Earn College Money: 9 Ways to Earn College Money Now

Need to earn college money? I recently received a question about this from a visitor who needed money to apply to college, so I put together this list of ideas. I have done all of these, and they work. You can use these any time, not just for school, of course. They are simple ideas, and they earn college money if you work them. Some can even be a regular business that you work over and over.

The List: 9 Ways to Earn College Money

Let's say you want to apply to a bunch of colleges, but you don't have the cash for the applications. Usually, colleges charge about $40-100 just to apply. This keeps them from getting shotgun type excess applications from people who don't really care about attending.

Applying for scholarships and to colleges is great. When you apply to several, you might find yourself short on cash. Here you'll find a few ideas on how to earn college money for those apps.

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1. Donate Plasma

I've done this. I made about $80-100 in a week or so, and you can keep donating for as long as you want. Donating plasma is like donating blood, and you have to have an interview, answer some questions. It's fairly easy, if you can donate. I don't know all the age limits or other requirements, so you might want to call first. These places are under blood services, I think, in the phone book.

By the way, when I say this is easy, I don't mean pain-free. All you have to do is sit there and you may even get to watch a DVD, while a machine separates the plasma out of your blood and replaces it with saline water. Easy, but a little gory.

It works, and you do get paid for it. Possible to do right away in most medium sized cities and up. I listed this first because you can do it today, and keep doing it.

2. Sell Some Stuff

I have sold books on Amazon.com or Half.com - very easy. Also on eBay.com - easy, but not as easy as Amazon. More flexible, though, because you can sell almost anything there.

Where I live, we have a radio and TV station with great, free online classifieds. I sold a couple of lawnmowers through it. Nice, because the people can come look at things and haul them away, no shipping.

With the local online classifieds, you could earn college money today. The ads go live immediately, and you could sell it right away if someone needs what you have.

3. Sell Stuff - Offline version

I have also used the free classifieds in my local paper to list some things. You can sell some old stuff, clean out your place, and earn college money that way.

Consider having a garage sale. You'll see people from your neighborhood come to your sale and buy stuff. Cool. Put up signs on larger streets, and take them down later. Follow the rules for your area. You can also set this up on at a friend's house if you like their location better.

Variation: I have known people who went to garage sales to buy things to sell online. If you know your stuff, this works well.

Typically weekends work best for this one, so you can do this within a week. I've done it, and it works well if you have some nice things to sell.

4. Collect Aluminum Cans

I've done this, and it works, you just need a lot of cans, and a place to sell them, called a recycling center. This has the advantage of not requiring you to be stuck with a needle, and not waiting for anyone else. You find cans, pick them up, sell them.

One idea: find a spot where people drink a lot and go back day after day to collect the cans. Also, you may want to crush the cans to save on space, but it isn't required. One more: don't take anyone's cans, and leave recycling containers alone. Someone usually owns those.

I know, it seems a bit, well, desperate. Yeah, but it works really well. Essentially, each can has a value, maybe about 1-2 cents each. That adds up.

You can do this today, and sell the cans today or tomorrow to a recycling center and you'll earn college money, with cash in hand. You may need to look this up in the phone book, and call ahead for their hours. As a teenager, I did this for a while and made about $100. You can sell all kinds of scrap metal and paper, by the way

A bonus: this is good for the environment.

5. Deliver or Make Pizza

like at Domino's, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut...I've done this one, too. It works great, pizza places are everywhere and seems like they always need new people, and they allow flexible hours. I worked weekends only and always came home with tips, then got a check as well. Made about $12/hr. If you don't drive, you can still work making pizzas, if you have time. Other fast food places might work here, too.

If it sounds like I'm saying get a job, not necessarily. Most of the ideas on the list just require you to do something, to go out and do it to earn college money. I thought I'd put at least one that relates to getting a job, especially since so many fast food places need people so often. Many also offer a management program and benefits if you work full time.

6. Pet Care

This is just a quick one. Many teens have done this for a neighbor - pet sit, or something similar. Remember Deuce Bigalow? He was watching the guy's fish and fixing his fish tank. You can also walk dogs for busy neighbors.

A quick addition to this one: house sitting. People need someone to watch their house while out of town.

You can earn a few bucks with this one, but it may take a few weeks or months. Once people know you do it well and spread the word, you can earn from this much more regularly.

7. Detail Cars

Detailing means clean really well, and do some things a car wash can't do. Such as, getting some stains out if possible, or cleaning under and around.

If you do this well, you can do this full time as much as you want. I have a friend who does this, and he earns enough to support his family.

One idea for expansion: talk to the smaller car dealerships and rental agencies in your area. They need to clean their cars often, and they use detailing companies all the time.

You'll have to determine your own prices, but my friend charges about $30-60 per car. Probably less for the dealerships.

You can earn with this soon, but today might be too soon. If you work hard, you can do this for a summer job or evenings and do well. Another great way to earn college money.

8. Mow Lawns or Other Landscaping

I've done this one, but I've seen people do it much better. You can take this as far as you want it. Just you and a lawn mower and weed whacker, or you can have employees, trucks and so on.

You can start on this any time. Even today, of lawn mowing is in season, you can go door to door and earn college money this week.

Think of all the things you could do here. You can mow neighbors lawns, trim bushes, fix or install sprinkler systems, and so on. Drawbacks: you need your own equipment.

This is real work, and the pay is real, too.

9. Paint house numbers on curbs

Wow, talk about easy money for college.

This one refers to painting your house address on the curb, usually black numbers on an oval white background. Makes it easier to find people's houses. Seriously easy work.

I've also done this a little. I went door to door offering to repaint the house number on the curb for $10-20. Then, I went back and painted later. Or you can paint right away.

You need spray paint, and number stencils, as well as a background stencil that you can make. The paint and number stencils to get started will cost $20-30 or so, I think.

This one is very easy, especially if you have a very new neighborhood - no numbers painted yet, so people want them, or a very old neighborhood - tons of numbers are faded or worn off. I did this when I was in Jr High, so age is not terribly critical here.

People will want their number to look nice. Practice on some scrap wood or cardboard first. You can also create a sample to show people at the door.

You can earn money for this one right away, if the weather is nice. Also, this one works great with a partner. You can also ask to borrow the money to start then pay it back with a little extra if you want.

The only drawbacks here are that you need to come up with a few bucks to start, and you need to maintain your equipment. You'll need to buy paint regularly. You may need someone to help with that as well.

The earning potential here can really work out. And you can do this as an after school job or for the summer.

What ideas do you have?

That's it for this list, but what ideas do you have?

Maybe you paint murals on walls. Or you know how to make some cool crafts. You can use that to earn college money. The ideas are almost unlimited.

Get help if you need it, and get started!

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