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College Life Hack: Earn Extra Money on the Side

Editorial Staff

"Just yogi'ing around!"—Erin

I’m Erin Feldman, and I am a college drop-out.

I’m not ashamed of telling people what I am—I’d like to motivate college students on the verge of dropping out because their student loans are taking a toll on them to earn extra money.

Dramatics aside, I know how it feels to hit rock-bottom. A $100,000 student loan was taking its toll on me. I was the type who liked to tackle things one at a time. However, loans wait for nobody, and before I knew it, I had to pay for 100,000 dollars worth of education.

This may not be setting a good example, but I dropped out to keep myself sane. I couldn’t continue with such a large amount of debt. When I was starting out in college, I was very optimistic—I was hell-bent on following my passion; that’s the whole point of college anyway, right? I had to rely on student loans to make it in college. When my passion changed in the middle of the first term, I resolved to still follow my passion, because I knew I could just pay this off once I got to my dream destination. Even if my lunch had become breakfast-lunch-dinner and was composed of grilled cheese (or sometimes, just “grilled” toast), I had to follow my heart.

I’m not discouraging anyone; I’m not saying you shouldn’t follow your dreams. But, a well-thought plan could help you avoid the situation I found myself in. I didn’t think through things, I didn’t consider that my parents were at a frail age. I was young, wild and free. I played hard, I didn’t work hard. I was living a life just like in any teen movie.

Before you scroll down and check how to earn extra money and rid yourself of that loan, I want you to heed my lifehack advice.


Planning can get boring, planning ruins the spontaneous fun. But I realized that in this world, a slight change in course can lead to a different set of events.
Stick to that plan, or change the plan. Make sure you’ve weighed out the pros and the cons. Are you studying for a degree because your potential salary is better than that of your passion? If you stick with your passion, will it be enough to get you through?
Always think of the future. If you cannot make ends meet, at least meet halfway. In today’s “adulting”” challenge, learning how to compromise is a must. That’s why, if you want to earn extra money and pay off your debts, you need to learn how to juggle your time for work, play, and study. Note that these tips aren’t exactly your easy way out, but as young adults, we need to learn more about responsibilities, too. Here are some tips on how to make it out of college, alive:


There are lots of ways that you can make money online. Instead of watching videos, or wasting time on social networking sites all day long, why not spend your online time for something useful? This can potentially save you from dropping out of college so consider one or more of the following:

1. Selling on eBay, Amazon
Especially if you have collectibles, or just extra stuff that you don’t use anymore, selling items on online market places such as eBay or Amazon, can help you. You can sell your old books, clothes, shoes, or toys for some extra money. I did this during my pre-departure days from college. I met a few friends during my night-outs, and they helped me supply my online store. Eventually, I got out of eBay and decided it was time for me to build my own brand.

2. Filling out surveys
There are some sites that will pay you to fill out online surveys. Register for the following online survey sites and they will contact you in case your profile meets the requirement for their survey:

• Cross Media Panel
• Digital Reflection Panel
• Harris Poll
• MyPoints
• Opinion Outpost
• Pinecone
• Pinecone 18-24
• Points Club
• ProOpinion
• Reward TV
• Survey Junkie
• Survey Spot
• Swagbucks Surveys

3. Freelancing
Online freelancing offers a lot of opportunities. There are also lots of online freelance work out there for those looking to earn extra money. UpWork is one of the most popular sites for online freelancers. However, take note that some of the tasks here require dedication. Working full-time whilst studying isn’t exactly the best route, especially if you’re studying on a more theoretical degree that requires you to read and research.

4. Selling Stock Photos
If you like taking pictures, you might want to consider selling them online. Some sites like iStockPhoto will purchase a photo they like. Make use of your photography skills to earn some extra money!

5. Selling clothes online
For our fashionistas out there, follow your inner juju and start selling clothes online. There are numerous ways to do this, but one of the easiest and probably the cheapest way to showcase your items is through social media; Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Oftentimes, people look here first before rushing to their favorite online store. What can you do to increase chances of selling your garments? Here’s what I did when I started out: Put up a style guide! Dress for the occasion! It’s already winter in most places; hold a quick photoshoot of trendy outfits this winter, and mention your items for sale. That’s how you create demand; you fuel their need with their desire to look cool in your effort to earn extra money.

6. Blogging
Although not an easy way to make a lot money, blogging can still help you out. Once you have garnered a decent amount of followers, you can earn by advertising, by becoming an affiliate marketer, or by selling your own products.

7. User testing
There are sites like that will pay for you to rate and give feedback on websites. All you have to do is to rate the usability of a site and provide feedback to earn extra money.

8. Becoming a virtual assistant
There is also an opportunity in becoming a virtual assistant for someone. You can help someone run a site or social media account in your free time.

9. Doing gigs on Fiverr or Mechanical Turk
Fiverr is a microsite where you can sell a lot of random projects. Amazon also has a microsite called the Mechanical Turk where you can be paid for doing tasks that usually take seconds to do. There are different gigs that you can do to earn some money.

10. Selling on
You can sell crafts and earn extra money on So if you are a on the creative side, you can make money selling cards, invitations, or other unique crafts.

11. Publishing an e-book
If you have a knack for writing, then writing an e-book may be the right side hustle for you! You can then sell it to Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Make use of your talent to help you get through college!

Read: First Day at a New Job



If you don’t see the right side hustle for you on our list above, then you might be better off with our list of offline ways to make money.

1. Tutoring
You could earn some money by tutoring younger students and helping them with their studies. This is a good way to stay sharp while you earn money. Aside from being an academic tutor, you can also teach skills. I found peace in yoga, that’s why in my spare time, I am teaching anyone interested to learn how to find their “inner peace”. If you know how to play the ukulele, use a sewing machine, or play jazz music with the piano, then it’s one of the opportunities you can capitalize on.

2. Catering
There are lots of catering companies that need a lot of help, especially during the weekends. You won’t need to work full-time so you can still have time for your studies.

3. Baby-sitting
A lot of families are in need of baby-sitting services. If you are good with kids, baby-sitting can help you get decent amount of extra cash.

4. Cleaning services
You can offer cleaning services to neighbors, especially those busy families with not much time to do tedious housework.

5. Selling recyclables
You can also make some extra money by selling recyclables. Ask your friends and relatives to store recyclables for you. Or better yet, do this in combination with cleaning services.

6. Walking dogs
Some families are so busy that they don’t have time to even walk their dogs. Offer dog walking services to earn extra money.

7. Pet-sitting
If your pet-loving neighbors or friends don’t have active dogs but still want someone to look after them when they’re gone, you can offer pet-sitting services for them

8. House-sitting
The easy-peasy job of just staying in a neighbor’s or a friend’s house while they’re away is als a great way to earn money. Although this won’t be a regular gig, it could still earn you some decent amount of money, especially during the holidays.

9. Modelling
For those lucky enough to have dashing good looks, modelling can be the right way to earn money for you to help get you through college! You can go for shoots during the weekend and have enough time for studying during the week.

10. Gardening Services
Do you know about the couple of entrepreneurs that started a business by moving  lawns? Who knows, you may also have the same fate if you start now.

I am a college dropout and I want to save those who are about to be like me. I hope that you can find a way to earn extra money to get you through college. I wish all the best for your studies. Hustle ‘til you graduate!

You’ve made it—now what? Read: What to Do After Graduation

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