11 Ways to Make Money in College and Beyond Without a Job

I know how hard it is trying to balance being a full-time student with a job. And as much as most of us would prefer not to have to work during this time in our lives, the reality is bills still need to get paid, food needs to get put on the table and you also have to consider how you’re going to eventually pay off your student loans.

This list will show you how you can make money in college without a job, at least in the traditional sense.

These are things that anyone can do while they’re in college to earn extra cash. It’s also completely relevant for those post grad students who haven’t yet found their first job after college. The job market can be tough and recent grads, and if it takes you months to find a good job at least you have some extra revenue sources to fall back on.

The great part about each one of these is that they allow you to create your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want!

Download phone apps that pay

These days there are so many different apps that actually pay or reward you to do different things! Typically these apps will pay out in gift cards to places like Amazon, Target or Walmart. But also many offer direct payments or PayPal cash.

These definitely aren’t a way to earn much extra money, but the plus side is they’re pretty easy and mindless.

Here are some examples:

Achievement – pays you to walk!
Dosh – Rewards you for shopping
Swagbucks – rewards for searching the web, shopping, surveys, games and a lot more!

Sell your stuff on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or other local buy and sell sites

This is a great way to earn fast cash, especially if you have a lot of extra clutter around your house or dorm that you don’t really need anymore. If it’s an electronic like an old phone, smart watch or laptop that is even better because those sell fast and you can make some decent spending cash this way.

Tip: Certain things are going to sell faster than others though, and things like clothes and “junk” don’t necessarily sell well. Electronics, baby stuff, furniture, appliances all sell well on these buy and sell sites and apps.

Related: Check out these alternatives to Craigslist to sell your used stuff online

Sell on Ebay

Pretty much everyone knows about Ebay these days, but most people don’t think to try and make extra money by selling stuff there. It actually isn’t all that difficult, and you can sell as much or little as you want.

It can be an additional way to get rid of stuff you no longer want, or it can be a full time income if you can find stuff to sell on a regular basis.

Tip: Ebay is where all your “junk” might be a better bet to try and sell. Since your potential buyers aren’t just limited to your immediate geographical area you will be more likely to reach the people who are into really specific things.

Related: Check out this guide to getting started selling on Ebay

Open a shop on Etsy

Etsy is the go to place for unique and handmade items, so if you’re crafty or an artist you can sell all sorts of things – jewelry, custom t-shirts, purses, art prints, baby toys even party supplies. (And much more)

Related: 7 Steps to a Successful Start on Etsy

Become a personal shopper

You can get paid to shop and deliver groceries with a company called Shipt. They work with select participating grocery chains and so aren’t available everywhere, but you can check their location map with your zip code to see if anywhere near you offers this service and is hiring.

Shipt claims most of their drivers get paid $15 – $25 per hour, but it will vary depending on a lot of factors. You are paid a base $5 per delivery, a % of the grocery bill plus tips.

It’s also an independent contractor position, so you aren’t an actual employee. This means no benefits or guaranteed pay – but you can make your own schedule so that is a huge plus, especially if you are trying to work around being a full time college student!

Biggest complaints of Shipt shoppers are dealing with rude/unsatisfied customers and getting fired for low star ratings, even if it wasn’t justified.

Start driving with Uber or Lyft

If you like to drive, you can turn your car into a personal taxi with companies like Uber and Lyft. These are independent contractor positions so while you can create your own schedule, you aren’t guaranteed a certain pay, there’s no benefits and you are responsible for your own taxes.

Neither Uber or Lyft have official claims of how much their drivers make – they just state the more you drive, the more you can earn.

Additional expenses to consider are the increased wear and tear on your car and gas as these can deduct a considerable amount from your paycheck.

Nevertheless, it’s still something to consider if you just need some extra cash.

You can fill out your application here.

Become an Amazon Affiliate


Did you know that you can get paid to promote products from Amazon? You get a commission percentage of each sale made through your unique link if you sign up for their affiliate program.

You’ll need to have a well put together website for them to accept you, and you need to make at least 1 sale in 90 days or you can get kicked out of the program (but can always re-apply).

Of course it’s not as easy as it sounds, but if you know the proper way to implement an Amazon niche site you can make a lot of money doing it!

Related: Read my full review of the Amazon Associates program here

Start a YouTube Channel

Whether you want to start a makeup channel or review snack food (and everything in between) you can actually start regularly uploading videos, build up your subscriber base and earn money with YouTube’s Partner program.

There’s even people who have created full channels all about showing people how to make unique mixed alcoholic drinks!

Tip: Recent changes to their partner program have made it increasingly difficult for up and coming channels to be able to monetize directly within YouTube. However if you create your own website, you can learn how to monetize that and link your subscribers back to your site. This is an excellent way to make money with your traffic without being subject to YouTube’s rules.

Related: Learn how to create your own website and start a following using YouTube

Become a Freelancer

Freelancing can be a decent way to make some money whether you’re currently a college student or even post grad – you can use it for extra side cash or create a full time income.

If you have any skills or experience with things like writing, graphic design, website building, (or many more) you can get paid to do independent projects through Freelance sites such as Upwork or Freelancer.

Sell your unique talent on Fiverr

Think of any talents you may have and try to earn some extra cash by selling them with Fiverr! The whole idea behind the site is for people to be able to purchase cheap outsourced tasks for $5 – but you can create higher priced services, and it’s easy to get paid much more per gig if you offer upsells.

If you’re good at photography, photoshop, writing, or even gaming you might have a money making opportunity within Fiverr! It might be hard to establish yourself, so you’ll have to work hard and stand out from the rest of the services being offered within the platform.

Explore Fiverr Here

Start a blog

This is a really great way to start a sustainable business online. If you have a hobby or passion, you can create a blog within a particular niche and get paid to do what you love.

Of course many people who attempt to blog make next to nothing, but if you follow proper training methods you can learn how to actually gain a following and monetize your site.

Note: This is not a great way to earn extra cash right now, but rather a long term strategy that can earn you a full-time income down the line. You can start learning how to do this in conjunction with some of the other suggestions offered on this page to supplement your living in the meantime. It can be a great additional income stream down the line, even after you have graduated and have a job!

Related: Read up on my top recommendation for learning how make money blogging

While some of these are great ways to earn some quick extra cash, others are more long term options that can continue making you money long after college. With this economy and the ever increasing tution cost, it can be helpful to have additional income streams even when you do land your first job after graduation!

Do you have any additional ways to make money in college, or while looking for a job after graduation? Do you have any experiences with the companies or gigs on this list? Your thoughts are always appreciated!

About the Author Wendy

Wife, Mother, Entrepreneur. I've been making money online for the past 5 years with online marketing and blogging, and I love helping others learn to do the same. You can read my full story here

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15 comments
Weston says

Great article! I wish I could’ve read this when I was in college. Like you said, it was difficult balancing school and work. Even making a couple hundred extra dollars a month would help any student. Having the options we have now are so nice for college students, especially all the opportunities online. My personal favorite that you mentioned is becoming an Amazon Affiliate. If done right, a student has the potential to make a lot off of commissions.

I will pass your article along to some of my friends that are still in college. This will really help them come up with other ideas for extra money besides getting a job.

Thank you!

Weston

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Deanna Martin says

Enjoyed your article. Very good guidance on what students can do to earn money when in school. Especially the courses where you set your own timeline. Working online is such a good way to work when you have a busy college schedule. I bet many students have never heard of these positions.Keep up the good advice, Deanna

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Ed says

Hi Wendy,
Wonderful post on ways to make money in college without a job.
The suggestions you make are all great not only for college students but also retired folks like myself. In fact, even more advantageous for us because we tend to have more time than college students.However, we also need extra money. Our costs rise all the time but not our fixed retirement income.
Thanks for all the recommendations, I’ll be looking into some of them.
Ed

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Kristen Zins says

I like your site, however, I find it to be just a bit misleading with regards to making money while in college. Your title seems to be very simple and straightforward, but your 11 ways to earn are not so simple. They do not seem to be something a struggling college student can put together in a weekend to make their pizza money.
Good info, but just a little more complex than I expected.

Kris

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    Wendy says

    Hi Kris

    I’m sorry if you found it misleading, that wasn’t my intention. These are all things any college kid is capable and qualified to do, and they are all flexible and will allow students to work on their own schedule and time. Some of the options are pretty straight forward and you can start earning money quickly, while others may be more involved and take some time. All in all, I think they’re legitimate options.

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WomensGlobalVA says

These are some great ideas. As a college student I did all of these personally. Currently, as a stay at home mom, I now do freelancing which is my primary source of income. I think freelancing is a great option for college students because it gives them work experience and they can always apply that on a resume in the future and they will have references to back them up.

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    Wendy says

    Yeah freelancing is definitely a great gig for college kids if they have certain skills. I never did this when I was in college and to be honest the thought didn’t even cross my mind!

    Reply
Leah Vanier says

Great post! I have been looking for legit ways to make some extra cash online, but there are so many scams out there it is hard to know what you can trust. A lot of these are things that I never even thought about before. I will definitely be checking out my options on this list right away!

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Gomer Magtibay says

When I was just 20 years old, I thought of working as a taxi driver to earn money so I can pay for my tuition fees. I underestimated that job and I thought it’s so easy to perform the work of a taxi driver. I was wrong… because, not only hard but also risky.

For anyone looking for a way to make money, the best option in your list here is to start a blog. I said this because, with just a computer and an internet connection, one can get started easily, and there’s no risk for your life as compared to being a driver of Uber or taxi.

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    Wendy says

    Thanks for the insight, you are right… being a driver for Uber or Lyft definitely comes with potential risks. Letting total strangers get in your car is a little scary!

    Reply
Dave says

Hey there,

I’m in college and have been looking for a reliable way to make money online to help meets my needs while in college, and I have to say thank you for the options.

I will definitely not go with YouTube videos because I am shy and because I feel this technique has become too common.

Starting s blog sounds like a good plan. It’s actaully better than the others, right?

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    Wendy says

    I wouldn’t say YouTube is any more common than people starting a blog, people do both every day. But the key is to learn how to actually turn it into something profitable, which the majority of people will struggle with. Starting a blog is definitely better in certain ways, especially considering it gives you the potential to create a more passive income source, one that can be sustained for the long term with a little effort and can be used as an additional source of revenue even long after college. 

    Reply
SJ says

Hi Wendy

This is a great post and one I’m going to share with my cousin who is just in her final year of college.

The days of a secure job straight out of college are gone and with lots of student debt, college students these days need to look outside the traditional arenas to make money.

Great article!

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    Wendy says

    Thanks! Hopefully it can help your cousin find some ways to make extra money if she needs!

    Reply
Himbru says

Great ways to earn money while studying. These ways you have mentioned are really great for college students and can carried on without hampering study. Out of all these I like affiliate marketing and blogging as best ways.
Keep informing us this type of ways in future also
Thank you very much.

Reply
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