• Nineteen Magazine

24 Ways To Save/Make Money In College

College is freaking expensive. Unless you come from a wealthy family or are able to earn a coveted full-ride scholarship, you're going to realize quickly that college is hard to pay for (not to mention all the extra fun things you are going to want to spend money on when you are young). However, there are things you can do starting today that will help you live in financial freedom. Here are 24 ways to save or make money in college.

Cook For Yourself

As a first year student, your college will more than likely require you to purchase an expensive meal plan, Although having a meal plan is convenient as an upper classman you should consider cooking for yourself instead of eating on-campus all the time. This is a simple way you can save loads of money. Plus you are going to have to cook for yourself after you graduate anyways so it's better to get used to it now.

Buy Used Clothing

Buying used clothing isn't necessarily glamourous, but it will help you save up. Sometimes you can find trendy and almost brand new things at Goodwill or Salvation Army and you will pay half the price you would in retail.

Take Advantage of Work-Study Opportunities

Many students who are awarded financial aid, recieve a work-study as a part of their financial aid package. It is the student's responsibility to secure an on-campus job as a part of the deal, but these usually aren't hard to find. Work study jobs are often more flexible than other part-time jobs and you don't have to include them on your FAFSA which means you save in the long-run.

Work A Summer Job

This is so obvious, but so many teens don't do it. Yeah, I know, summer jobs can suck sometimes, but you won't regret it when you are able to pay for your schooling without taking as many loans out. Additionally, summer jobs can look really good on resumes when you are applying for that first out of college job. Try to find something related to your future career if you can. For example, if you want to become a teacher find a job at a kids' summer camp. If you're going into health care, consider working at a nursing home or assisted living center. If you're going into business try to become a summer manager at an ice-cream shop, drive-in movie theatre, mini-golf course, or some other seasonal company.

Work Over The Winter Holiday

Your definitely going to want to set aside some time to relax and reset between the fall and spring semesters, but you don't need to lay around on the couch for six entire weeks. There are probably plenty of temporary and part-time jobs available in your hometown during the busy holiday season especially in retail. It may not be that much fun, but its a good way to make a few extra bucks. That way when you return to campus for spring semester, you'll have a nice wad of cash to take with you.

Find A Paid Internship

Not going to lie, paid internships are hard to come by, but they are out there. If you are competivie candidate you may be able to secure one in your field at least by the time you are a senior. I think LinkedIn is one of the best places to find these opportunities.


You've probably been told to babysit since the time you were twelve, but did you know that parents will probably pay you more now that you are an adult. Plus, if your schedule allows they may even let you become a regular babysitter or a nanny. Babysitting is a more casaul type of job that may offer you the flexibility you need as a college student.

Rent Textbooks Or Buy Used

Please don't buy your textbooks new if you can avoid it. Many professors barely reference the textbooks they 'require' anyways and after the class is over its just going to sit in your room collecting dust. Rent you textbooks from Amazon of your school's bookstore. Another option is to buy used books from your bookstore, Amazon, or eBay.

Sell Your Old Textbooks

Be honest with yourself, you're never going to read that book on the conquest of Normandy again so you might as well make a few bucks off it by selling it online, to your college's bookstore, or to a buddy you know taking the course after you.

Skip The Coffee

It's okay to splurge on a special beverage once in a while, but if you are the kind of person who buys a $4 latte every morning you may want to rethink that habit. Sure it's only four dollars, but if you save that four dollars every day of the work week you could have twenty extra dollars in your pocket by Friday.

Share Expenses

Easy ways you can share expenses as a college student include sharing your lease with housemates/roomates, carpooling, going in on an Uber with your friends and sharing the cost of subscriptions to services (Netflix, Chegg, etc). There is no reason not to do this; your friends are poor too.

Clear Out Your Closet

What kinds of things do you have lying around your bedroom or in your closet that might be worth something? Take some time this week to go through your stuff and decide what pieces of clothing, old video games, or books you don't need anymore. Instead of trashing them consider selling them online or see what you can get for them at a thrift store. If you have enough junk consider having your own yard sale. Prom dresses and your old trumpet may hold special memories, but do you really need to keep them?

Tutor Or Give Lessons

Are you a math whiz or can you play guitar better than Paul McCartney? If you answered yes to either of those questions or if you have some other exceptional talent, you could make money by teaching others. Many colleges have peer tutoring programs you could get paid for that would only require a few hours of your time each week. For the musically gifted, it's not hard to put out a Facebook Ad (or having your mom put out a Facebook Ad) for beginner lessons taught by you! Just make sure you actually know what you're doing and have a place to give the lessons.

Move Back In With Family

I know nobody really wants to do this, but if you have a family member that lives within a commuting distance of your college consider moving back in with them. It may not be the experience you want, but you'll save *thousands* of dollars. It might just be worth it.

Start A Blog

Anyone can start a blog with a little creativitiy and a small hundred-ish dollar investment for a domain name and domain hosting. If you're a good writer and have interesting things to say, blogging might be a good idea for you. Once you drive enough traffic to your site, you can monetize it by adding advertisments. This is one of the only ways the average young person (aka anyone who is not a celebrity or prodigy) can literally make money in their sleep.

Walk More, Drive Less

Walking is great, easy exercise. By choosing to walk more often instead of driving, you'll stay in shape, save money on gas, put less miles on your car, and reduce your carbon footprint. It's a win-win situation.

Shovel Snow

I know you've heard this one before, but for those who live in the North it can be a simple way to make a quick buck in the winter when you know the right people to ask.

Mow Lawns

It's kind of like shoveling snow, but in the summer. ;) Nobody really likes mowing the grass, so I'm sure you can find someone to mow for in your neighborhood. If it becomes a regular thing, you could easily save up a few hundred dollars over the warm season.

Take Extra Credits

Most colleges and university's offer a flat tuition rate. This means that you pay the same amount in tuition for taking twelve credits as you would for taking eighteen credits. Get the most bang for your buck by taking as many credits as you can handle while keeping your grades up. If you do this, you may be able to graduate a semester or year early. Graduating early means saving a semester plus on college costs and making a semester plus of extra income. I belive there is no better way to get ahead financially.

Learn To Coupon/Look For Deals

Coupons work. If you are a regular grocery shopper, you know this is true. Look in your local newspaper in the morning for the best coupons and look online for extra deals. If you show your student ID at check-out many retail stores, food markets, and restaurants will offer a special deal. For great deals on recreational activities in your area check out Groupon. Student Beans is another great website to find savings as a college student.

Sell Lullaroe, Avon, Mary Kay, etc.

I'm not really a big fan of MLMs, but it is possible to make money off of them, Sure, it's a pyramid scheme but if you can make a few hundred dollars in a year from it, why not? Just don't be that annoying person who is constantly pressuring their friends into buying their stuff and don't flood your social media accounts with constant promotions either. It'd be better to keep your friends than to sell two cases of lip gloss for fifty cents. Selling at craft shows or flea markets may be the best way to make sales with these companies and their products.

Offer Hairstyling Services

Do you have a knack for doing hair? Then offer to be a special occassions hairstylist for your friends and family. If you know how to do make-up or manicures well, offer these services in addition to your hairstyling. You could make bank doing this during the holidays, during prom season, and during wedding season.

Start Budgeting

You can start saving for the future unless you know where your money is going right now. You can make a simple budget for yourself by adding up your monthly income, subtracting your monthly expenses, and then developing a plan on how to save or spend the remaining money.

Look For Grants And Scholarships

Grants and scholarships can be hard to find and earn, but they are out there. If you know how to write a killer essay or have some unusual circumstances you might be able to find some great grants and scholarships by looking online. Check out scholarships.com or unigo.com for the best compilation of available funds.

College is expensive, but if you play your cards right you can save and make a lot of money while getting your education. It's okay if you don't come out completely debt free, but it's best to avoid taking out excessive loans or spending exorborent money you don't have. We hope you can use these tips to find financial freedom in college. Make sure to tell us how you save/make money as a college student in the comments below.

Check out our other college-related content:

Remote Learning Sucks- Here's How You Can Make The Best Of It

8 Signs An Internship Isn't Worth Your Time


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