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Fast Cash Ideas for the Perpetually Broke College Student

dogwalkerMaybe there is a big sorority party this weekend and you simply must have something new to wear.  Or maybe all the guys on your dorm floor are going camping and you need to pitch in for gas and supplies.  Or maybe you are in a constant state of need-more-money.

If any of these scenarios sound like you, you probably want to know about some fast cash options.  Not every college student is able to manage a part-time job.  Sometimes, there just isn’t enough time in the day.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to get a little – or a lot – of money fairly quickly.  And depending on your success level, some of these options could potentially turn into a part-time job – one where you are your own boss.

Be a Guinea Pig

All around you, there are people who are conducting research, analyzing cause and effect, and conducting experiments.  You are, after all, at a college!  Get in on that action.

Volunteer to be a study participant.  Ask your professor or advisor for possible contacts.  Check with the administrators in the psychology department.  See if your student services center has a listing of the studies going on around campus.  Check school job boards.

If all else fails, do a search for “paid medical studies.”  See if there are any medical companies or cosmetic developers in the area who need assistance.

Give of Yourself

Oh plasma donation, how I love you!  I survived my freshman year of college on plasma donation.  Twice a week, I plopped myself down in a chair and donated my plasma.  Afterwards, I was “compensated for my time” – $25 a pop!

Yes, you do have to submit to a (free) medical examination once a year.  And each time you donate, you have to answer certain health questions and get your finger pricked.  But then, for an uninterrupted hour and a half, you can study, read, watch TV, or sleep.

Plus, and maybe I should have mention this first, you can help save lives!  Check with to see if there is a donation center near you.

Share Your Talents

Right now, as your brain is getting a routine beating from your professors and finals week leaves you feeling like a failure, you may find it hard to believe you have any talents or skills worthy of sharing.

Fortunately, that just isn’t true!  You have lots of great skills.  And those skills can earn you money.  For example, you could…

  • Preform.  See if any of the local bars or restaurants are looking for live music.  Invite all your friends to come out and watch the show.  In addition to your pay check and a night with your buddies, you’ll probably get some free food and drinks out of the deal.
  • Give lessons.  You might have hated those piano lessons when you were a kid, but they will come in handy now.  Hang some posters around campus.  See how many students you can get to sign up.  Check with the dorms.  Many of the public rec rooms or parlors have pianos just sitting there.  Or, see if the school’s music department will let you “rent” a piano for a few hours.  Churches usually sit empty during the weekdays; see if you can borrow their quiet sanctuary a few times per week.
  • Tutor fellow students.  Once you have mastered a subject, turn around and help the next batch of suckers.  Check with the student services center.  There are usually tutoring opportunities available in just about every subject.
  • Converse with others.  Most colleges have a very large international population.  For these students, English is usually a second language.  Sign up to be a conversation partner.  Meet up with someone a few times a week and simply converse for an hour – help your partner practice his or her English.  It isn’t difficult, you’ll make some good money, and you’ll be helping a fellow student.  Again, check with your student services center.
  • Make and sell stuff.  If you are good with a sewing machine or knitting needles, you can probably make a small fortune selling stuff on Etsy.  Or, if you can swing a hammer, you’re in luck too.  Either way, find a craft project that appeals to the masses and then get to work.  My friend went back home for a weekend, used his dad’s woodworking shop, make 10 sets of cornhole boards, brought them back to the dorms and sold them all in the first week.  Every college student loves cornhole; boards were the perfect thing to make and sell for a profit.

Start Your Own Business

Freelancing is all the rage these days.  Basically, you can launch your own business and work for clients all over the world – right from your dorm room.

You can choose which projects you want to complete and when you want to work.  Why is this ideal for college students?  Try asking for the day off from a part-time job on the day of the big game.  Or, fight all the other college students employed at the same company for time off work during finals week.

If you are your own boss, you can simply say no to clients who want jobs done during those busy/I’d-rather-be-somewhere-else times.

Plus, as a freelancer, you can do just about anything.  If, for example, you have website design skills, you can easily find clients.  However, if your skill set is less technical, there is still something for you.  For example, apply for a job as a virtual assistant.  Work for any company from anywhere in the world; answering phone calls and sending emails can be done from anywhere.

What is the best part of freelancing?  You immediately have job opportunities after graduation.  I planned to work temporarily as a freelancer until I could find a “real” job.  But guess what.  I never did.  I loved freelancing so much I never even bothered to enter the 9-5 rat-race!

If you’re interested in launching a freelancing career, check out this article; it tells you everything you need to know.

What did you think of my fast cash ideas?  If you have any other suggestions, let us know.  Everyone has uttered the phrase, “I need more money;” help us all when we get in those financial binds.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Jessica Velasco. She was a poor college student who is now a well-off freelance writer.  During her years at university, she put many of these fast-cash options to work.  Perhaps her favorite idea is making and selling cornhole boards.  She now works for Custom Corntoss, a supplier of custom cornhole bags and boards.  On a daily basis, Jessica witnesses first-hand what a great money making idea cornhole is.

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