Student-Friendly Ways to Make Money in Your Spare Time

Between your classes, extracurriculars, and you know, having a life, you probably don't have a lot of spare time to earn money. Luckily, you can earn some spending cash in the little time you do have with these small jobs and services.

Need a little extra Snapple money? Between your college classes, homework, extracurriculars, and oh, I dunno, having a social life, you probably don’t have a lot of spare time to earn money. Luckily, you can earn some spending cash in the little time you do have with the small jobs and services below. (Now with even more easy ways to make money! Wee!)

P.S. If you're looking for some serious money for college, why not scholarships? You can find scholarships that fit you here.

Human intelligence tasks 

If you’re looking for an easy-to-access selection of odd jobs, whether social or Internet-based, performing “human intelligence tasks” may be for you. These are things that computers can’t do, like testing websites and offering feedback on how easy they are to navigate. One way to do participate in human intelligence tasks is with whurk, an app where you accept small jobs ranging from reviewing products to promoting start-ups on your social media. Rewards vary from gift cards to cash to free products for you to review. Amazon Mechanical Turk tasks are similar, but jobs are often smaller and quicker than those from whurk, which can often be spread over small amounts of time over several days.

Freelance photography

If you have a camera and a passion for using it, freelance photography can be a great way to make some extra money on your own time. Whether you are studying photography formally or not, you can always start small and work your way up to build a good reputation and find well-paying customers. For example, parents are often looking for inexpensive options for their kids’ senior portraits, or you could try taking pictures for your school or local newspaper. There are also websites and apps, such as foap, that allow photographers to upload their photos, then members can use these photos for a fee, a portion of which goes to the photographer. This is a great option if you don’t have serious credentials or just want to practice taking photos in your spare time that you don’t mind giving up the licenses for.

Substitute teaching

If you are studying education in college (or even if you're not), subbing is a great way to gain classroom experience while earning some extra money on a flexible schedule. Most school districts require you have a minimum of 60 college credit hours earned and often ask for a letter of recommendation, though some schools, especially private ones, may not be as strict. Since some schools are willing to hire subs for short time periods, this can work well if you’re home from campus over spring or Christmas break but don’t have the time to get a job (since you’re still out longer than the grade schools). You can also sub if you have extra time around a part-time job and/or classes or during the summer.

Opinion sites

One of my favorite ways to make a little extra money on the side is through opinion websites. We all have opinions, and there are lots of websites out there who will pay to hear them. One of these websites I swear by is UserTesting. When you sign up for UserTesting, you give some basic demographic information and then are given “tests” you qualify for based on your info. On UserTesting, you explore webpages that companies want the public’s opinion on, answering questions and giving feedback throughout the session. On other sites you may take more streamlined surveys or review products and services based on anything from where you live to what kind of phone you use. Other opinion/survey site examples include Harris Poll, PointClub, swagbucks, and VIP Voice. Wherever you want to give your opinion, just make sure the site is legit before you sign up (and don’t go crazy giving away your personal info). 

Student POV (point of view) sites

Similar to opinion sites, student POV sites, such as Cheggheads and Barnes and Noble Student POV, reward you for your opinions on tests and surveys. As the name implies, these sites are geared towards college students, dealing with everything from campus life to classes to what you bought for your dorm room. Some of these sites offer rewards in cash like the more generic opinion sites, while others offer gift cards and rewards at stores they’re affiliated with (I’m talking Barnes and Noble here). And some don’t offer any rewards at all (sadly). But hey, at least you get your voice heard! So while these sorts of services may not make you as much money, they are designed so that real students have a say in what real companies offer to current and future college students in everything from dorm supplies to campus bookstore events.

Related: 7 Easy Ways College Students Can Earn Fast Cash

Freelance writing

A great way to get real experience before you enter the post-college job market, freelancing can be an excellent side gig for busy college (or even high school!) students. There are any number of opportunities for student freelancers, whether you write for a website—like CollegeXpress ;)— your college newspaper, or work to get self-published. It’s true that some of these freelancing gigs pay and others don’t, but they’re all excellent ways to get your name out there and have something impressive to put on your résumé. Building your résumé with unpaid freelance work can help you get your foot in the door with paid gigs, and it will show employers you’re ready for real-world work once you graduate. Some freelancing gigs even offer internships that, if your school agrees, you can get college credit for, whether you get paid or not. And even though it may not be cash in your pocket, earning college credits can also save you money in the long run (which is just as good in many ways).


Do you breeze through your pre-calc homework without even trying? Do you know how to use a semicolon properly—like, really know? You could get paid to be a tutor! 

Tutoring can be both a spare-time money-making hustle or true part-time job, depending on your schedule. You’re often free to tutor as little or as much as you like. Most college and high school tutoring centers hire students who have taken the classes other students usually need help in (math is a big one). Most of the time you need an A or B in the class you want to tutor, and possibly a letter of recommendation from a professor in that department. You would then work with individual students, overseen by the tutoring center. You can also look into tutoring on your own, offering your services to kids in your neighborhood or even friends. Pro tip: do you babysit any school-age children? Ask their parents if they might want hire you as a tutor as well.

Mystery shopping

Who knew you could get paid to shop? Not a shabby gig for a college student, amirite? Many companies will pay you to shop “undercover,” posing as a normal customer and then reporting on interactions with workers, the availability of products, etc. You may be asked to make a purchase (you’d most likely be reimbursed) or complete other specific tasks. This helps large retailers keep tabs on the quality of each individual store, and can help you earn some extra cash to do some real shopping! You can find more info from a real mystery shopper here

Musical accompaniment

If you are proficient in a musical instrument, even if you aren’t studying it in school, you can talk to your school’s music department (if there is one, that is) about accompanying students during recitals and rehearsals. Most college students in vocal music programs have at least one recital during their studies, and they usually need accompanists to help them prepare and to play during the recitals—and these accompanists are often paid. If your school doesn’t have a music department, you can try advertising on campus message boards or flyers to play at local weddings. Like student recitals, these are usually paid, flexible, and relatively short-term gigs.

What do you do to earn a little extra spending money during the school year? Have any of these money-making plans worked for you? Let us know in the comments—and stay tuned for Part 2! 

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About Emily Rogan

Emily Rogan is a student at Morehead State University, where she's studying Communications and Theater. When she's not in school, she is an actor, musician, singer, and writer.


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