By Kristina Ellis
’Tis the season to earn money!
That’s right, college students: One thing that helps big time with paying for college (or covering those extra expenses along the way) is making the most of your long holiday breaks.
Yes, it’s important to rest and recharge during winter break, but it’s also the perfect time to pick up a side hustle. I’ve put together a list of a few things you can do to make money during your holiday break, including what I did myself. (If you’re not familiar with my story, I earned over $500,000 in scholarships and graduated with multiple degrees debt-free. Now, I’m determined to help you graduate without debt too. I promise it’s possible!)
Why not go back to campus with a little more cash in your backpack than you had before? Here are some simple ways to get started.
Sell your time
Your first option is to sell what you’ve already got—your time! Think of your friends, neighbors and extended family back home who have events to attend and out-of-town relatives to visit over the holidays. Send a quick text and offer to watch their pets or house-sit for them. As a mom of littles, I’d jump at the chance to knock out some last-minute shopping while a responsible college student babysat my kids. People will pay a lot of money to have things taken care of by someone they trust, and you could be the perfect person for the job.
Grab a short-term gig
Did you know that some companies hire seasonal employees for just a few weeks during Christmastime? Some businesses will even pay extra for employees who are willing to work on national holidays when most people take time off. Maybe your family celebrates on Christmas Eve but lays low on Christmas Day—if you can work for even a part of certain holidays, do it! Adjusting your plans doesn’t have to be a forever decision, but small sacrifices like this will really pay off in the future.
Drive for Uber or Lyft
Speaking of easy income, apply to be a rideshare driver. Without roommates, friends, professors and assignments to keep you busy around the clock, you’ll have more margin than you realize for making extra income. Even just driving a few hours in between your holiday plans can make a big difference. So, if you have access to a car, take advantage of it.
Have a closet cleanout
Selling items in your closet is a great way to create space for things on your wish list and make a little extra cash. If you’re like me, there are pieces in your wardrobe that you wear more often than others anyway, so put on your headphones, grab a snack, and start sorting. Shoes, purses, hats, hoodies—anything you’d rather get money for that use closet space for can be listed on sites like Poshmark and Facebook Marketplace.
Apply for scholarships
I had a lot of different jobs throughout high school and college, but the one thing that paid off most by far was applying for scholarships. Believe it or not, I actually treated this like a part-time job. And even if you’re already enrolled at a university, you can do the same! There are thousands of scholarships available for upperclassmen and students with specific majors. Set aside an hour each day to research and register for scholarship opportunities. A little bit of time could add up to a ton of money!
Okay, hopefully at this point you have an idea or two that you’re considering—maybe you’ve even thought of a few more money-making strategies of your own. There are so many things that make college fun, and in my opinion, one of the biggest perks is having long breaks each semester. So, start thinking now about how you can spend your break wisely. Spend some time with friends and family, then try out a few of these ideas to get the most bang for your Christmas break and start next semester off right.
You can do this!
* After winning $500K in scholarships and graduating from her dream school with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, Kristina Ellis set out to help students create their own plan to earn a debt-free education. She’s the best-selling author of Confessions of a Scholarship Winner and How to Graduate Debt-Free. She is a featured expert in the 2021 documentary Borrowed Future: How Student Loans Are Killing the American Dream. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, such as Fox & Friends, The Katie Couric Show, CBN, USA Today, Reuters, Seventeen, and Money. As a Ramsey Personality, Kristina helps thousands of families nationwide navigate the complex waters of college finance and graduate debt-free.
Image by lorikoenig715