Turning Hobbies into Cash

College is full of shuffling between classes, writing papers, working, spending time with friends, and trying to find time to breath amongst the hustle and bustle. Trying to get in a decent amount of hours at work during the week while still trying to get in enough time to study can drive even the sanest person to the brink of insanity. And usually, the job really is not even something you like very much. If you are not stuck behind a greasy grill all day, you could be stuck stocking shelves at some big block store. Have you ever thought, “I wish there was a way I could do something I actually like?” Or maybe, “I wish I could do something that would make me more money, but take less time?” Well, I have good news for you! Every college kid has at least one hobby that can be made into a money maker with a little work. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

1) Write

Writing can be a huge money maker for students, especially students who are studying journalism or English. Newspaper, magazines, online blogs, and more all offer freelance writing jobs. Freelance means you are not on contract with the group, company, or organization and can write about whatever you want. You can also, however, take on a writing position in a company where you will be given assignments to write. Begin a successful blog! Once you have a loyal fan base, you can begin putting advertisements up. Every time a reader clicks the blog, you make money. Often times student newspapers on college campuses also pay for writers. Making money writing is all about how much you put into it. Plus, writing experience looks great on a resume. Writers can make anywhere from $5 to $15 dollars an article.

2) Babysitting

Do you like kids? Maybe want to own a daycare someday? Then babysitting is a great fit for you. Not only will you be gaining experience to build your resume, you will be making money. Babysitting allows you to set your own hours and your own hourly wage. Also, babysitting allows a lot of downtime, which means extra time to study or just relax. If you want to look like a real professional, take a babysitting course at your local Red Cross. This course will certify you in CPR, the use of an AED, or automatic external defibrillator, rescue breathing, and other lifesaving maneuvers that will make you look that much more appealing to any parent.

3) Crafts

Do you feel content with a needle and thread in your hand? Do you spend your free time picking out the best colors and designs for necklaces? If your passion is handmade crafts, then your passion has money value. Etsy.com is the perfect place to begin posting your crafting skills to sell to the public. EBay would also be an excellent source as well. If you are confident in your abilities as a crafter, put them to the test on Etsy or ebay. You can set your own prices and work up from there!

4) Tutor

Are you proficient in business calculus? Is sitting through Spanish class a walk in the park? Do you offer your helpful services to friends all the time? Then you may be just the help that someone needs. Better yet, you are help they are willing to pay for. Start advertising your skills and tutoring services and watch the academically in need flock to you. Schools often times will pay you to tutor for them as well. With tutoring, you are able to set your own prices either per hour, per session, or per day. Schools will usually pay minimum wage or slightly more. If you are good at what you do, your students will advertise for you by boasting about the A’s you helped them get!

5) Cooking or Catering

If you are a culinary or bakery student, or just someone who has proficient knowledge in the kitchen, cooking and catering would not only be a fun way to make some extra cash, but build your resume as well. Hold a taste testing party, offer free samples to local businesses, and send letters with your business card, price sheets, and menus. If they like what you do, you can expect calls as soon as a week later. Who knows? This could even become a future business venture. The opportunities are endless!

Hobbies can become opportunities with just a little time and effort. Opportunities that can make you money and can even make you a future career. Build your resume, build your bank account, and build onto your future goals. The opportunities are there, now go get them!

Party On!

Do you have any big parties coming up? Birthdays? Social Events? Anything?  Well, whether you have a reason or not, throwing a party is always a great way to get together with some friends and family. Parties are not always cheap, but with a few of these money friendly party ideas you will have some great inexpensive fun in no time!

1. Game night!

Be a kid again! You would be surprised at how much fun those old board games or other games can be.  Apples to Apples, Monopoly, video games, even hide and seek all bring back some good memories and a lot of fun with them.

2. Creativity Time.

A few friends of mine came up with this idea.  We got together with our old bikes, searched Craigslist for other bikes, and went to pawn shops and looked for bikes.  In other words, we had a lot of bikes.  Each of us then bought a can of glow in the dark paint. We spent the day together painting the bikes, and then went riding through downtown that night.    It only cost us about $25 each to buy the paint and get used (or our old) bikes. So come up with something creative!  It might not be as cool as our glow in the dark bike riding crew, but that’s just how we roll. Pun intended.

3. Cookie Trade Off

This is a good one for those with a sweet tooth.  Everyone who is invited to the party bakes enough cookies for each person to have at least 2. They then bring a copy of the recipe and everyone tries each other’s treats.  You not only satisfy that sweet tooth that you undoubtedly have but you add to your cookie repertoire.   How much will it cost you to bake a batch or 2 of cookies? Around $20, unless you pay attention to stores with good sales who do ad matching!

 

These are a few simple ideas that will get you started.  Do you have any ideas for awesome parties? Comment below and let’s hear ‘em!

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Are you searching for an apartment or place to live?  Do not let your pocketbook be the only thing that holds you back.  There are a few very important aspects that you need to remember when picking out a house or apartment that can end up saving you and your pocket book a little bit of stress.

1. Home Improvements

Does the house or apartment need some tender loving care? Or more like some major repairs?  Either way, hope is not lost.  Take a look at what you will have to spare after you buy the home or apartment. Will there be enough there to make the changes you want? Changes that will really make you happy with this place and make it a home? If yes, sign on the dotted line!  If no, do not stop the search quite yet.

2. Location, location, location

If you are a college student, think about public transportation, work, and class. How far away are you?  There is no such thing as too close but there is such thing as too far.  You do not want to overdo it on gas money, nor use all that time commuting to and from your desired location.  Think about it.

3. Go Green!

Take a look at the environmentally friendly aspects that the apartment already has or can easily be adapted to.  Not only is it good for the environment, but often times going green can also save you some green.  Solar panels? Expensive, but they eventually pay for themselves.

 

Just a couple things to think about ya’ll.  Do you have any tips that need to be shared? Let’s hear them! Comment below!

Just a Tip

Saving money is something we all struggle with from the young age of 16 to the adult age of 50.  After a little experimenting I have found a couple simple and easy ways to save money.  As a college student, these few methods are very simple and very do-able.

Bank Your Change

You may have heard of programs like this on television.  You use your card to make purchases and the bank rounds the purchase amount to the next dollar, putting the difference into the account of your choosing.  For me, the account my change is placed into is my CD account. When starting a CD account, you choose how long you wish to keep your CD untouched.  That means you will be forced to save money through saving your change.

The Jar Technique…

…otherwise known as the literal save your change technique.  I do not like to carry cash, but when I do I try to break it down to as much coin change as possible.  I think put it in an old mason jar and save it to a certain date or till the jar is full.  I also like to put my one and five dollar bills in the jar.  If I have something planned, like a dinner date with friends, a bowling night with family, a car wash, etc., I get the money in cash and put it in the jar as well so that I know I have it when I need it.  If you are like me and spend cash when you have it, the jar technique is an experiment you may want to invest in.

Savings jar
Even spare change put in a jar works for saving.

These are two small and simple ways to save money.  Whether you are a college student scrimping by for loan payments or an adult just trying to save a little pocket change, both these methods are worth your time.  Check them out and let me know how you do!

Rewarding to Shop

As a college student, I am always looking for ways to save money when buying the necessities.  After some major research and personal experience, I have compiled a list of stores that offer some awesome rewards programs. It pays to shop my friends, especially if you shop smart.  Take a look into these programs and give ‘em a try.

  • Target Red Card

This is, essentially, a credit card and if you are like me credit cards are a scary, scary thing.  But Target does have 2 options for their Red Card.  You can use it as is, a credit card, or connect it to your debit card, using it as your debit card when you shop their stores.  Either way you will receive 5% off your total every time you shop. Basically, just a pretty sweet deal all around.

  • Panera Bread

One of the most delicious soup, bread, and pastry restaurants I have ever gone to with an equally delicious rewards program. Just by scanning your card every time you come in, you receive free drinks and food! Free anything is fantastic, don’t ya think?

  • Hy-Vee Fuel Savers

If you are in the Midwest and anywhere near a Hy-Vee grocery store, you must be living under a rock if you have not heard of the Fuel Saver program.  Hy-Vee advertises that through purchasing certain items you can earn discounts towards gas that you can save for up to 30 days from the purchase date.  Costco and other large chain grocery stores participate in gas discount programs similar to this and are definitely worth checking out!

  • Student Advantage Card

This is a student credit card that gives you discounts on a ton of things; flights, hotels, textbooks, and clothing stores being amongst those things.  I have not used this program, but of the friends of mine who have, it has been a great success.

shopping discounts
Many stores offer shopping discount cards

These are just a few examples of programs that can help you save when you shop with them.  Do you know any store, restaurant, or company that offers a rewards program? Are they better than the ones I just listed? Oh yeah? Well, let me here ‘em! Email the store name and website to me including your name and home state to megan@investinged.com with the subject heading of Financial Ed!, and share the discounts!