How to Find Work Fast During a Down Economy

find work fastThe economy continues on a path of mediocrity, the stock markets present almost daily doses of whiplash to investors, and just this week the U.S. Census Bureau released a report on poverty in the United States (hint: it’s increasing). If you or someone you know is unemployed or under-employed, it’s time to evaluate every income producing option available – even those options that are less than ideal.

I’ve worked for well over 100 employers (no, that’s not a typo or an exaggeration). I know a few things about finding a job, and quickly, when the chips are down. So if the landlord is banging on your door, your car is running on fumes, or you just need to pay for a decent sandwich – then I’m your own, personal “expert” at finding work in a hurry. Read on…

Swallow your pride and do something “beneath” your abilities.

This is no time to think that “you’re too good” for whatever it is that you don’t want to do. Here’s one trick to use when searching for so-called “low status” jobs: try looking for work in towns located some distance from your normal “stomping grounds”. This way, people you know won’t find out that you’re delivering pizzas or working at McDonald’s (the ones that they might patronize, that is.)

No matter how rotten the economy is, the same industries always seem to be seeking workers. Many businesses involved in the retail, restaurant, seasonal, leisure, agriculture, and trucking industries are always hiring. And don’t forget call centers, also. (By the way, if you decide to look for work at a call center, try to grab a position that involves “inbound” vs. “outbound” calls. “Outbound” means: you’ll be cold calling people just as they sit down for dinner. Not fun.) Remember: a little “hard time” at the crummiest greasy spoon in town may well help you get a management position at a respectable nightclub in the future.

Deliver pizzas

This one really isn’t bad, and probably gets a worse rap than it deserves. To get paid to deliver a major staple of the American diet, you’ll need three things: wheels that you don’t mind putting some mileage on, a reasonably decent driving record, and insurance. Don’t bother with this type of gig if any one of these is missing. You’ll get tips, which means you’ll have cash – always.

You can work whatever schedule is convenient for you (though, obviously, weekends will be more lucrative). Bad weather means better tips. You can listen to whatever you want on the radio, and pull over and use the cell phone at your convenience. Bonus benefit: free food! And, if you’re single: you’ll certainly encounter cute members of the opposite sex, either co-workers or customers.

Start a hauling and/or moving business

I did this once – and wound up with a business that lasted over two years. There are now national franchises that are making millions from hauling away junk from homes, garages, and storage units. If you have a pickup truck and/or trailer, a cell phone, work gloves, and a willingness to get paid to excercise – you can be in the hauling business. When I ran a junk hauling business, I used local weekly small-town newspapers to advertise.

Running classified ads in these types of papers is pretty cheap, and they always yield at least a handful of phone calls. You can use online classifieds like Craigslist, of course – but so is your competition. Besides, many homeowners don’t bother calling service businesses listed in Craigslist because they don’t trust those businesses, or take them seriously.

Play the numbers game

It’s obvious that you should be using the web to look for work. But try the old school method of “pounding the pavement” – since so few others do this these days. Find the area near you where the half-dozen (every town has this area) fast-food joints are located near one another.

Or go visit your local mall. Grab applications at each store, take them home, then fill them out (it’s a more laborious process than you think – do it at home, trust me). Then return those completed applications in person. Try to hand your application over to the store manager on duty. This will leave an impression on that particular manager that you’ll never be able to deliver via cyberspace. You may even receive an interview on the spot – I’ve had this happen to me several times when the business in question needed workers immediately.

Get a commercial driver’s license

This idea only applies if you have a decent driving record, no felonies, and you’re single. If you aren’t single, you soon will be – if you go OTR (trucker parlance for “over the road”). You’ll be away from home for weeks. In fact, some drivers don’t bother having homes and instead live out of their trucks. Which, actually, will save you huge amounts of money – but cost your social life dearly.

Now, you can also drive “local”, but these driving gigs are far more difficult to get, especially for newer drivers. Most local driving gigs involve 10-12 hour days anyway, so even these will greatly impact your non-working life. I’ve worked mostly local gigs, and made great money doing them. But, I like my downtime. A LOT. Which is why even the most lucrative local driving gig, for me, only lasted three years. (However – I paid off huge debts during that period.) Having a “CDL” means you’ll always have work (if you want it).

Use temp firms

Yes, there is a lot not to like about temp firms. Most treat applicants like ten-year-olds, take a cut of your hourly pay, and will waste a lot of your time before sending you to a gig. Temp firms tend to want you at their office, in person, so that they can run you through a battery of tests to prove you aren’t a complete moron. Ironic, since many temp staffers are. (I’m not a fan of temp firms, in case you didn’t notice.) On the other hand, maybe you don’t care, since you need cash immediately.

Let’s face it – in any economy, the temp firms usually have something (anything!) Don’t kid yourself, though – many temp firms are trying to fill lousy gigs with warm bodies – the kinds of gigs that in-house H.R. departments gave up trying to fill. Some firms, of course, are worse than others. The worst part about applying for work via a temp firm is watching the dummy videos that nearly every temp agency forces prospective employees to watch. Painful.

Volunteer, or work for free

If money isn’t really that pressing, and/or you’re fortunate to have a side income or partner who brings home the bacon, then thank your lucky stars. Go visit a volunteer website and offer your time to someone less fortunate (there is always someone less fortunate than you.) Find a cause you can get into and help out. Even a couple hours a month is welcome. You can also work for free (Different from volunteering; I’m talking here about donating free work to a for-profit organization.)

I’ve noticed that sometimes “experts” on job hunting will occasionally suggest that you work for free. This may (“experts” claim) lead to a paying gig. I suppose that might be the case, sometimes. I doubt it, though. I’ve worked for “free” as a freelancer on several occasions. Not once did doing so get me paid work. I don’t recommend doing this, but it’s an idea worth including here.

Some job hunting sites are better than others

I have had good luck finding full-time and part-time work through classified sites like Craigslist and; not so much with the larger job-related “megasites” like or CareerBuilder. The latter two sites are overloaded with listings from recruiters, who will waste your time more effectively than actually find you paid work.

The former two sites, however, are filled with job listings from employers looking for help and who need to hire quickly. Beware of scams, however – especially with Craigslist. Never send a prospective employer your Social Security number via e-mail or via an online job application until you are sure of who you’re dealing with. That said, there are far more legitimate job opportunities on the online classified sites than scams – just be careful. If a job opening sounds to good to be true, it’s likely a scam.

Just because you’re a college graduate (and especially if you aren’t) doesn’t mean a good job is your birthright. Quit expecting your “dream job” to fall out of the sky, and look for work beyond “your field” (do people still use this phrase?) Your field is wherever the work is, right now. A paycheck derived from driving a taxi is better than no paycheck at all.

(This has been a guest post by Matt Henterly, a developer of The BuckTrak Budget Planner, a free online financial manager for individuals and small businesses.)

My Buzz Cut Saved Me Over $1,000 in College

buzz cutYup, you heard that one right.  I cut my own hair during college and saved over $1,000 during my four years there.  This is a tip that helped me graduate college debt free!

Now, I know this won’t apply to the female readers, but it definitely does to the guys out there.  As a male in college, you have a huge money saving opportunity.  Cutting your own hair can save you a significant amount of coin.  You won’t be able to have the “cool haircut” but it will be cost effective.  That’s me on the right.  And yes, that’s a 4 wheeler that my buddy owned.  Man I miss that thing!

OK, so back on topic.  I’m going to give you an in-depth analysis of the cost break down and how these savings came to be.  I’m going to assume a couple things and make this straight forward and simple.  There is no doubt in my mind that if you follow this guideline you too can save over a grand during college by simply cutting your own hair.

So, I was a freshman, brand new to the University of Washington.  I didn’t come from a family with money, so I was always looking for ways to cut expenses and save more of my money.  What better way to cut expenses than to cut expenses that you can control?  It was like a light bulb went off and buzzing my own hair became second nature to me.

I think it was my birthday and I had a buzzer on my list.  My Grandma ended up buying the hair clipper kit for me and I was well on my way.  Looking back, I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about a present before.  Maybe it had something to do with all the money I was going to save the next few years haha.

I was off and away.  During college, I ended up buzzing my hair once a month, not only to keep it short and looking sharp but for some odd reason, my hair grows really fast. I would typically get a professional haircut once a month, so this type of schedule came naturally to me.

Let’s dive into the typical haircut costs for me.  I’ll also touch on hair products and the associated costs for them.  Let’s assume one haircut a month and one shower a day for four years.  Here is the breakdown:

Professional barber cut= $15

Tip= $5

Bottle of shampoo/conditioner (mid range)= $7.50

Hair gel= $5.00

TOTAL= $32.50/month

$32.50 x 12 months x 4 years= $1,560


Cost of cutting my own hair?  FREE!

Yes, you’re seeing that right.  I saved a grand total of $1,560 during college by avoiding these costs!

Now that you know what I saved, you might be asking about the costs associated with cutting your own hair?  Well, for my situation, my only cost was time (usually would take me 20 minutes to buzz cut my hair) and maintenance of the hair clippers I received as a present.  Even if you had to pay for the clippers, I think the nicest ones in the store will run you $40.  You’d still be saving $1,520 if you had to buy your own clippers.  That cost is  negligible  since you’re saving that much over a long period of time.

Now that you know the cost savings associated with buzzing your own hair, let me give you some tips!

  1. Having a friend around to help is always nice.  Hitting certain angles can be hairy (no pun intended).
  2. Move slow with the clipper for a finer cut.  Moving too fast will grab at chunks of your hair.
  3. Always  perform a final pass through.  This will take care of stubborn hairs and hair at awkward angles.
  4. Use a hair guard that comes with the kit and try to shower right after.  This is your best bet for keeping your bathroom looking clean!
  5. Oil the hair clippers after each use.  This keeps the motor running smoothly and keeps the blades running sharp.
  6. For your convenience, don;t worry about blending in hair.  If you’re going to do a buzz cut, simply use a single number blade and it it on your entire head.

There you have it guys.  A real life, tried and tested method for saving money during college.  I’ll give you a warning though.  If you do this, the most  random  people will come up to you and ask if you’re a Marine.  Trust me, it’ll happen a lot.  At the end of the day, if you’re like me and want to save money during college, this was a strategy that saved me a significant amount of moolah’.  I totally understand if this won’t work for you or if you don’t want to buzz cut your hair.  There are plenty of other ways to save money during college.  Everyone has their own story and things they like to do.  For me, this came natural and I personally loved my buzz cut!

READERS: Would you ever consider this money saving strategy?  What other strategies have you used to help ease the burden of college expenses?

Honey, the Kids are Moving Back Home!

moving homeWhen parents raise their kids and get them up to that all-important age of 18 years old, they are prepared to say goodbye. This is because the teenager is usually moving on to their own, independent life either by going to college or getting out into the working world. These days, however, there is a new trend of college students moving back home in order to save money. What’s going on? After all, aren’t college kids the ones who like to go out and party? How in the world can they enjoy living back home with mom and dad?

Although many parents are sad to see their kids leave for college, commonly called empty nest syndrome, most of them get used to the idea of their new lives. In fact, many parents relish the idea of having the ultimate freedom to do what they want in life after finally raising their child to 18 years old. That’s why it can be quite an adjustment to have your grown college student living back in your house. This leads to the question of how can you make the process of living together again less of an imposition? Here are some ideas and tips to get you started when you find out that your college kid is moving back home:

Boundaries from the get-go

You have to think about your college student moving home almost like you’ve just taken in a tenant. There should be boundaries and rules put into place for what you will and won’t accept in your house. For instance, is there a specific time that you want the house locked down for the evening? Many parents don’t want their college student to be coming and going at all hours of the night like they are living in a dorm. As the owner of the home and the landlordâ, you are perfectly within your rights to set up rules that they are expected to follow.

Delegate some chores

Just because your college student is moving home doesn’t mean that they are relieved of housework duties. If they are going to be living in your property, they need to have certain cleaning tasks that they take care of. Remember that you’re trying to prepare your college student for the real world after they graduate. Letting them be a slob around your house is not teaching them anything.  I remember when some of our Composite doors had been abused and my Mom asked me to clean them.  It was my chore and I did it!

Paying your fair share

Financial contributions: Even though your college student has moved home due to financial reasons, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t contribute something to the household. Even if it is as simple as paying a quarter of the electric bill each month, your student needs to understand that they have to pay their way in life. Most college students have some kind of a part-time job to pay for their car insurance and gas. Sit down with them before they move in to decide what part of the bills will be theirs to pay. You don’t want them to move home and start living off of you again because that will only set them back from becoming independent after they graduate.

Teaching opportunity

For some empty nest parents, having a college student move back home can be a wonderful thing. You might feel great about getting to take care of someone else again. However, remember that your needs are not the only ones in play here. It’s much more important to make sure that your college student gets a real world wake-up call. The whole purpose of sending them for higher education is so that they can go out and be independent in their lives. You want them to be successful not only in their career, but also in their personal life. That’s why having these boundaries and rules in place is so important.

How to Save Money by Renting College Textbooks

textbooksWould you like to know what the most annoying college expense is?

College Textbooks!

Tuition is expensive, but we are resigned to pay it and its largely unavoidable (without the use of financial aid of course!). Housing costs are understandable (after all, if you want to live in a cheap run down frat house that is your call…) Meal plans are expensive, but they are optional for upper-class men.

The one expense that keeps nagging each and every semester like a horse fly in the south Georgia heat, is the ridiculous cost of college textbooks.

A quick stroll through any colleges’ on-campus bookstore will reveal that the average price of a new textbook is over $100. This means that for a full course schedule, you can expect to pay anywhere from $400-$800 per semester for books. Highway robbery, I know!

What is even more grating, is that you almost always have to buy new textbooks because publishing companies have learned that they can publish a new edition of a textbook every semester, and upcharge students a premium for just a few updated words and a swanky new cover.

The final straw happens when you go to sell back your books at the end of the semester. Your on-campus bookstore will be more than happy to stare you in the face and tell you that will give you $15 back for that Chemistry book you payed $120 for, not 3 months ago. They then turn around and sell that again next semester to some unsuspecting student for $80 as a “gently used” textbook. It’s disgusting!

The best way to avoid boosting the bottom line of your bookstore, and saving a considerable amount of money, is to rent your textbooks.

Renting textbooks is a relatively new trend, but it is one that makes sense. If you plan to sell your book back at the end of the semester, then you can rent the exact same textbook and save a lot of money and the hassle of fighting the crowds at the bookstore on move-in weekend.

Here are three of the most popular textbooks rental companies:



Chegg is the original. They were the pioneers for textbook rentals and they still dominate a large portion of the market, as the premiere online textbooks rental and sales company. This company has raised over $100 mil. in venture capital, which is a great sign that they have business savvy. Their website is simple and easy to use.

They even allow you to put in the name of your college, to get the “inside network” of each of your courses. This allows you to know exactly which textbooks you need to buy. Chegg has also started e-book textbook rentals which allows you to download digital copies of their textbooks at an even lower price. This also prevents you from hauling around heavy textbooks between classes.

You simply find the book you want (they have millions), purchase it online, Chegg ships it to you, you use it for the semester, and you ship it back. That’s it. Super easy, and you can end up saving a ton of money. They estimate around $400 per semester in savings, and I believe it!


2. Textbook Rentals

Textbook Rentals is a relative newcomer and in my opinion, one you really need to avoid. Their basic business model is to refer you back to Amazon and Amazon Marketplace to purchase the book. This referral won’t cost you any money, but it earns an affiliate commission for Textbook Rentals. This is completely ethical, but if you are going to be referred to Amazon anyway, why not just go visit the real thing…



Amazon has millions of textbooks and they all generally sell for much less than you would pay in your on-campus bookstore. Amazon has been so successful because they have perfected their logistics and inventory control. This allows them to move their massive storage of inventory around the country with ease.

So when you want to buy a textbook, you should check out Amazon first.

They do allow you to rent textbooks via their Amazon Kindle. This will only give you a digital copy, so it obviously would not work if you absolutely need the hard copy. However, the cost savings through using digital copies on a Kindle are tremendous. You can typically save up to 80% of of textbook prices by renting through the Amazon Kindle.



This is the final Textbook rental company worth comparing. These guys offer free shipping both ways, 30 day risk free returns, no membership fees, and live customer support. They also boast that they have the largest selection in the nation, but I find it hard to believe they can compete with Amazon…


Which one to choose?

I would recommend trying multiple companies. You will buy textbooks every semester, so if you try one company and it does not live up to your expectations, simply ditch it for another. You also might be forced to go with the largest provider of Amazon, if you need an obscure textbook that is not carried by one of the other smaller textbook rental companies.

Bottom line, is that you have the ability to save a lot of money off of your textbook cost each semester, and you won’t have to worry about getting taken to the cleaners by your on-campus bookstore ever again!

(This has been a post submitted by DJ over at Money for College Project as part of the latest Yakezie blog swap.  head over to his blog for more epic articles!)

photo by albertogp123

Alcohol Consumption Puts College Students in Credit Card Debt

beer moneyAccording to the Trends in College Pricing 2010 report compiled by The College Board, the average estimated undergraduate budget❠for a   student during the 2010-2011 academic year is $20,339 for a four-year public school and $40,476 for a four-year private school. These numbers factor in tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation and miscellaneous expenses. But do those numbers include the $500 a year that Rachel Barrington of the University of Wisconsin claims the average college student squanders on alcohol?

Gayla Martindale’s estimate in her article, A Look at the Spending Habits of College Students, posted on the blog is somewhat jaw-dropping: Each year, American college students spend $5.5 billion on alcohol.❠That’s a lot of money to be pouring down the hatch, especially in light of the fact that most students enter the workforce after having earned their post-secondary degree, carrying debt that they accrued along the way.

So how is the average, financially-strapped college kid affording all of this booze?

Some students spend using credit cards. In fact, most students â“ some 75% of females and about 70% of males â“ have 1-3 credit cards. The cost of teenage alcoholism is high, from the expenses they incur during their drinking sprees to the toll it takes on their health.  Plastic is used by many to charge school necessities such as books, supplies, and even tuition. Credit cards are relied upon by students for discretionary spending as well. While it can be advantageous for a student to begin building his or her credit score while still in school, the risk is that the temptation is there to fund fun nights of drinking with friends while sinking into a pit of debt.

According to a 2009 article published by Sallie Mae, entitled How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards, Undergraduates are carrying record-high credit card balances. The average (mean) balance grew to $3,173, the highest in the years the study has been conducted. Median debt grew from 2004’s $946 to $1,645. Twenty-one percent of undergraduates had balances of between $3,000 and $7,000, also up from the last study.â

At California State University Fullerton, workers in their administration office claimed that their institution sees more students discontinue their education due to credit card debt more often than due to academic failure these days.

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) uncovered in a 2009 article that A recent survey of more than 30,000 first year students revealed that nearly half were spending more hours drinking than they were studying.â

That means many college undergrads are opting to drink away dollars that would better serve them by being put towards school-related expenses. In turn, perhaps less drinking would result in fewer students dropping out due to their insurmountable debt.

If it’s true that, as Caralee Adams reports in her article Lack of College-Educated Workers Will Hurt Economy, Americans that have graduated college with a bachelor’s degree earn an annual salary that is an average of 74% higher than those earned by workers with only a high school diploma. Students who focus on overdrinking during college, rather than studying, may be doing much more than merely drinking away time and money that could otherwise have been better spent. They could very well be drinking away their future earning power.

photo by greencolander

The Truth About Cost Differences Between Online and Traditional College

If you hear someone mention online college, the first thing you probably think of is the University of Phoenix, which so far has been the most popular of web-based college learning environments. But even if online degrees aren’t your thing, surely you’ve at least wondered if there’s a cost benefit to taking classes online instead of by visiting a campus. The truth is that while savings are definitely apparent, the true nature of the savings isn’t so obvious. Here is how it really breaks down:

If Schools See Savings, They Don’t Pass it Onto You

It’s obvious that schools are going to shave off the costs of keeping lecture halls heated and cut down on the amount of carpet cleaning that needs to happen if more students simply attend their courses online, but such savings are miniscule. Miniscule when compared to the overarching costs of the institution’s research budgets and other big projects. By removing yourself from the campus you don’t do much to help a school save money and so that in and of itself isn’t going to net you significant savings.

The Savings are What You Make of Them

Instead, the money that can saved by attending classes online is determined entirely by the student. While the tuition itself won’t change, you can avoid the high costs of living on campus and commuting when not having to physically travel to a campus. But this is based on the idea that you’d otherwise be living in a dorm or driving daily to your university. If neither are the case, then savings❠are imaginary.

If the Education was Cheaper, So Would the Degree

It’s important to remember that education is priced ideally in accordance with its quality. The degree program that costs significantly less online than it does achieved in the real world indicates that the quality of education was itself reduced. To employers, this doesn’t look too good. But to aspiring students, this should be as equally unacceptable. The ultimate savings you can hope to achieve when getting an online education amount to about $5000 during the course of a four-year degree pursuit. Anything less will be the result of a hindered education relative to that of competitors.

The difference in costs to the college is nominal. For students, its a matter of their personal situation. Either way, the simple truth is that nothing remarkable separates either experience from the other. They both provide the same level of learning and as such are priced about the same. Picking one over the other is simply a matter of personal preference.

15 Tips to Graduate College Debt Free Guaranteed

graduate college debt free

Read the title of the article again, “15 tips to graduate college debt free guaranteed.” Are you ready!?  The premise sure is exciting.  If you have had people tell you it’s impossible to graduate college without debt, they are just flat out wrong.  Yes, it depends on where you go to school.  If you end up going to Harvard, or a California school, or any of the random midwest colleges in Akron, you’re still bound to have some debt after you’re done.  Harvard or any of the ivy leagues just aren’t worth the money.  It’s a much better route to stay in state and go to a public university.

There is a lingering myth out there that everyone graduates with a mountain of debt.  It has been done by more people that you think, you’d be surprised!  You can graduate college debt free just like I did.  OK, now time for the tips.  Check out the following and I hope they help you on the path to financial freedom.

    1. Finish in four years or less.  Yes, this will mean serious studying.  Why not graduate on time and avoid paying another year of tuition right?


      1. Work part time during the week and full time on the weekends.  This income will add up quick.


        1. Spend summers working as many hours as you can and putting that money toward a dedicated college fund for the coming tuition year.


          1. Avoid buying the latest and greatest gadgets.  It’s tough, but you should exercise self-control.  For all you know, those gadgets were purchased by their parents.  Don’t buy into the hype!


            1. If you move away from home, always live with roommates and even put multiple people in bedrooms.  This can cut down your rent bill  significantly.


              1. Go to a community college your first two years.  I regret doing this.  My little brother is doing this right now and saving thousands.


                1. Make a budget using  I highly recommend their budgeting software.  Set your budget and live by it, never break it.


                  1. Fill out the FAFSA and mail it in.  It’s hit or miss with the government.  Free money is free money, it’s worth a try.


                    1. If you pay cash for tuition, write it off on your taxes.  I paid little if any taxes during my college days because I paid my tuition in straight up cash.


                      1. Keep up  excellent  grades.  High grades can automatically qualify you for scholarships.  Don;t let these free money opportunities slip away.


                        1. Don’t buy into the “good debt”  philosophy.”  There is no such thing as good debt.  My doctor is still 75k in debt.  He’s been working for 15 years…


                          1. Off-set your college costs by joining ROTC.  Yes, you will have to serve after college, but joining the military is never a bad way to go.


                            1. Own a credit card but pay it in full each month, not just the minimum payment.  you will kick yourself in the butt if you postpone paying your card off.


                              1. Start college classes in high school if you can.  Most high schools pay for the cost of tuition, they encourage higher education learning.  Don’t miss this opportunity.


                              1. Look into campus jobs that offer free room and board in exchange for your time and service.  If you run the math on this one, this is an obvious great choice.

                              5 Tips for Broke College Students

                              college students

                              Even though the majority of your college costs are being paid by your parents or by the proceeds of student loans, money may still be tight. You still have to survive every day and to do it on limited expenses. How do you do that?

                              The best way is usually with a combination of expense reductions, behavior modifications and, if necessary, with fresh sources of income.


                              Cut expenses-

                              The best way to cut expenses is to cut at least a little from several categories:

                              Food. Even low cost restaurants can get expensive if that’s where you’re eating most of your meals. The more you eat in, the more you save. Stocking your room with microwavable foods can provide quick, inexpensive alternatives.

                              Entertainment. The quick solution here is to cut back on the frequency. Bars and alcohol not only cost money, but they can also lower your resistance to spending money. And if you smokeâ¦now would be an outstanding time to quit!

                              Clothing. With some patience, you can buy clothing at thrift stores for no more than ten cents on the dollar.

                              Transportation. If you use public transportation, consolidate your trips so you don’t need to use it so much. Fewer trips will mean fewer fees paid. And even if you have a car, use the campus shuttle as much as possible. The more you do, the less gas you’ll need to pay for.


                              Ditch the credit card-

                              There are two problems with credit cards: 1) you’re likely to spend more by using them, and 2) the bill that comes next month, plus interest!

                              When we pay with credit cards it doesn’t quite feel like we’re spending our own moneyâ”perhaps because until the bill comes in we aren’t! In that situation we’re tempted to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt when we’re not sure we can afford something, meaning we’ll buy it now and trust that we’ll be able to afford it later. But when you’re a college student, later is never better!

                              Pay cash for what you need, and the credit card balance will begin to drop each month, freeing up more cash for current expenses.


                              Keep yourself busy-

                              When we’re bored we look for activities to fill the hours and provide some distraction. That usually involves spending money! The more down time we have, the more we’re likely to spend.

                              Fill the hours by doing homeworkâ”which is your main purpose for being in school. And if you have so much time that you’re still looking for something to do when all of your homework is done, fill some of those hours by earning some money.

                              The worst course of action is to float around campus (or town) with cash (or a credit card) in your pocket and time to burn.


                              Find a part time job-

                              Don’t just find a job, but one that will either compliment your course schedule or help you prepare for life after college.

                              Some jobs that might work well with your school schedule include:

                              1. Getting a job with the college itself
                              2. Tutoring other students in subjects where you’re strong
                              3. Writing blog posts for websites where you have an interest
                              4. A weekends-only job off campus that will keep your weekdays free for school work

                              If you’re more ambitious, or have a greater need for income, see what kind of work is available in your field of study. This is also a way of thinking long term. The earlier you can begin working in your chosen field the greater the advantage you’ll have over other students at graduation. It can be the simplest kind of work, but sometimes just having the name of a relevant employer on your resume can be a huge advantage.

                              My perfect college job: I worked as a security guard during some of my college years. That’s one of those jobs where you’re paid more to be there than to actually do anything, so I and other college students there spent most of our work time doing homework. Because I was earning money while I was doing homework the job nicely complimented my school schedule. Can you find something similar?


                              Go part time for a semester or snag some financial aid-

                              Sometimes the answer to your money problems is to take a temporary breather. By cutting your school schedule back to part time for a semester or two you’ll free up your time to workâ”maybe even full timeâ”to save money that can make the balance of your time in school easier to handle.

                              In addition to having more time to earn money, the reduction in your course load can cut back directly on school-related costs enabling you to save even more money. True, it will extent the time you’ll be in school overall, but it may also be a pause that refreshes you for the final push.
                              From a financial standpoint, college is often a matter of muddling through, of finding ways of doing a lot with very little. It can seem like an uphill fight, but it may help to realize that the budgeting skills you’re leaning along the way will be among the best skills you’ll acquire in college.  Get creative and embrace the effort!

                              Another option to to seek out some financial aid.  Many colleges offer fair financial assistance such as the  University of Phoenix financial aid  program.  Check them out, I think you’ll like what they offer!

                              Go get’em and don’t give up on getting through college!


                              (Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, Out of Your Rut. He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids.)