allows you to do this, making it an option to earn money in college. With Stuvia, you retain ownership of your notes and you can set your own price for them. Stuvia does all the marketing so all you need to do is upload your notes, set a fair price, and get paid when someone buys them.
11. Donate Plasma
Donating plasma for money may not be pretty but you can easily make several hundred dollars per month doing it. Each plasma center has their own requirements and payment amounts, but if you’re in a pinch, this can be a good way to make extra money on the side.
12. Do Odd Jobs Around Town
Do you have the time to make money on the side but don’t want to tie yourself down to a part-time job? You can do odd jobs around town to make money in college.
TaskRabbit is a great resource to find odd jobs. You can find any of the following jobs on Taskrabbit:
- Assembling furniture
- Doing home improvement jobs
- Running errands
These are just a few of the types of jobs available on Taskrabbit. Once you complete a job with Taskrabbit, you invoice them directly and they pay weekly. You also get to keep any tips.
13. Get a Part-time Job
If you’re asking yourself how to make money as a college student, a part-time job is one of the most common answers. You can find a job on campus working in the dining hall or working in one of the offices. You can also get a job off campus to help make extra money.
I’ve always preferred other ways to make money that allow for more flexibility, but a part-time job can be a great way to make extra money if you prefer predictable hours and paycheck.
It’s important to think outside the box when it comes to finding ways to make money in college. I never got hired for too many part-time retail and restaurant jobs as a college student, even after sending out dozens of applications.
I didn’t let that discourage me and still found a way to put more money into my pocket by finding time for side hustles. Consider your skills and interests. Don’t be afraid to combine several of these ideas to boost your income while in college.
What are some ways you made money while in college? Do you think it’s good to work while in college or should you avoid it if possible? What’s the oddest thing you’ve done to make extra money?