As college students get ready for a new year of classes, there's a lot more to worry about than Shakespeare and molecular biology. With the recession in full swing, colleges are raising prices at just the time when students and their families are least able to afford it. Worse, a tight job market has made it difficult for some students to raise cash the old-fashioned way: working. Since I'm headed back to college in the fall too, I came up with five ways that you can raise cash for college.
- Selling your old books is one option. In the video, I sold mine at The Strand, a gigantic used book store in New York City. But if you have a little bit more time, used book stores are a terrible place to sell your books. They have to buy them at wholesale prices and then mark them up. Selling books yourself on sites like Amazon and Half.com will allow you to make a lot more money.
- Most college students have a lot of stuff that they spent a lot of money on and don't need any more: Video games, books, and even used shopping bags from Abercrombie & Fitch or Gucci can have value on eBay. Curious about how much your stuff is worth? Just look it up on eBay and see what it's selling for.
- Babysitting can also be a way to earn great money -- especially if you live in an area with a lot of wealthy families! How profitable can babysitting be? Just ask Kevin Federline. Britney Spears agreed to pay him $20,000 per month in child support.
- But by far my favorite way to raise cash for college is selling sperm. To learn more about that, I visited the New York City office of Cryos International. The only rub with sperm donation is that it can be hard to qualify: You need to be in good health with a strong family history of good genes, and your sperm have to have high motility. But if you meet the criteria and aren't terrified by the notion of having children all over the world whom you don't know, this can be a fantastic way to make money.
- After you've raised some cash, you'll need a bank account. Even if you already have one, this might be a good time to open a new one. A number of banks are offering cash to people who open new accounts: But be sure to compare account fees and minimum balance fees before you sign up. Check out the Bank Deals blog to learn about who's offering what.
Bottom line: Look around your house, and you'll probably find plenty of ways to raise cash for textbooks. And if that isn't enough, look within and you just might find something very valuable.