Summer’s end is (somewhat) in sight and your wallet is feeling slim. Sounds familiar, right? Whether you splurged one too many times on those adorable sundresses at Forever 21 or your car sucked up all your gas from trips to the beach, you’re searching every nook and cranny in your car for coins to buy coffee. Scrambling for cash isn’t any fun — and neither is starting the school year off broke. Luckily, we’ve found some last-minute ways for you to bulk up your wallet before going back to school (and to have some fun the rest of this summer).
Are you a math whiz or an expert English essayist? Even though you’re not back in the classroom just yet, put your skills to good use as a summer tutor. Not only will you be helping to boost a kid’s grades, but you’ll also be making your bank account happy (though we can’t guarantee the same response from your tutee!). Spread the word by advertising at kid-friendly places like day camps and the local ice cream shops. It also doesn’t hurt to place a small ad in your town paper or emailing over email neighborhood list-servs where you can post your information as well as your hourly rate, which is typically $10-15 an hour for college-aged tutors.
2. Party Assistant
Speaking of kids, don’t wish you could still be one for a day again? Good news: you can. Whether it’s dressing up as a clown, dabbling in face paint, refereeing games or supervising the Moon Bounce, parents always need an extra pair of hands at their kids’ summer birthday parties and sometimes, you get to join in on the fun too. Talk to your parents’ friends to let them know that you’re willing to help entertain. “Helping out at birthday parties and other neighborhood events not only is fun, but it’s an easy way for me to make money over the summer,” says recent Fairfield University graduate Colleen Wilson. “The more parties I do, the more other parents see me and ask if I’ll help them out too!” Cash in your pocket and cake? Say no more. Depending on how many kids there are and the tasks you have at hand, discuss prices beforehand with the parents.
3. Earn money for your photography
Are you the girl who always has the camera? If you’re already documenting life’s best moments on film, you may as well get paid for your hobby. What’s cool is that some companies and websites will pay you to take stock photos that they can use. Click, upload, send and the only thing you have left to do is wait for your paycheck. Start by checking out shutterstock.com, where the submission of photos can earn you anywhere from 25 cents to $75 per image upload.
4. Participate in clinical studies
Be a lab rat for a day! From taking surveys to testing products, psych and clinical studies can pay anywhere from $10 an hour to several hundred a study, depending on how much or a commitment the study is or how invasive it may be. Check Craigslist and local university websites for ads. Most studies will pay you in cash on the spot!
5. Consign your old clothes
Before you pack up your bags with your fall and winter clothes to head back to school, now is the perfect time to sort through your summer apparel. Too-small shorts? Tank tops that you haven’t worn since 2002? Toss ‘em in a bag and bring them to your local consignment shop. Here, your clothes are given a value and you are given money based on how much they’re worth. While each store varies and will keep 30 to even 80 percent of commissions, bring in something really good (like a pair of Seven jeans or a gently-used Coach purse), and you could walk away with a nice wad of cash on the spot (sometimes totaling a few hundred dollars)!
6. Have a yard sale
You’re already going through old clothes — why not sift through your garage and the rest of your closet, too? Summertime is the perfect time for a yard sale, so grab a Sharpie and start posting flyers around town. Get rid of the stuff you never use (like the snowshoes collecting dust in the garage). Don’t want to organize a yard sale? Make bank on eBay by setting up your own account and selling your things online — Linda Lightman, owner of Linda’s Stuff, which brings in millions of dollars each year, got started by selling video games on eBay! It’s easy, hassle-free and you’re guaranteed to make a few bucks — but beware of unwanted fees! You’ll be charged to list items and you’ll pay eBay every time your items sell.
7. Teach computer lessons
Wouldn’t it be cool if you got paid to teach someone how to use PowerPoint? Unlike our generation, our parents and grandparents didn’t grow up knowing how to use computers the way we did. Lucky for us, we can teach them. Believe it or not, some older folks will pay you to teach them the ropes from how to check their email to how to make a spreadsheet. “You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know basic computer skills,” says recent Emerson College graduate Michelle Golden. “I love doing and learning new things on programs like InDesign, so teaching it is just as fun.” Find clients by putting up signs at the library or your local senior center. Warning: go easy when introducing them to funny cat videos on YouTube. You might cause an addiction. Rate per hour varies depending upon your experience, but some individuals are willing to shell out $10 or more!
What are your tips for making money on the side? Share in the Comments section below!
Colleen Wilson, Fairfield University ‘11
Michelle Golden, Fairfield University ‘11