Strategies for earning holiday cash can help ease money woes.
October 27, 2010
Trends in college spending
The Journal of Economics & Economic Education Research conducted a survey in 2009 on the spending habits of college students. Eighty percent of undergraduates have credit cards with an average balance of $2,226 and 10 percent have outstanding balances of more than $7,000.
“The credit card companies target students,” said credit counselor Jean Arrowsmith of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Rochester. Graduating students shouldn’t have that kind of debt and the importance of financial health cannot be understated, Arrowsmith added. Instead of racking up more credit card debt, students need to find alternate ways to earn money.
Marketing yourself and networking
One theme that is consistent with advisors and students: Word of mouth. Monroe Community College student and ballet dancer Megan Gunio has found networking an invaluable marketing tool. “I’d tell my family, friends and anyone else I knew about my dancing and that’s how I picked up the jobs” Gunio said. She didn’t have to spend money on advertising.
Word of mouth and networking may not be enough advertising forsomeone to get the gigs. Taking advantage of free advertising sites such as Craigslist or Backpage can give the extra boost some people may need. Honing in on a specific marketing segment can also save both time and money.
Finding your talents
“You can offer any kind of talents that you have,” international student Julia Kiseleski said. If a person is good at painting, fixing cars, or really anything, they can offer those services, Kiseleski added.
- For shutterbugs: During the holidays, families and pet owners seek out photographers for group pictures. Leave flyers at pet stores, veterinarian offices, day cares or other family venues.
- For the computer savvy: From wiping hard drives to building web pages, people with computer knowledge are in high need. Free sites such as Guru Employer offer connections between freelancers and companies.
- The crafty: Crochet funky unique winter hats, make jewelry, or create holiday decorations to sell on campus or online.
- The writers: Sell blog submissions, stories, poems, and Ebooks. AdSenseby Google helps bloggers make money via advertising. Ebook platforms such as Lulu works off a percentage of each book sale.
- The musically inclined: Besides looking for wedding or event gigs, offer singing telegrams, or get together with friends for a caroling service.
Earning money beyond talents
People short on personal talent can still earn cash with these options:
- Sell unwanted items online or in area re-stores. Plato’s Closet offers cash on the spot for clothing. Don’t have anything worth selling? Sell other people’s things for a percentage.
- Get paid to drive. Websites like Free Car Media or Advercarzing pay for advertising to be placed on owner vehicles. For people who are on the road a lot, this is a stress-free way to earn without effort.
- Participate in a clinical trial, sell eggs, sperm or blood. The University of Rochester has a multitude of paid trials and offers compensation for sperm and egg donation.
- Be a mystery, personal or executive shopper. Local and national companies list regularly on Craigslist. Area law enforcement agencies hire underage students who can test businesses for underage purchases of cigarettes, alcohol, movie tickets and more.