Whether you didn’t go out of your way to make any money this semester or you just didn’t save the money you already had very well (even though there are so many smartphone apps that you could use to help you do so!), there’s a good possibility that your bank account isn’t looking quite as plump as you’d like it to. Don’t fret! If you’re not able to go away somewhere warm and sunny with your friends over spring break, here are a few super easy ways that you can fill up your wallet while you’re home over your mid-semester vacation instead.
1. Get on eBay
There’s a good chance that when you put together all of the stuff you have in your dorm and all of the stuff you have at home, you’ve somehow managed to accumulate a lot of things you don’t need. Instead of letting that stuff collect dust under your bed or stay shoved in the back of your closet, you could sell it on eBay like Bentley junior Christina Scandole. “I sell clothing, so jeans, shirts, skirts, dresses, et cetera,” Christina says. “Between my mom, myself and my sister, we have tons of clothes that we don't want or that don’t fit.” You could sell items like this at a lower cost than retail stores—maybe pricing a pair of Abercrombie & Fitch jeans at $15 when they would cost $40 at the mall—to make money off of them instead of leaving them untouched in your dresser drawer.
All that you have to do is pull out all of the old clothing that you don’t want, take a few pictures, then upload the photos you take onto eBay for auction (or you can list it as “Buy It Now”—eBay’s Learning Center explains how the whole process works).
“If you list an item as an auction, the shortest amount of time it can be set for is three days, then five, seven, and 10 days,” Christina explained. “Seven days is the ideal because it will give an opportunity for more people to see the item and bid, but three days is also totally fine as well.” If you put an item up for auction for 10 days, however, it could get overlooked as newer items take its place in the “Recently Added” section. If you try to sell a pair of old jeans, if they go to the “Women’s Jeans” section of the website, your item won’t likely show up in the forefront of the results page if it was added 10 days ago.
However, the advantage here is that people go on eBay knowing exactly what they’re looking for. If they go into their search knowing that they want a pair of American Eagle jeans specifically, they’ll type it into the search bar, and since your item is labeled relevantly, it will be one of the first things to pop up!
2. Host a Yard Sale
If you’d rather sell your stuff the old-fashioned way, you can host a yard sale! Tell your parents and siblings that you’re planning to hold one so that they can dig out the things they don’t want anymore to put them up for sale as well. Hang up flyers around town advertising the date of your sale, then post an ad for the sale on craigslist or in your local newspaper, and spend the day watching people happily walk away with all of the things you don’t want (and watching your piggy bank fill up!).
Selling your old toys, accessories, furniture, bedding, sports equipment and any other odd things you can find around your house is easier in a yard sale setting than online, because people can examine the item themselves or try them out. People might not go into a yard sale setting looking for something specific like they would online, which could also help you sell stuff like a used board game that would catch someone’s eye.
3. Help With Spring Cleaning
Once springtime rolls around, people tend to realize that they’ve got some serious cleaning to do around their house. Why not take the job off of their hands? You could easily make $8 to $10 an hour, and people would be so grateful to have the job done while they’re out running other errands they need to do.
Once again, you can hang up flyers around town advertising your services, or you can post an ad on craigslist or in your local newspaper. You could even walk around your neighborhood knocking on people’s doors and asking if they’d be interested in hiring someone to do their spring cleaning. You’d get a few enthusiastic responses, for sure!
4. Chauffeur Your Classmates
This is probably the easiest way to get some extra cash over the break, and it doesn’t require much effort on your part if you have a car. Simply offer to drive your classmates home or to the airport for cash! If you have a car at school and you’re planning on driving home for the break, offer to drive home other students who live in your area, or offer rides to the local airport.
Some schools even have a forum for these kinds of offers. Katie Blitz, a sophomore at Penn State, joined Penn State’s “PSU Share-a-Ride” Facebook group along with hundreds of other Penn State students in order to find rides back home to New York over holiday breaks at school.
“I just go on the page and see if anyone’s offering to drive back toward Staten Island,” she says. “I really enjoyed the ride with the last girl who drove me, and we ended up becoming friends on Facebook. Now she drives me home like every other time I go back!”
See if your school has a ride sharing website or Facebook group, post that you’re willing to help out and score some extra cash for your chauffer services!
If your college’s spring break coincides with the local public school’s spring break in your hometown, chances are you could make bank offering to watch your neighbors’ children over the break. Since their parents probably still have to work, they’ll be more than grateful to offer you some cash in exchange for childcare.
You can register for a website like SitterCity, where parents can seek babysitters in their area to contact for child care. You could also put up flyers around town advertising your services, whether you hang them on telephone poles or on the bulletin boards of local businesses in your area.
If enough parents are interested in your services, you could even ask your parents if you could host a “camp” at your house with a few of your other friends who are home from college, and you could all make a few bucks while the kids have fun playing together!
6. Check In With Your Summer Boss
If you worked somewhere local over the summer, give your boss a call before you come home for the break and ask if they could use some extra help for a week while you’re home. Not only could this help you score some extra cash, but if you’re still struggling on the job or internship hunt for this summer, generously offering your services over a week when you could be island-hopping puts you in a great position to ask your former boss for a recommendation you can share with prospective employers! This could also help solidify your plan B, just in case you end up staying home for the summer. It never hurts to have a backup plan, right?
That’s Penn State junior Kate Leidel’s plan over the break. “I waitressed at an Italian restaurant at home over the summer, and I know that until the summer begins again, they’ll be short on workers,” she says. “So I might as well pick up the shifts they need covered over the break. They get some hands on deck; I get some cash in my pocket. It’s a win-win.”
7. Work for Your Parents
Tell your parents that you’re looking to make some extra money over the break, and offer to help them with any chores or odd jobs they may need done around the house. Maybe your mom has been dying to organize the Tupperware cupboard or your dad hasn’t gotten around to cleaning out the garage—whatever the case, they’re probably too busy to get to all of the tasks that they wish they could accomplish, and would likely be more than happy to offer you compensation in exchange for crossing some things off of their never-ending To Do lists.
8. Tweet Yourself Rich
You read that right! Just by offering up your Twitter account for advertising purposes, you could put some extra cash in your pocket. All you have to do is go to a website like Sponsored Tweets and click “Sign Up as a Tweeter”.
Basically, all you’re doing is charging sponsors for communicating their advertisements to all of your followers. You set the amount you want to get paid per tweet, pick a category, and choose the keywords you want to work with. Then wait for the advertisers to contact you and take you up on the offer! You get to choose how you word the tweet, or whether you want to tweet it at all, so you’re still in total control of your account (you’re just now also making money off of that account!).
9. Sell Your Body (or Mind) for Science!
There are constantly studies going on to research different diseases, the effects of newly engineered medicines, or simply to better learn how things work within the human brain. Those conducting these studies are often so eager for participants that they offer compensation for the chance to test your mind or body.
Check out a (government sponsored, so you know it’s legitimate) clinical trial website to see what kind of medical or psychological tests are seeking participants in your area. You could easily make $10 an hour just for answering some questions for a psych study. Plus, you’re helping someone complete their research, so really you’re doing them a favor and getting paid for it!
10. Cut Off Your Hair
If anyone’s ever told you what beautiful tresses you have, there’s a chance that you could make some good money off of them. If you have long, “virgin” hair (which means you haven’t dyed it or applied any other chemical treatment to it), you could make a pretty penny selling it to be used to make wigs and extensions when you stop by your local hairdresser at home.
Using a website like OnlineHairAffair you could make between $100 and thousands of dollars selling your hair (although you will have to pay $15 to post your listing for three months). If you head to World of Wigs, they’ll pay you $3 to $5 for each ounce of your hair as long as it’s at least a foot long and meets the qualifications listed on their site. Pixie cuts are super in right now, anyway!
Whether you do something traditional like babysitting or hosting a yard sale or you try something more creative like tweeting advertisements or selling hair, you have the chance to earn some serious dough this spring break. Use the opportunity to your advantage! Then, when your friends start telling all of their wildest Cancun stories once they get back to school, you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that you filled up your bank account instead of draining it this vacation.