Image: Unsplash/Ethan Hua
Despite what most people think, being a college student doesn’t mean being broke. There are plenty of ways to make and save hundreds of dollars every month without leaving campus. Or even changing out of your pajamas for that matter.
These reliable and legitimate money moves will help get your finances in order, right now.
1. Scan your receipts to save money
I get paid to go grocery shopping and you can too. Wondering how? With the free Ibotta app.
Just scan your shopping receipt and Ibotta will instantly pay you based on your purchases. I recently got paid 75 cents to buy Milk, $5 for beer and $1 for pasta. How awesome is that?
To sweeten the deal, Ibotta is offering a massive bonus for new college users – a bonus $10 when you scan your first receipt! This one is essential.
2. Turn saving money into a game and win real money
People spend billions of dollars a year playing mobile games (yes, that’s correct, billions with a b). That money doesn’t amount to much of anything (except for some time playing Candy Crush), but wouldn’t it be nice if you could play games on your phone and have your wallet be the one that sees a boost for a change?
That’s exactly what the new app Long Game does. Start saving money using the app, and you’ll start earning points which you can use to play games. This is where the app gets really good: Start winning at the games and you’ll earn prizes including cold hard cash (up to $1,000,000).
On top of getting to play games, you’ll be earning interest on your savings while you start to build a nice nest egg for yourself.
To get started, download the app, link your bank account, and open your own FDIC-insured Long Game savings account. You’ll even get 300 free bonus Coins plus up to 3,000 free bonus Coins when you make your first deposit.
3. Make beer money with survey sites
Surveys let you earn easy money at college. The problem is most sites are difficult to use on your phone. The ideal solution is an app – and SB Answer from Swagbucks is the best bet for busy people who want to earn on the go.
The app has hundreds of high-paying surveys many of which can’t be found on Swagbuck’s main website. Best of all, the app is perfect for students who still want to earn some easy extra income. You can earn by taking surveys and fun daily polls anywhere from your lunch break at work to your favorite coffee shop.
Once you’ve earned enough SB (the app’s “currency”), it can be redeemed for gift cards to stores like Starbucks and Target. There’s also a PayPal payment option if you prefer real dollars.
4. Invest in the stock market with just $5
A common investing misconception is that you need lots of money to start. While that used to be the case, services like Stash allow college students to begin investing with as little as $5.
Stash lets you buy fractional shares of Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), meaning you can invest exactly the amount you want. ETFs are baskets of shares, so you aren’t taking on the risk of investing individual companies.There are over 40 investment themes to choose from depending on your risk tolerance and social beliefs.
It’s important to fund your account immediately after registering to start investing.
5. Earn some quick cash
Most survey sites have their own requirements for the minimum amount you can cash out. If you want money fast, Survey Junkie is your best option.
The site has thousands of high paying surveys available which can be completed anywhere on pretty much any device. Best of all, the payout threshold is just $10 so you can cash out your earnings to Paypal, a checking account or as a gift card super quickly. That extra cash can be huge if you’re budget is feeling a little tight.
6. Reduce Your Phone Bill In Minutes
Truebill’s goal is to lower your bills. Period. Sign-up for Truebill and either log-in or snap a photo of your bill and Truebill’s negotiators will get to work finding hidden discounts and promo rates you would never have been aware of otherwise. Just a few of the companies that Truebill has negotiated with include AT&T, Spectrum, and Comcast. There’s zero risk to see if Truebill can get your bills lowered because you only pay if they are successful. Customers have attested to saving hundreds of dollars a year thanks to Truebill.
7. Become a Lyft driver
Given the crazy earning potential if you become a Lyft driver, it’s worth thinking about if you own a car.
Lyft is looking for people over 21 who own their own car to be drivers. According to their website, drivers can earn up to $800 working just Friday nights and weekends – not bad for an easy side hustle!
To get an overview of how much you can make, just enter your driving hours and location on their website and you’ll get an immediate summary.
8. Save money for when you need it without trying
Budgeting for all of your expenses from textbooks to your groceries is hard stuff. Sometimes when you run out of money at the end of the month you have no choice but to dump stuff like groceries on a credit card with a high-interest rate and hefty fees.
There’s a better way, though. Digit is an app that automatically pulls small amounts of money from your checking account throughout the month so you can start saving for the end of month squeeze without even realizing it. No more getting to the end of the month with no money left for food.
Digit also has a great new feature that will help you start paying off your credit card debt the same way!
9. Get cash back when you shop online
There is nothing like earning cash back for shopping in the exact same way you normally would. Here’s how: Simply sign-up for Ebates, and continue shopping online at your favorite stores from Amazon to Walmart, all while earning cash back. Of note: Every retailer available on Ebates offers a different amount of cash back, usually between 2 to 3%. Make sure to check the “Flash Cash Back Stores” tab on the site to find the special cash back offers (we’ve seen up to 22.5%)!
10. Start a stock portfolio by buying your morning coffee
Planning for your future seems like a stressful headache waiting to happen, especially when it comes to planning out your finances. You financial future is important, but it shouldn’t take a lot of time, effort, or money out of your present day-to-day life.
Enter Acorns, the investing app that wants to help you invest in your financial future without really noticing.
Working along the theory that a little money a day goes a long way, Acorns Core automatically invests your spare change and you can begin investing with as little as $5. You can invest that $5 once or on a regular basis into an investment portfolio designed by world renowned Nobel Laureate economist Dr. Harry Markowitz and made up of ETFs from well known investment management companies like Vanguard and BlackRock.
Acorns offers other perks for your spending habits such as their Found Money application. With Found Money, every time you shop at one of the 200+ Acorns Found Money Partners, these partners will automatically invest in your Acorns account. It’s a cashback option with an investment twist.
Earn money going grocery shopping – Ibotta
Earn some quick (and easy) cash online – Survey Junkie
Get rewarded for saving money – Long Game
Start investing in the stock market with just $5 – Stash
Make money on your phone – SB Answer
Automatically save for the end of month without trying – Digit
Lower your phone bill in minutes – Truebill
Invest automatically with your spare change – Acorns