Image from Flickr.

Image from Flickr.

College is demanding, in a multitude of ways. It can take academic, mental, social, and financial tolls on your person. Whatever the circumstances, I am sure that you always find some time to yourself, whether that be fifteen minutes away from your homework or hours binge-watching programs on Netflix. You would not be a true college student if you were opposed to earning extra cash to spend on yourself. We’re all strapped for cash, to some degree or another. You could profit from just a few moments of your free time and it is completely worth it, so here are some ways you can make your college experience a bit more fun and affordable!

Market Yourself

I would like to consider this the best way to spend your downtime doing what you love and earning some extra funds. Most college campuses have a student-run “Free & For Sale” Facebook page, which is pretty self-explanatory. It’s like a safer and more lucrative version of Craigslist, if you ask me. You could market almost any skill or hobby you may have by simply offering your services to the college community.

Love photography? You could offer to take headshots for LinkedIn profiles for $5. If it’s graduation season, you could offer a cheaper rate than professionals for photoshoots! Have you ever been told that you give effective constructive criticism in papers? Well you can offer to edit other students’ essays for a fair price! Love crocheting or knitting? You could put your creations up for sale in a much more direct way than if you did on Etsy. The possibilities are absolutely endless. From guitar lessons to drawing greeting cards, you are bound to find a market for your talents that’ll ease your academic stress and financial worries! You could manipulate this for further benefit and build your portfolios and resumes! If you even remotely have something you think you could offer to the community, try it! Who knows? Maybe you’ll start your own business and grow in complexity!

Focus Groups

Ever walk through campus or sit through lecture not giving a second thought to what those flyers have to offer? They’re probably no more than a waste of paper, right? Turns out that if you actually bother to read the thing for once, you could earn some decent amounts of money to add to your weekend piggy bank!

Your campus’ health clinic, psychology department, or even just undergraduate and graduate student(s) is always looking for participants in their research. You could easily make fifteen dollars an hour by letting people watch you do a couple simple tasks or sleep for a couple hours. That last part sounds a bit creepy, but if it seems to be a legitimate study then you probably have nothing to worry about! You can pick which qualifying focus groups you not only feel most comfortable, but also have time for partaking in.

Online Rewards Sites

If you’re going to take a study break, you could profit from actively participating in online rewards programs such as or You accrue points by simply filling out surveys, searching the web, or watching random advertisements that you can exchange for gift cards for various restaurants and retailers or direct money through PayPal. I can attest to SwagBucks’ program as I have earned over $400 in Amazon gift cards by essentially doing nothing.

Whenever I had some downtime, I would be clicking through the site, completing offers and tasks in order to accumulate enough points for a payout. I understand if you still feel skeptical about it since I know I was until my first redemption. Why would companies want to give out money for free? There is never a free lunch to anything! It actually isn’t free if you think of it in the sense that you are trading your input and work for pay! Don’t knock it until you try it!

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the author

Kelly is a sophomore studying Microbial Biology and Business Administration at the superCALifragilisticexpialidocious University of California, Berkeley. Much of her free time involves Miranda Sings impressions, puns, the woods, concerts, and Netflix. Also food. Always food. Food is bae.

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