The Many Ways Students Can Make Money From Unwanted Items (Guest Post)

By Maja Tisma. 

Maja is a Graphic Designer with a passion for Frugal Living. She wants to help people to make their money go as far as possible, and does so with her website DailyProof.

As a student, it’s often difficult to fit any kind of employment around your studies. Even if you find a way, trying to make ends meet can seem pretty much impossible! Everyone knows that getting a job while at college or university can help your employability afterwards, but practicalities surrounding actually getting your degree must come first. How, then, should you best make some money to actually maintain your standard of living and get by?

First if all, it’s a good idea to get yourself into a habit of reading blogs and websites dedicated to the practice of frugal living. There are some great tips out there, and most aren’t at all time consuming. Not only are they great for providing you with ways to make money, websites such as Daily Proof and even your typical Social Networking sites can help you actually save money, too. From coupons to budgeting, there’s no point in shying away and looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Still stuck? Here’s a breakdown of the best ways to gain from stuff you already have:

Ebay/Amazon

Now, these ones are a bit of a given, but it just goes to show that tried and tested methods really work! Whether you’ve got some old clothes flung at the bottom of your wardrobe, or some antiques handed down through the generations that you really see no use for, these websites could indeed be your saving grace. If you don’t really have anything sale-worthy, get customizing! There’s a new trend surrounding upcycling, and it’s a fantastic way to make something shiny and new out of old stuff. It’s environmentally friendly as well, because it’s basically just a glam form of traditional recycling.

These are some books sold by the editor of this site for over $100!

These are some books sold by the editor of this site for over $100!

De-Cluttering Sites & Stores

Following on from the standard sites mentioned above, there are some great sites out there which actually take the hassle out even more (if that’s possible!) from selling on your junk. Just go to sites like De-Cluttr, enter the barcode or specifics of the items you want to shift, and you’ll be given a price. And that’s it! No auctions, no waiting around for someone to commit to a purchase. You’ll be invited to send off your items (from gadgets and CDs, to DVDs and clothes), and once they’ve been vetted, they’ll pay out. On the same level are businesses such as Cash4Clothes, who pay out to recycle your stuff for you, by taking your clothes to places in need. You won’t get much for them, but it’s better than them just sitting there collecting dust, right?

College Groups/ At College

If your college is on Facebook, it’s likely that there will be a group dedicated to the students. Find people taking your classes and see whether they’d like to buy your books from you once you’re done. Not only will you make a little back from your investment, you’ll win some brownie points in helping out some of the younger students.

‘The Old Fashioned Way’

Have a yard sale! It may not seem very 21st Century, but sometimes, the oldies know best. As the warmer weather approaches, it’s the perfect time to gather some friends and set up shop (literally) for the day. Be prepared for hagglers – set your prices a little higher than you actually hope for, but not so high that you have them running for the hills. Make some posters and flyers and pepper them around the neighborhood, and you’re good to go!

Swap Shop

This is a trend that has been sweeping campuses the last few years. A ‘Swap Shop’ might not make you any money per se, but it’s a brilliant way to gain some new essentials just by using the ones you no longer want. Think of it as a giant hand-me-down extravaganza; whether it’s just between your circle of friends, or even spread to a larger audience. Why not charge everyone $3 to enter, have everyone bring 3 good items of clothing that they no longer have use for, and give everyone a ticket to be used in exchange for someone else’s clothes that they do want? The admission can be put to charity or a society event, so not only will you gain a new wardrobe for next to nothing, the rewards can be reaped elsewhere as well.

There are an abundance of ways that you can make a little extra cash while you’re studying – you just have to get creative!


Want to improve your GPA?  Order your copy of The Secrets of Top Students today!

 

5 Smart Budgeting Strategies for College Students (Guest Post)

By Robert Carr. Robert writes full-time for small business, finance and car repair how-to sites.

Some believe the most valuable life lessons are learned in grade school, like being polite, the importance of sharing, and always looking both ways before crossing the street. Others believe critical life knowledge comes from years spent in middle school and high school—useful skills like navigating diverse social landscapes and putting a winning wardrobe together.

College, though, is really when experience comes fast and furious: when you are on your own for the first time, interacting with new classmates and faculty, and completely in control of things such as when, where, and what you eat. Unfortunately, this level of independence can be a challenge for modern college students who enjoy having their own place but may not be ready for adult commitments, including paying the electric bill or creating a grocery budget.

In addition to be being prepared for the rigors of academic life, you’ll need solid financial habits while in college. Master these, and you’ll be the big man or woman on campus. If not, you’ll have a tough time and maybe, gulp, have to head back to the “real” world where your parents set the rules, budget and dinner menu.

College Planning

Here are five strategies for students to manage money while in college:

  • Paperwork is vital, whether you keep actual receipts or use software. This tells you not just how much you’re spending but what you’re spending it on. Bank of America’s Money Management site suggests keeping detailed track of everything for a couple of weeks, then comparing this to income from any jobs, parents, loans or other sources. The difference will be your general budget.
  • Be disciplined. Debt.org, a site dedicated to helping people of all ages reduce costs, reports that it’s not hard to create a budget on paper, but a bigger challenge is having the self-discipline to keep to it. This may mean forgoing regular nights out with friends, or watching TV and making a meal on a Friday night instead of going to dinner and a movie. Your financial institution may even have online or printable templates to help illustrate your planning in action.
  • Be flexible. Though you will have fixed costs like rent and tuition, you’ll have other varying expenses, like your utility bill. Beyond this, you’ll have other unexpected costs that need to be absorbed into your budget, such as repairs to your computer or car. Wells Fargo’s online student budget section points out that you should be ready for everything from a rise in the rent to approval for extra financial aid.
  • Look for ways to save. There are plenty of creative ways to reduce day-to-day costs. See if merchants in town offer a college discount. Consider a roommate or roommates to split costs. Check into ways to combine services, such as bundle.tv that offers Internet, TV and phone service for one monthly price—an attractive option for frugal students who still want all three services.
  • Learn effective credit habits. Creditcards.com suggests paying bills on time, using a credit card for emergencies and then paying it off quickly. Such behaviors will help you build good credit and minimize debt later in life.

Now that you’ve got your budget under control, learn how to maximize your GPA with The Secrets of Top Students.  Order your copy today!

Renting Versus Buying Your Textbooks Online (Guest Post)

The cost of textbooks can stack up quickly. Your net gain at the end of a school year, in either money or time, needs to be taken into consideration before you make a purchase.

At times, your textbooks will be worth buying and keeping. For instance, you may know you will want to keep those great, classic literary works from an English class. For other classes, books make solid references in the future when you want to brush up on basic material.

On the other hand, it may be easier for you to find a student on campus or online who is taking the course the following year who you can sell your textbooks to at an equal (or near equal) cost of your purchasing price.

You can purchase used editions of your textbooks at affordable prices at a site like amazon.com.

If you decide in the future to sell your book, buybacktextbooks.com is a useful resource for finding online bookstores offering the best buy back prices.

At the same time, keep in mind that some textbooks can get outdated quickly. As information and ideas change, many publishers can shell out new editions of their textbooks yearly. This happens often with many science-based course textbooks.

If this is the case, it may be easier to rent your textbooks online, rather than purchasing them. Oftentimes, with renting, you save more than half of the purchasing price.

Sites like chegg.com and campusbookrentals.com have hassle-free purchase and return policies. They also have a wide selection of books that are commonly used in classrooms.

For both sites, if for any reason you do not need the book you rented, you can return it to them within 21 days and 30 days, respectively, for a full refund (minus the cost of shipping). If there is an online version of your book, many sites offer you access to the online version while you wait for the physical book to arrive.

Not only do you save money when you rent your textbooks, but you do not have to worry about finding a buyer for your textbook or your book becoming devalued at the end of the semester.

It would be a good idea to check beforehand with your professors about their leniency with textbook editions. They usually understand the hefty price tag of their textbooks and do not require that you purchase the latest edition. You can also check-in with former students if it would be worth purchasing a textbook as opposed to renting it.

Know your budget and know what you want to get out of your course and your textbook.

If you know you are not going to use the textbook again and don’t want it to take up space in your home, or if you do not want to spend the time and effort of finding a buyer for your textbooks online or in person after what you know is going to be a long semester, renting your textbooks online is your best bet for saving money.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from Los Angeles who writes on everything from health and medicine to technology and travel. She currently writes for HostPapa and has seen firsthand how renting textbooks can be a great way to go while on a budget.


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