It’s no secret that college tuition has been steadily rising for years. Whether you’re a prospective college student trying to discover your purpose in life, or a parent trying to figure out the best way to support your child, you likely have the daunting task of paying for college looming over your head.
So, how do you save money for college?
While you could try the traditional routes of using an education savings account, accepting financial aid, or working through school, you might find some additional money-saving opportunities in the following six strategies.
Find college scholarship opportunities
Searching out scholarships may not be the most original tactic in the book, but it’s still worth mentioning here. Surprisingly, students often miss out on the opportunity of gaining free money to pay for school, just by not trying.
Research scholarship opportunities at your prospective schools, or private scholarships based on your talents, experiences, or other unique traits. You might also try applying for some super easy scholarships (check out these lists from Bold and WiseGeek to get started). Another great resources is Raise.Me, a free platform that helps students earn micro-scholarships for achievements starting as early as 9th grade.
Market your skills
The traditional part-time job can be extremely helpful in paying for college. But often, it doesn’t quite cut it, or students struggle to find the time to put in enough hours. For some extra income, try picking up some gigs or contract work.
If you’re adept in a certain subject, offer to tutor your classmates. Teach English to students around the world. Or market your skills—such as photography, design, writing, editing, or social media—on a freelancing platform.
Set up some passive income
Setting up a passive income stream is always a good idea. Passive income is essentially something that takes a bit of work to establish in the beginning, but then takes little to no work to continue making money afterward. You could blog, sell an online course, or invest in stocks and mutual funds. Students and parents can even take on real estate investment projects together, such as learning to flip houses or placing a room up for rent.
Sell your stuff
Here’s one great way to make a little extra change: Go through your belongings and sort out the things you don’t use or don’t need. If it’s still in fair condition, place it for sale on eBay or Facebook marketplace. Or if crafting is your thing, you can sell homemade decor, accessories, or clothing articles on Etsy.
Test websites and apps
Another simple approach to earning money in your spare time is to test and review various websites and apps. Besides WiFi connection, all you really need is the ability to give honest feedback on what works and doesn’t work for an excellent user experience.
Budget and save
In addition to making money, saving money will be instrumental in your ability to pay for your education. Learn to keep a simple budget that tracks your monthly expenses and income. Cut back on expenses where you can—cook meals from home instead of eating out, use public transportation instead of paying for a car, or choose activities that offer discounts to students.
It’s exciting to get an education and work toward your career dreams. This is an incredible opportunity, and it’s definitely worth the time and effort it takes. These 6 tips can help you get started on making a plan to pay for this experience (some of them might even help round out your college resume, too). You have a lot to look forward to—keep your eye on your goals, keep up the good work, and keep moving forward.
Success starts with a small step, every day.
This guest article was written by Tiffany Park, an experienced writer for WiseGeek.