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Fast cash: 5 ways to make a quick buck

Posted by Alex Pearlman  April 28, 2012 05:30 PM

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european coins and bills.jpgBy Chelsea Feinstein

It’s no secret that college is hard on your wallet: You take out huge loans that you know you won’t be able to pay back for decades, spend too much money on food and coffee, and then beg your parents for extra cash to make ends meet. But no time is harder for a college student than the summer. When you factor in the necessary evils of unpaid internships and Boston’s sky-high rent costs, things can get tight quickly.

Rather than living solely off of ramen noodles and dreams, try out these tips for getting your hands on some quick cash. Just don’t spend it all in one place!

Sell your books. If you're sick of your college bookstore paying you $3 for a book it charged you $150 for just a few months earlier, stop getting gouged by a school you already give tons of money to, and take matters into your own hands. Get more bang for your books by selling them online. It’s simple to create a seller account at Amazon or AbeBooks, and you'll get back much closer to what you paid for those overpriced textbooks (especially if you bought used books online to begin with). This way, buying books comes close to evening out each semester, rather than being a huge expense year after year, and you can get some post-finals cash to begin funding your summer exploits.

Cash in your clothes. Have some clothes you haven’t worn in a while? That skirt that you impulse bought on Newbury Street last semester could make you some extra money. You can sell your clothes to used clothing stores like Buffalo Exchange or Second Time Around for an immediate reward, or if you’re patient, get potentially more money by donating them to Goodwill and deducting it from your tax returns next April. Just don't get tricked into trading in your old clothes for new ones. You get more value that way, but don't forget that you came for the cash.

Pick up odd jobs. Most college websites feature job board listings of one-time jobs that range from raking leaves to pet sitting to submitting yourself for medical testing. Needless to say, some of the ideas are wiser than others, but all of them will give you a quick boost if you're in need of some extra money. You can also find longer-term side jobs if you're willing to make more of a commitment for a steady cash flow. If you are no longer a student, search Craigslist or Zaarly, and start matching your skill set with job postings.

Take surveys. Some of those websites with advertisements that promise you cash for filling out surveys are actually legitimate. If you’re willing to give out some basic personal information, a website like CashCrate will pay you to take surveys about various products. For a new twist, try Jebbit, a startup founded by Boston College students, which gives you money for exploring companies’ websites and answering questions about those companies. Each correct answer earns you cold hard cash. The only catch is that you have to allow them access to your basic demographic information via your Facebook page.

Roll your loose change. While this tactic won’t exactly make you any new money, it does help you keep better track of what you already have. The next time you buy something in cash, add your spare coins to a change jar. Repeat that process consistently throughout the summer, then roll your change and take it to your local bank. It adds up to more than you would think, and while it probably won’t pay the rent, every little bit helps!

What’s your favorite way to make some extra cash?

Photo by Bashed (Flickr)

About Chelsea -- I am a junior at BU majoring in journalism and international relations, a proud Maryland native, and a lover of folk music and cat memes. I like words and the world.

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