Best Side Gigs for Parents to Pay for College
Paying for college can be daunting. Ron Lieber, the author of The Price You Pay for College and a parent himself, tells Road2College: “As a two-journalist couple in New York City, even with very good, full-time jobs, it’s hard to save enough to put any college within financial reach. Having been on financial aid myself, I have always hoped that, for my daughters, money wouldn’t be the primary college concern. So to try to make that happen, we do side work writing books, which helps us save more than we otherwise could.”
Some families have the means to save for many years to be able to afford tuition, while others research paying for college much later. Even if your child is hustling to work summer or high school jobs to help pay for college, it might be comforting to look for side hustles as parents to help ensure that you can send your child to college without worry. Thankfully, there are many ways to do so. Here is a list of some of the best family side hustles, and side gigs from home that may be realistic for a busy schedule.
As a parent driving your children back and forth from school, sports practices, and social events, this might be something you are already doing all the time! Many parents work and are not always available to get their kids to the important places they need to be during the day. Word-of-mouth, flyers, and services like Hop Skip Drive, a driving service for kids in a few select areas, is a great side hustle for parents which helps out other parents.
Alternatively, you could drive passengers for Uber or Lyft or make deliveries for companies including Amazon, DoorDash, Uber Eats, Instacart, or Grubhub. These services are provided through apps, and drivers have flexibility over their hours.
Caregiving and Babysitting
Whether this is looking after children, caring for elderly folks in your area, or acting as a senior concierge, there are plenty of opportunities to make connections with families and individuals in need of extra support. Pet sitting and dog walking can also be a lucrative way to make some extra cash if caring for four-legged friends is more your style.
Hosting a Rental
Renting out property or spare rooms is a great way to earn money without much extra effort in your schedule. This could be through websites like Airbnb if you have a space that could host guests. You can also sign up for other services that can connect you with people looking to rent cars or other items.
Teaching Skills and Services
Do you have a skill that could help people? Some ideas for online or in-person classes include tutoring for a variety of ages and subjects, music or athletic lessons, foreign language, or crafting. A Facebook user in the Road2College Paying for College 101 group shared, “I teach kids in China English (VIPKid). Every penny I make goes toward tuition. It’s been a game-changer for us.”
Additionally, just like skills, you can also think about what services you may be able to offer. Do you know how to sew or tailor clothing? Do you enjoy gardening? Consider making flyers or posting on social media to advertise these skills and services.
Paying for College 101 members suggested part-time gigs that include tips such as bartending, catering, waiting tables, valet parking, and working tables at casinos. Others suggested getting involved in your local school district as a substitute teacher, lunch aid, or youth sports referee.
One of the best side gigs from home is selling products and goods. If you’re crafty you can open an Etsy shop or join another online marketplace to sell anything from knits to artwork. Or you could clean out your closet or playroom to see if there is anything you could sell.
A Facebook user in Road2College’s Paying For College 101 group shared their experience selling items as a side gig to pay for college. “I took on a project a few years ago of selling magazine back issues on Ebay. I earned over $3,500 of profit for the part-time hours that I put into it,” they said. “While that may not seem like a huge life-altering ‘side gig,’ it was combined with other ways that I’d found to increase income and/or reduce expenses.”
Writing for Websites, Publications, or Other Organizations
This is another great option for those with writing skills who would like to work from home. Websites like Upwork and Indeed can connect you with freelance writing jobs copywriting for a wide variety of businesses.
With regards to advice about side gigs to make money, another member of Paying For College 101 shared, “where there’s a will, there’s a way! So many opportunities out there.”
If you do some research, you can find fun and fulfilling opportunities that will fit your schedule.
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