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Get By without Getting a Job: Alternative Income Sources

Get By without Getting a Job: Alternative Income Sources

Alternative income sources for students on a tight budget.

By Chris Diehl

You could use a few extra dollars but you’d like to avoid punching a clock or calling home. Maybe one of these unique tactics can be a source of income for you.

Surveys and Experiments. Students and professors doing research in the psychology or behavioral studies department sometimes need participants for surveys and experiments and are willing to pay. Amounts vary widely by school, but generally you can expect to collect between $5 and $30. Check with your school’s psychology or behavioral studies departments for opportunities. Friends in those majors may also know about openings not publicized.

Focus Groups. Find local market research companies and ask to register as a possible focus group participant. You could make a few dollars in exchange for offering your opinion about a new ad campaign or sampling food.

Play to Your Strengths. Offer to edit papers or provide tutoring for a course you already had success in. If you’re a tech whiz, offer to fix buggy computers. Musically inclined? Set up shop on a busy street corner (check local laws first) or in a coffee shop and pass the hat.

Reffing. Check campus intramural sports leagues or local youth leagues. A few games won’t take much time and may have the added benefit of a good workout.

Plasma Donation. Consult your physician first; if you’re cleared you might be paid $15 to $30 (or more) for each donation. Generally, you are allowed to donate up to two or three times per week. BloodBanker.com lists places in the U.S. where you can donate.

Sell Off Some Stuff. The Web is a great place to sell things. Craigslist, eBay and Amazon are just a few of the places where you can sell personal items. Do you have consumer goods that you don’t use, need or want? Sell them online and get cash back. Sports equipment, CDs, stereos, computers, video games, appliances, furniture, clothing — there’s a market online for all of it. Also check consignment or secondhand shops, they may be willing to buy your used stuff.


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