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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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                                          Published on May 7, 2019

                                          How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                                          How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                                          When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

                                          Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

                                          Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

                                          You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

                                          Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

                                          1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

                                          Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

                                          But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

                                          • Will you spend more time with your family?
                                          • What does retirement mean to you?
                                          • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

                                          Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

                                          Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

                                          2. Figure out When to Invest

                                          “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

                                          It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

                                          The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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                                          A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

                                          Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

                                          3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

                                          Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

                                          Why?

                                          Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

                                          Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

                                          Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

                                          Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

                                          4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

                                          Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

                                          If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

                                          You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

                                          1. Vanguard
                                          2. TD Ameritrade
                                          3. Charles Schwab

                                          5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

                                          Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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                                          Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

                                          That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

                                          Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

                                          A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

                                          6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

                                          The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

                                          Robo Advisors

                                          Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

                                          Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

                                          Bonds

                                          Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

                                          Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

                                          Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

                                          1. Treasury bonds
                                          2. Government bonds
                                          3. Corporate bonds
                                          4. Foreign bonds
                                          5. Mortgage-backed bonds
                                          6. Municipal bonds

                                          Mutual Funds

                                          Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

                                          One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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                                          Real Estate

                                          Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

                                          Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

                                          This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

                                          But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

                                          Savings Accounts

                                          Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

                                          7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

                                          Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

                                          So how can you master delayed gratification?

                                          By building your discipline.

                                          Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

                                          Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

                                          8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

                                          I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

                                          It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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                                          More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

                                          But, how can you invest yourself?

                                          Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

                                          Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

                                          But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

                                          Retire Happy with Excess Money

                                          The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

                                          It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

                                          I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

                                          Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

                                          One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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                                          Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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