(BPT) - Let's face it - college is expensive. Whether you're still in school trying to pay for textbooks and housing, a professional facing your student loans or a parent saving for your child's future tuition, the cost of an education can result in debt that looms for decades. More people are finding that full-time jobs are not even beginning to cover the costs. Today's gig economy and sharing economy offers many different avenues to supplement your budget and ease the burden of education-related expenses, all while providing flexibility and self-determinant hours.
Drive for a ride-sharing service.
Do you have a car, auto insurance and some spare time? Ride-sharing apps, like Uber and Lyft, offer an opportunity to make quick cash by driving riders in your local area, using your own vehicle. Drivers work as independent contractors and receive a payment based off of how many hours or miles are logged each week. 'They make it extremely easy to make quick money if I need it,' says Aidan Monheim, a student at the University of Massachusetts-Boston who drives for Lyft in his spare time to earn money for utilities and other bills. 'It allows me to be flexible around my classes and earn money without working a set number of hours a week.'
Rent your room.
Another 'side-gig' opportunity that is gaining popularity is the home-sharing industry. Apps like Airbnb and HomeAway connect would-be travelers with locals willing to rent out rooms, or their entire home. Simply list your place on the site, and screen candidates based on your preferences. By listing your residence during peak travel times and arranging to stay with friends or family, renters can earn supplemental income for their education, with very little effort.
Become a direct seller.
Direct selling provides a flexible opportunity for people to make additional income on their own terms, and within their own networks. Take Nakul Arora, for example, who became an Amway Independent Business Owner to help pay for business school. Amidst earning his degree, working full time as an accountant, and studying for professional certifications, 25-year-old Nakul worked his direct selling business in the evenings. 'I saved every penny I earned through my Amway business to help pay for my education,' says Nakul. By joining a successful company like Amway, a global leader in direct selling, you can share and sell high-quality products to your friends, co-workers and colleagues to earn additional income. The unique flexibility of direct selling offers an opportunity for you to work as little or as often as you want, around traditional day jobs, classes, family, or other responsibilities.
Work for a home services company.
Often described as the services used by those with more time than money, apps like TaskRabbit, Handy, Thumbtack and HomeJoy offer opportunities to get paid for home cleaning and maintenance work. Seemingly simple tasks, such as cleaning a home, mowing a lawn or assembling a piece of furniture can run up to $50 an hour. And the best part? Like Uber, direct selling and other gig economy services, you work on your own terms and can make your own schedule around studying, work or other commitments.
Sell your old stuff.
Is your closet piling up with unwanted clothes and shoes? Maybe you have spare furniture cluttering your storage space, or a drawer full of old electronics. Why not turn your clutter into cash? Apps like ThredUp, PoshMark and LetGo offer opportunities to sell your stuff in an auction-like setting, and do all the work for you - simply list your items, watch them get purchased and place them in a shipping bag that is provided by the company. Selling old items is an easy and painless way to make extra money for tuition, textbooks, or loans.