27 Money Making Tips For People In Debt or in College

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Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.

Here are a few suggestions to consider for making extra money (particularly could be helpful for those in debt, for high school students, and college students):

I. Sell Stuff:


1. Sell Stuff Online on EBay or Amazon – 
Do you know a lot about some niche segment? Say baseball cards, yearbooks, comic books, specialty toys? Find a niche and start making a profit!

2. Have a Garage Sale – One person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Consider presentation – a tablecloth vs. cardboard boxes, dust things off, use hangers for displaying clothes, etc.


II. Make Stuff:


3. Craft Crafts – Crocheting, jewelry-making, embroidery, patching up clothes, etc. Turn your talent into profit! See this article from Wahm.com on how to make money crafting. See this video on how to make money crafting.

4. Freelance Writing – People will pay for writing articles. A blog is a good place to start. See this article on how to make money freelance writing from Copyblogger.

5. Write a Book or an eBook – Are you an expert at something? Are you a good story teller or good at poetry? My wife published a book of poems in 2010. Her first book and we broke about even. eBooks are really cheap and becoming more popular as well! See this article on how to write an eBook. Also read this article about mistakes to avoid when writing an ebook.

6. Small-scale Catering – Run your own small catering business out of your own kitchen on the weekend – great for birthday parties, Quinceaera’s, weddings, work related parties, conventions, other potential niche clients. Also consider just baking goods and selling them to neighbors/family/friends. Note: Be sure to comply with food safety laws. See this link on how to start a home catering business.

7. Take Photos and Sell Digital Photos – Have a decent camera? Offer to do some photo shoots for free. Then as word gets out you could start your own photography business. Facebook, Twitter, etc. are all great social outlets for building your business. Also sell the rights to your photos as an added bonus.

III. Offer Services:

offer services

8. Mow lawns or bag leaves – The summer months are nearly gone (assuming you live in the U.S.?). But next summer is right around the corner! Lots of opportunities with lawns out there. My uncle did this during the end of spring and throughout the summer. It’s a nice side business. You can use your own equipment or see if the neighbor may have it. Gathering and bagging leaves in the fall can be lucrative as well. An extra $20-30 a week per lawn would come in handy. Check out this post on how to get started.

9. Babysit some kids – Know a family with kids? Babysit them for cash! Parents are always looking to go out on a date or run errands. Sometimes even voluntary babysitting can eventually turn into a paid position. Apply for babysitting jobs here.

10. Become a Dog Walker – People get paid every day to walk dogs. Lots of people have pets. Yet they work too much or just prefer for someone else to handle certain aspects of pets training. Why not offer this service to people in your neighborhood? Click this link to find out how to become a dog walker.


11. Become a mystery shopper – Mystery shoppers can work flexible hours. Sometimes you even get to keep your purchases! Note: Avoid companies that want you to pay a fee up front.

12. Become a Tutor – Do you play an instrument? Are your particularly good at Math, Science, English, History? If you speak any other language (Spanish, German, or French?) tutoring kids or even adults can be profitable. I did this in high school and made $10-15 an hour tutoring people in English. My sister does this and charges $20 an hour. She’s a full-time student and just turned 20 years old!

13. Run Errands for the Elderly – Get to know people in your community or church (if applicable) who may need to go to the bank or for you to get their groceries. Sometimes even voluntary errand running can eventually turn into tips or even a paid position.


14. Fix People’s PC’sStart out with family/friends. Computers are always breaking down or having viruses. I have a friend who fixes people’s PC’s for $20-$50 a pop. Sometimes it takes 20 minutes. Others it takes a couple of hours.

15. Offer Consulting Services – Know some programming languages? Charge $50 and put a decent website together for a start up business. Web design or graphics design is always a good place to start. Start out cheap and build your reputation and portfolio. Businesses always need their sites updated, promos with graphics, etc. I have a cousin who makes about $1200-$2500 a month depending on the business on this. He has been doing this for a little over 3 years now.

16. House SitVacation season is coming up this summer. This can be a great 1-2 week gig. Sometimes even longer. I got free rent for a couple of months one summer by staying at someone’s house. Winter time means families traveling to see loved ones.


17. Join a Focus Group – Google “Focus Group” and see how many hits you can get. There is always some company willing to pay a little something for your thoughts, opinions, etc. To learn more click this link on focus groups.

18. Offer a Painting Service – See a neighbor’s house that might need painting? Ring the doorbell and ask them if you could offer your services. They provide the paint and tools you provide the labor. It’s a win/win situation. Are you ready? Click here to find out how to start you own painting service.

19. Clean Homes – People don’t always want or (supposedly) have time to clean their homes. Not the most luxurious job but a great opportunity to make some extra money. My wife did this while in high school and even college. Was steady work and building up a clientele through word of mouth can really net you some great customers. If you’re ready, click here to learn more about starting your own cleaning business.


IV. Part-time Jobs:

part time jobs

20. Get a Newspaper Route – There is nothing like riding a good bicycle, having a good arm, waking up and working at dawn. Early risers would love this job. People with a determination to make some extra cash could enjoy this too. This job can generate an extra $500-$2000 a month easily.

21. Find Odd Jobs on Craigslist – Neighborhood adds and word of mouth not working? People always need things done. Do you have a truck and are able to help some people move furniture? Or perhaps paint? Or DE-clutter someone’s garage? Or perhaps mow some yards?

22. Deliver Pizzas at Night – Tips, Tips, Tips! Even if it’s just for the summer or winter it’s a great way to generate some cash. If you ask the delivery guy or girl how they’re doing and they say “Better than I deserve!” tip them extra! They’re working hard to get out of debt.

23. Bar-tend or Become a Waiter/Waitress – good idea for making extra money late-night and/or weekends without sacrificing hours at your day job and/or studies.

24. Seasonal Work –Snow shoveling, lifeguard duty, amusement parks, seasonal holiday staffing, etc. can all be taken advantage of.

25. Donate Plasma, Sperm, or Blood –Often you can get paid for these body fluids. Make sure to seek out reputable organizations. Note: The Red Cross recommends waiting 28 days between plasma donations and 56 between blood donations, and not exceeding 13 plasma donations a year.


V. Further Education:

further learning

26. Go Back to School for Graduate Studies –Sometimes going back to school for certification or a BA in Business or other field can open up new opportunities. Getting a masters or a MBA could be a useful tool in making oneself more marketable. This could easily translate into a raise or promotion!

27. Go Back to School to finish up your BA or BS (Or get a certificate/go to a Tech School) – Finalizing your degree very well could help further your career and expand the industries that find you an attractive candidate. Finish up that degree and get your college diploma!

What is your best suggestion for people to make money while in debt, high school, or college? Which suggestion did you like best? Any more good ideas to add to the list? Leave a comment!


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About Jonathan Key 112 Articles
Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.


  1. The garage sales and eBay thing I did when I was trying to get out of debt, and it helped a lot! I also used to do those focus groups. They pay pretty well!

    • Hopefully he’s been doing some of these things Robin! He can still work during college though. Would be a way for him to help with expenses and to earn some extra money too. Thanks for the comment!

    • That is fantastic Mama to 5 Blessings that you make good money that supports the family vacations and homeschooling curriculum! Was there anything else you thought might be helpful on the list? Maybe for you hubby as a side gig?

  2. Having a garage sale, or posting in community groups online is always a great way to make a few extra bucks when you need it. I have always wanted to walk dogs for people. It seems like a really fun way to make some money, and I love dogs but can’t have one because my husband isn’t a dog person. We do have 5 cats, though!

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