Best Way for College Students to Make Money While in School

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See these tips on the Best Way for College Students to Make Money while in high school or college!

College Students

In a report from USNews.com, the average cost of college tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year has increased by 1% to 2%, across both public and private schools over the prior year — despite tuition freezes and discounts. Moreover, many families underestimate the total cost for a college education. A recent survey found that 38% of high school students and 1 in 4 parents estimate the total cost for one year of college to be $5000 or less. In reality, the costs to college students are much higher.

Tuition and fees, combined with housing, food, books, and other living expenses often add up to between $20,000 to $40,000 per year. This is not feasible to many families. Even if saving is possible, it's common that families don’t start saving for their children’s college education until the child is already in middle school or high school. So how can parents and teens catch up with their savings? Here are four tips to consider:

Invest Some of Your Money Wisely

Many young adults only open a dedicated bank account when they reach their senior year of high school, but that shouldn’t be the case. Families can save money as early as they can, then try to grow it. The average US savings account only pays 0.06% interest annually, according to news site Vox.com. Even a high-yield savings account can grow your money by just 0.5%, so consider investing in a 529 savings plan instead. A 529 savings plan contains mutual funds, bond funds, and ETFs, which allows you to grow your money tax-free. Accounts that earn money over time are a great way to put aside extra money for college.

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Apply for grants and scholarships

Contrary to popular belief, a student loan isn’t the only source of funding for college — nor does it have to be your first option. As finance website AskMoney.com points out, over $2 billion in student grants are left unclaimed each year. Applying for grants and scholarships also means you don’t have to worry about repaying anything after graduation. Even if the financial assistance doesn't cover the entirety of your tuition, it can greatly reduce the amount of student loans you would need to take out. Try to obtain as many grants and available scholarships for college students as you can find. You can start by asking your university’s financial aid office about available options.

Another common misconception is that you have to be an advanced student or have perfect grades to apply for scholarships. This just isn't the case! One of the easiest ways to find scholarships that you can attain is to ask your academic advisor. You can also ask fellow students and any on-campus student groups. If you already have your major picked out, there may be a few scholarships available in that field set up for students. Often, income level does factor in on scholarship applications. If you see a scholarship for lower-income students, applying can be one of the best ways you can increase your college fund. Keep an eye out in your spare time for any new scholarships or financial aid offers.

Best Way for College Students to Make Money- Explore New Ways to Earn

Teens with extra time on their hands can take on part-time jobs for extra cash. There are many opportunities around your neighborhood. Some job options for teens include fast food restaurants, going on a paper route, mowing lawns, babysitting, dog sitting, or house sitting, running errands for the elderly, or helping small businesses during busy seasons. Busy holiday hours in stores mean many job opportunities are available from November/December-January. This can be an easy way to add to your college fund in a short period of time. While it may not be a lot of money, it can build up over time to help with living expenses or tuition during the semester, when you may not have as much free time.

Dog Sit

If you are computer or social media savvy– most teens are– consider an online job such as virtual assistant or customer service. These often have extremely varied hours and can be good money, along with setting your own schedule. Be sure to check for a legitimate job source. Some online “jobs” may sound too good to be true– and then end up being nonexistent or just not pay. Carefully vet the business itself and your hiring personnel to make sure it's a legitimate work at home job opportunity. Your local small business bureau or a national agency like the Better Business Bureau can help.

It’s not glamorous, but the money earned can certainly go a long way — plus you learn job-related skills. If a part-time job isn’t a good idea, rummage through your closets and attics for stuff to sell. You can sell items on Craigslist, or host an old-fashioned yard sale for things that take up valuable space. It’s good to get this done well before you start packing up to attend school away from home.

Cut Down Those Senior Year Expenses:

Senior portraits, graduation parties, senior class trips, and other events that mark the culmination of high school life are important, but the combined expenses can greatly impact your college fund. According to high school paper TheScienceSurvey.com, the costs related to prom alone set American families back an average of $919 in 2015. With rising costs of entertainment, food, transportation, and other expenses, these small costs can add up greatly before long.

While you don’t have to miss out on these activities, families should consider budget-friendly alternatives. Renting or thrifting prom outfits can save a pretty penny, while hosting a budget-friendly graduation party at home can still be a lot of fun. This way, you can celebrate this significant milestone, while keeping your college budget intact.

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Overall, a basic financial tip is to plan ahead. Family and teens can look at specific plans for college. Are you planning on including a dorm room? Can you take an online course or two in the summer to avoid expenses of living away from home? Look at campus jobs or student employment opportunities set up for lower income students (or any). The college lab may have a research assistant job, or dorms and dining hall jobs may be open to students. Graduate schools will often hire a teaching assistant once a year. While these may not be full time, they can all be ways to add extra income for your college expenses.

Take Online Surveys:

If you are looking for a good way to earn spending money, a great place to earn money is by taking online surveys. Most pay only couple dollars per survey, however this is a quick way to earn money that can pay for smaller expenses like food and coffee.

The best part about online surveys is that you can do these in your spare time while relaxing at home. If you are a freelance writer or have writing skills, online businesses or business owners may be able to hire you to write ads or blog posts about a specific subject to earn money. Market research and online blog posts are a great side hustle for anyone who is technologically skilled! Be sure you are looking at survey sites for errors and verify they are legitimate before you give them any personal information!

Earn Free Gift Cards:

You're probably thinking yeah right, there is no way I can earn free gift cards. That's ok I was skeptic too, until my mom was like no this works! I mean who is going to tell mom she is wrong?

fetch rewards

All you need to do is download the Fetch Rewards app and enter the code: EF9PC and scan any grocery, hardware store, pet store or gas receipt within 7 days and you will get a bonus of 2,000 points. Grocery receipts can be up to 14 days old. You will get points for every receipt you scan and bonus points for certain brands. Then you can redeem those points for FREE gift cards like Amazon, Walmart, CVS and many more! As you can see I have enough points in my account right now to redeem for a FREE $50 gift card!

On ConsumerQueen.com, we offer coupons and discounts to help you save on a number of things. Visit our Simple Savings page regularly to score some amazing deals.

In conclusion:

There are a lot of ways you can earn money and save, or earn money to afford college related costs while you're in school. Be creative, and always be on the lookout for a great opportunity to earn extra money. Thanks For Reading!

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