10 Unexpected Ways for Students to Pick Up Extra Money

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School isn't just expensive—it’s also time-consuming. For students with a full course load, working an eight-hour job might not be a feasible option. Fortunately, there are a few other ways to make extra money on the side, and these options go beyond your traditional babysitting and bartending gigs. Here are a few side jobs worth investigating, many of which can be done from the comfort of your own home.


If babysitting isn’t your cup of tea but fur babies are, you can turn your love of animals into a lucrative side job. There are plenty of online platforms that will set you up with pet-sitting gigs, some of which can pay over $50 for spending an evening with Spot.


It may not be the most thrilling job in the world, but it’s a surefire way to make some money at home on Sunday mornings. These jobs typically involve manually transferring data from a print source or computer file to a spreadsheet, and statistics show the average pay is about $15 per hour. Freelance data entry gigs are often posted in online want ads, so peruse your local listings to find an opportunity.


If you’re strategic about it, you can get paid simply for sharing your thoughts with companies and answering a few biographical questions. If you do your research, you’ll find that plenty of reliable outlets will let you earn hard cash for filling out questionnaires. Focus groups are another route worth investigating. These, too, pay you for providing feedback on products, and some companies arrange online focus groups, so you'll never have to leave your couch.


You may not have finished your degree yet, but you have valuable skills and knowledge that you can share with other students. Tutoring opportunities for local elementary and high school students will likely be easy to find on local job listings and classified ads. If you’d rather work from the comfort of your dorm room, there are online tutoring services that will match you up with students. These digital opportunities can pay $10-20 an hour.


Freelancing isn’t just for writers and photographers anymore. Type “freelance websites” into any search engine and you’ll be flooded with results. If you have a skill or hobby, there’s a good chance someone wants to pay you for it, whether it’s setting up someone’s online dating profile, helping another student translate their German homework, or making customized birthday greeting videos.


If you’re going away for college and don’t plan on taking your car with you, this is an easy way to earn some passive income. Some apps will let you rent out your vehicle to people in your area while giving you the freedom to set your own rates. Don’t worry: The companies screen for safe drivers and insure your car each time someone takes it for a spin.


It can be challenging to find time to hit the gym when you’re juggling a full course load. If you’re really passionate about yoga, spinning, or a similar activity, though, you may be able to turn your workouts into paying gigs. Gyms and studios are often looking for instructors who can take on a class or two. If you’re knowledgeable and confident enough to lead a group through a workout, you can leave the gym with some extra money in your pocket.


This is another one of those jobs that can be done from home with very little effort. If you are a quick and accurate typist, this gig would be a cinch. Simply listen to videos or audio recordings and type what you hear into a document. Rates can start at about $20 an hour. A quick Web search will likely turn up many options for services that are looking to hire aspiring transcriptionists, so you can find the opportunity that’s right for you.


Businesses sometimes hire people to serve as “mystery shoppers.” The task varies from company to company, but you will most likely be sent to specific stores and be told what to purchase and what to say. For example, you may be told to ask specific questions at a retail outlet, or you may be asked to buy something and then immediately return it. After you’re done, you write up a narrative of your interaction or experience and send it off to the company.


If you have a knack for photography, you may want to consider selling your photographs to a stock photo agency. You’ll receive royalties each time your photos are downloaded, which could potentially provide a steady stream of income without you ever having to lift a finger.

Finances are key when going away to school, and Discover’s Student Card can help as well. With Cashback Match from Discover, they automatically match all the cashback new card members earn at the end of their first year, dollar for dollar. Learn more at Discover.