Sweater from Talbot’s that Mom really wanted: $45.
Gas to drive 100 miles for Christmas with Grandma: $30.
Confetti, party hats, snacks and champagne for your New Year’s Eve party: $50.
Getting through the holiday season and still having enough cash to buy books for second semester?
As soon as the weather begins to turn cold, life suddenly seems to get more expensive. Between buying presents for friends and relatives, repairing your car after ice-related fender benders and paying for the occasional hot beverage to keep your toes from freezing off as you walk to class, it’s hard to keep cash in your wallet. And, with tests and homework to worry about, many MSU students don’t have a lot of time to earn extra cash. If picking up a second job as Santa’s elf at the mall doesn’t sound an ideal solution, here are a few, slightly less mortifying ways to earn some extra money this December.
One of the most popular ways to get extra cash quickly is by selling things that are cluttering up your closets. The eBay site has become increasingly popular among the college demographic and allmsu.com is full of local students trying to sell their old stuff. Even while just walking around campus, students encounter numerous signs for bikes, TVs, and couches for sale.
With the semester winding down, one of the easiest ways to make some extra money (without sacrificing that Looney Toons lunch box you are secretly holding on to) is to sell last semester’s books. However, the biggest mistake students make is selling their books back to the bookstore, where a seller might get $5 for a $45 book. Hospitality business junior Alana Baudo suggests selling books over the Internet, on Web sites like allmsu.com or Half.com, the textbook subsidiary of eBay. “I definitely suggest it,” Baudo said. “I’ve taken books back to the bookstore to sell them back, and they offered me $20 on a book I spent $90 on, and I took it and sold it on Half.com and got, I think, $60 or $70 for it. You really do make a lot more money than you would at the bookstore. It takes a little bit of time, because you have to do some searching online, but if you’re like me and buy your own books, you’d rather save $200 and waste two hours online.” In addition to selling books, Bauldo also suggests students buy all of the books for next semester online. This way, the cash earned from selling online doesn’t get immediately dumped back into bookstores’ hands. [mula1]
If you don’t have anything to sell online, another great way to increase your green is to sell your services. Any service is marketable, from making scarves to fixing cars, and a lot of students are willing to pay for services they can’t perform or don’t have time to do themselves. Telecommunications junior Bryan Nguyen uses his computer skills to earn money. He started offering his abilities on allmsu.com after he realized the computer center he worked at wasn’t meeting everyone’s needs. “I feel bad when we have to send the students to computer repair places, where they are forced to pay ridiculous hourly charges,” Nguyen said. “I feel that I can save the students money and make a little on the side as well.” Nguyen has just started this business and has had about five customers so far. He charges depending on how much work is needed. He hopes working on computers will not only make him some money, but will also prepare him for his future job, as he is studying to work with computers.
[martin2]For those who don’t have a specific skill to offer, there are many odd jobs that can turn into an easy way to earn extra cash. Business junior Jillian Seidl said she has made a significant amount of money responding to and placing ads on both allmsu.com and craigslist.com. She has received a variety of work through these sites, from making resumes to cleaning apartments. She also has earned money selling things online for others. Seidl said the easiest way to make cash is not to post your own ad, but respond to others. “I first would see a wanted ad that someone was looking for a particular service,” Seidl said. “Then if it worked out, I would place my own ad offering that same service to other people.”
Seidl constantly keeps her eyes out for money-making opportunities. “I responded to an ad to put up fliers for a company twice a month for $50 a month,” she said. Other than looking for fliers, Seidl said money-making opportunities are all over the Internet. “I’ve earned $80 by doing trials on the Internet at a Web site called inboxdollars.com,” she said. “I get paid anywhere from $1 to $10 to do a free trial with various companies, and do paid-to-read e-mails which are like $30 from hits4pay.com. Basically, I’m a sucker for those blinking ads that advertise get-rich-quick schemes.”
If you’d rather focus on one opportunity than many, becoming a home party consultant may be right for you. By selling products from their apartments and dorms, students can make a lot of money in a short amount of time without having to work around pre-determined hours. Pre-med senior Ashley Leonard has made a significant amount of money over the last two years doing at-home parties for Pure Romance, a company that sells bedroom toys and romance enhancement products. She got the idea to do it after she hosted a Pure Romance party with her roommates. “The consultant was telling me how much she makes and I started thinking, ‘Wow, I could really do this,'” Leonard said. “I like it a lot. I only work nights and I get to make my own hours, so if I have a test, I can schedule around it. You make good money.” [mula2]
Leonard said she makes about 40 percent of the profits from the parties, and each party usually sells about $500 worth of merchandise, although it depends on the party. Recently, Leonard hosted a party where she sold $800 to $900 worth of stuff in just a few hours and got three party bookings from people in attendance. Currently, she does two or three parties a week, but the hosts can do as many or few as they want. Leonard said this business is one that will always be popular. “People buy a lot of stuff. In our society, sexuality is a lot more out there [than it used to be], but yet people still are reserved,” Leonard said. “Since it’s only females [at the parties], people really open up and say [things] and buy [items] they would never feel comfortable buying otherwise.” [martin1]
She said working for Pure Romance is a great idea, even for those who are not very business-savvy, as long as they are comfortable with the topics discussed. “You will always have a job because not everyone is comfortable talking about sexuality,” Leonard said. “Only certain people can do it. If you can do it, you can make a lot of money. I am putting myself through college and I used to have to have three jobs. It was hard to schedule around all of them – now I can just do this.” Leonard said becoming a Pure Romance consultant is easy – just go to pureromance.com for more information.
Merchandising management junior Katrina Price also has learned home parties are a great way to make money through working as a consultant for make-up and accessory companies Avon and mark cosmetics for the past three years. Because Price doesn’t have a lot of time, she sells most of her products through her Web site or by sending magazines to her friends. She has done three mark cosmetics parties in the dorms as well. “It’s really simple because it’s not like an actual job where you have to think about what you’re doing,” said Price. “You can just send magazines to your friends or sell stuff from your room.”
Price keeps a lot of the products in her room as well and will occasionally bring them with her when she knows she is going to see a lot of people. She makes 40 percent commission on make-up and 25 percent commission on jewelry. She also can buy the products cheaper and sell them at full price. To get involved, a mark cosmetics training program is available online to teach how to use all the products and sell them. Afterward, the trainee must apply online. “I think it’s a good way for college students to make money,” Price said. “You can just have people go your Web site and buy from you; it’s really easy.” [mula3]
For the especially lackadaisical student looking for a job that doesn’t require any work at all, donating plasma might be for you. Not only will you be making money, but you will be helping people in need, as plasma donations are used for a variety of life-saving medical purposes. No-preference sophomore Lindsay Balgooyen, who has donated to bio-bank in Muskegon, says the process is relativity painless and simple. “After they put the needle in, you just sit there in a comfortable dentist-like chair and read magazines,” Balgooyen said. “You don’t feel anything during that.”
According to Balgooyen, most places pay $30 for the first time and $20 after that, but it depends on weight. She said the first visit can take up to three hours, because there are a lot of medical questionnaires to fill out, but after that, the visits only take about an hour. For Balgooyen, money was the main motivation in her decision to donate. “I did it because I’m a poor college student and it really is the easiest way to get money, next to taking back cans,” she said.
Whether making money selling sensual massage oils, fixing computers or being poked with needles, college students will do just about anything to feed their piggy banks. This December, try out some of these tips and maybe the holiday season won’t leave you penniless. With a break from school and time to catch up with friends and family, the holiday season should be a time that puts a smile on your face and doesn’t empty your wallet.
And, that’s really what’s priceless.
Sweater from Talbot’s that Mom really wanted: $45.