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Broke College Student? 20 Money-Saving Tips For College Students That You’ve Never Heard Of

Broke College Student? 20 Money-Saving Tips For College Students That You’ve Never Heard Of

Those of us who’ve survived the four (or more) years it can take to gain our college degrees know that those can represent some of the most trying times of our lives – in no small part due to the lack of money college student hopefuls can experience.

Forget stripping and finding a “Sugar Daddy” to try and survive your college days. Here are 20 unique ways to increase the money in your pocket as a college student:

1. Sell your essays online via Kindle Direct Publishing

There’s a reason you’re researching and writing all those original essays. After you ace your assignment, upload those suckers via a Microsoft Word document (or other file types) directly to Amazon’s KDP website and sell them to others.

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    2. Donate blood or other body fluids and such for money or gift cards

    Although certain FDA rules disallow paying cash for blood, there are ways that capitalists have found to reward blood donators with gift cards or other incentives. Selling sperm, plasma, bone marrow, breast milk, placenta, and even your hair are also options, but don’t think donating eggs is an easy payday.

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      3. Save by paying cash for medical procedures

      Yeah, there a certain visits to the doctor that you might not want to share with your parents. As such, sites like Yempl.com can give you the exact prices that physicians charge for various procedures – like health screenings, etc. – and the discounts they offer people who pay cash.

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        4. Cut the cable bill costs

        Of course you want to keep up with some mind-numbing TV to counteract all that learning, but you don’t want to pay outrageous cable TV costs to do so. Soak up your favorite episodes via Hulu or sites like Choose.tv that allow you to watch international channels online.

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          5. Rent textbooks from Amazon

          Textbooks can be pretty pricey, but if you rent them through Amazon’s textbook rental service, you can use them only for a semester then ship them back when you’re done.

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            6. Trade those gift cards for cash using special CoinStar machines

            Let’s say you receive a $200 Victoria’s Secret gift card for Christmas, but truth be told, you’d rather have cash for food instead. Use a CoinStar Exchange machine to trade it in for cash, but be warned, you may end up with only $120 or so in greenbacks as a result.

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              7. Recommend wacky and outrageous products

              Use programs like Amazon Associates to promote wildly expensive products on your blog, and take a cut of the fee when they sell.

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                8. Hawk a video course

                Sell your skills via video courses on websites like Udemy.

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                  9. Go crazily creative on YouTube and get ad revenue

                  If your friends are always laughing at your antics, consider filming them and uploading them to YouTube. Select the option to monetize your videos, and if they go viral, you might make a dent in those student loans!

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                    10. Become a virtual tutor

                    The best part about being alive in the Information Age is that there are folks willing to pay you to jump on Skype and tutor their kids in all sorts of subjects. Find them on sites like Elance, oDesk, or even Craigslist if you must, but be careful about giving out too much private information.

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                      11. Gain an income for your voice

                      If you have the kind of voice that belongs on a TV commercial, try your hand at gaining voiceover work in between classes. Set up a gig on Fiverr and see where it goes.

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                        12. Offer local businesses a web presence

                        Chances are you might know more about social media and websites than the local bakery owner in your college town. If you’re technically inclined, offer to set up their Google Maps listing, social media accounts and even a website – for a fee, of course.

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                          13. Take pics with your phone and make money via apps

                          Use apps like Gigwalk to score gigs that pay users to take photos of specific things, like end-cap settings in stores.

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                            14. Perform article arbitrage

                            If you’re savvy and smart enough with details, being a liaison between freelancers and their clients can pay you. For example, you might find one client on Elance willing to pay $175 to have a 500-word article written, and a writer willing to get paid $100 to write the article. By acting as a detail-oriented middleman, you could pocket $75 bucks for the transaction.

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                              15. Make your own app

                              You don’t even need to know how to code apps in order to have an app created. Use a free app-maker online to get a basic app made. Or, pay small amounts to have a basic app made and submitted to the iTunes App Store and add advertisements to the app. Perhaps you can become the next “Make it Rain” millionaire.

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                                16. Sell your Photoshop skills

                                If you’re good with that lasso tool on Photoshop, you can probably find a groundswell of clients online and in your real life willing to pay you to pretty up their pics or to create amazing renderings for their graphic design needs.

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                                  17. Make niche websites

                                  Take advantage of being a college student in the know – privy to your own 16- to 24-year-old huge focus group. Parlay what’s hot and happening right now, like the corset waist-training craze, for instance, into a site surrounding the topic. Throw up some Google AdSense ads and Amazon product recommendations, and pray the dough will roll in to your coffers.

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                                    18. Sing on the street

                                    If you’ve got a velvety smooth falsetto or alto singing voice that gets rave reviews, why not share it with the world – or at least the folks outside your window? Hey, it worked to make R. Kelly famous, when he sang for spare change on the L train’s platforms in his Chicago hometown.

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                                      19. Edit videos for others

                                      Instead of plopping your face or voice all over YouTube, consider firing up iMovie or your favorite video editor to help spiffy up the videos of others – for a small or large fee, of course.

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                                        20. Sell your social media likes and comments

                                        Yes, in our social-media driven world, people are willing to buy followers, likes and comments. If you’ve attracted quite a following, look for sites that are willing to trade that popularity for money.

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                                          Featured photo credit: 20120421-NewYorkCity-ColumbiaUniversityCampus (4MF).JPG By jzlomek via mrg.bz

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                                          Last Updated on September 2, 2020

                                          How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                          How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                          Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

                                          In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

                                          4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

                                          Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

                                          1. Be Clear About the Objectives

                                          Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

                                          It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

                                          Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

                                          2. Keep Goals Realistic

                                          It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

                                          It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

                                          3. Account for Inflation

                                          Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

                                          Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

                                          For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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                                          4. Short Term Vs Long Term

                                          Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

                                          As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

                                          By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

                                          How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

                                          Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

                                          • Ensuring healthy savings
                                          • Making smart investments

                                          You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

                                          Ensuring Healthy Savings

                                          Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

                                          This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

                                          1. Track Expenses

                                          The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

                                          Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

                                          If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

                                          2. Pay Yourself First

                                          Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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                                          Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

                                          The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

                                          Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

                                          3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

                                          Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

                                          Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

                                          At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

                                          Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

                                          You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

                                          4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

                                          In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

                                          Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

                                          • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
                                          • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
                                          • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

                                          The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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                                          5. Talk About It

                                          Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

                                          Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

                                          6. Maintain a Journal

                                          For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

                                          If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

                                          When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

                                          Making Smart Investments

                                          Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

                                          1. Consult a Financial Advisor

                                          Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

                                          Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

                                          2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

                                          Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

                                          Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

                                          As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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                                          3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

                                          Einstein once remarked about compounding:

                                          “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

                                          Use compound interest when setting financial goals

                                            Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

                                            Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

                                            4. Measure, Measure, Measure

                                            All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                                            If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

                                            Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

                                            The Bottom Line

                                            Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

                                            and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

                                            More Tips on Financial Goals

                                            Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

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