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3 Wacky Ways to Make Money in College

By on Dec 27, 2012 in Extra Cash | 12 comments

College girl holding money in her handThe student loan crisis has been in the media frequently. While some students do waste money in college, a large number who take out hefty student loans do so because they need that money to pay for the basics like tuition and room and board. That money often doesn’t stretch enough to cover things like entertainment and clothing. If you are a college student (or know one who is), don’t despair. There are plenty of ways you can make some extra cash without being obligated to work a part-time job every week.

Consider some of these options to make money in college:

#1 – Buy used textbooks and sell them

You may have seen the signs from other college students offering to sell their college textbooks at a price lower than you could buy at the overpriced book store. If the price is right, you could buy them and then use a site like to determine how much the books are worth and what company will offer you the most for your money. You could make $5 to $20 for every book you flip. Just make sure the books are in good condition and mark free inside to maximize the money you can make. Some students take this idea even further and buy textbooks on eBay or just for the purpose of reselling.

#2 – Sell yourself or your time

Of course, I mean sell yourself within reason. More specifically, sell your plasma at a  reputable facility. Giving plasma twice a week can earn you $40 to $80 depending on the location and your body size. Many college students do this; they simple study or watch a movie while donating. The entire process takes one to two hours. Another alternative is to look for research studies to participate in. Smart Money shares that one student participated in a university sleep study. In return for sleeping in a lab for two days and keeping a dream journal, she received $200. Not too bad.

#3 – Create a website asking for help

As more and more students find themselves deep in student loan debt, they create websites and blogs to document their journey (and ask for help). Joe Mihalic created a blog, No More Harvard Debt, to document his journey to get out of a lot of student loan debt quickly. Paying it off in less than two years gained him quite a bit of media attention, and I am guessing, money too. Likewise, Kelli Space graduated from Northwestern University with $200,000 in student loan debt. She set up the blog, to document her struggles to make the $800 a month payments and to unabashedly ask for donations. To date, she has received over $12,000 in donations. Student loans and financial aid may cover the basics of your college education, but if you are looking to generate a bit of extra money for living expenses, your choices are just limited by your imagination. Who would think complete strangers would donate money to help a woman pay down her student loan debt?

Kyle Taylor blogs about how he makes extra money in college at The Penny Hoarder. Check out his blog to get tons of ideas you’ve never thought of! Interested in writing a post for Well Kept Wallet? Check out our guest post guidelines.



  1. I worked full-time all throughout college, it was a great decision!


    December 27, 2012

    • I worked full-time for most of college as well. It definitely helped pay for college and allowed me to stop borrowing money to get through school.


      December 27, 2012

  2. I wish I had thought of textbook flipping when I was in college. It would have been a pretty easy way to make a few bucks each semester.

    Sean @ One Smart Dollar

    December 27, 2012

    • I wish I would have thought about that too. I do remember a couple of occasions, however, where I bought a textbook online and ended up selling it for more after the semester was over. Wish I could have done that every time :)


      December 27, 2012

  3. Another one can be applying for scholarships and/or grants. I had a friend in college who all he did was apply for numerous small grants and scholarships on his spare time and not only did it cover his college expenses, but also his home expenses AND have money left over to enjoy life.

    Karyn S

    December 27, 2012

  4. Kyle,
    Finding paying research studies is so easy in college. Psych departments usually have fliers all over the place. I found one that paid me to drink and then sober up in a living room environment. I found another one that gave me $100 to the university bookstore after I did three surveys in a six-month period. I put the $100 gift card toward holiday gifts.

    I also worked in college through the student aid program. All my jobs weren’t too stressful, paid above minimum wage and kept a flexible schedule with my classes. Plus I earned references on my resume.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

    Christian L.

    December 27, 2012

  5. I worked a lot of weird jobs in college and was a lab rat a couple of times (for placebo or real drug, I’ll never know!), and fortunately managed to graduate with savings. I wouldn’t ask for donations if I didn’t provide value to those people. No one has to pay my debt but me. If you are entertained by my blog and wish to contribute, that’s great but I wouldn’t ask bluntly for money. I haven’t read Kelli’s blog so this is not personal.


    December 27, 2012

  6. I never thought of flipping textbooks, that sounds like an interesting idea. I just heard about a friend of a friend who goes online and finds sites selling products for lower than market value and then selling them for a $20+ market.

    I don’t think selling plasma is wacky. I wouldn’t do it mainly because I heard it can be taxing on your body.

    DC @ Young Adult Money

    December 28, 2012

    • Hi,
      I am a college student and I found this website, for anyone that wants to make decent money working part-time, or more just from their computer with internet access. I have made pretty good money so far.


      March 24, 2013

      • How did you earn money part time on the internet?


        October 2, 2013

  7. I found a lot of good tutoring jobs through my college’s classified section. There are also some really good gigs grading papers/TA’ing as long as you have a chill professor. The professor I worked for let us log 10 hours a week even though we worked about 1-2 :) Hello budget deficit.

    Harry @ PF Pro

    January 7, 2013

  8. Hi,

    My name is Suzana Daniels and I am a financial writer by profession. I found your site (wellkeptwallet .com) very informative and I am quite interested to guest post an article on finance for your site which would be unique,informative and of great use to the visitors of your page .

    Hope you would give me an opportunity for the same and would also share your views on this.

    Many Thanks

    Suzana Daniels

    January 8, 2013

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