Make a quick buck

Being a poor college kid is no fun. Been there, done that, didn’t have enough money for a post card.

There’s got to be a way to earn some cash that doesn’t involve going to the parents, begging for money and then consequently being told, “I just gave you money. Where did it go?”

Let’s explore some methods.

Donate PlasmaThere’s often an ad in The Oracle from DCI Biologics saying it “wants to pay you $150-$170 per month.”

I’ve never done it, but Amber Fly, a USF alumna like myself, goes twice a month to donate plasma. She says it doesn’t bother her to give plasma, and it’s an easy way to make some money.

DCI Biologics’ Web site says that “most adults between the ages of 18 and 65 who weigh at least 110 pounds and are in basic good health are eligible to donate plasma.” However, students who got a piercing or tattoo within the past year, have a history of hepatitis or cancer, lived in Europe for a prolonged tim, or don’t have the proper identification cannot donate.

The Web site says the process takes two hours the first time a student donates and an hour for each subsequent visit. There’s a physical examination and a picture taken for the files before the student gets to sit in a comfortable chair. According to DCI Biologics, an average of nine pints of blood from women or 12 pints from men are temporarily removed, and then the plasma is separated and stored.

Not only does it benefit students monetarily, but also it’s a good deed. People with hemophilia, newborns and their mothers, burn victims and several others benefit from receiving plasma donations.

Sell stuff.

If students have a talent for doing something, they might be able to earn some spending money out of the process.

Tara Wasserman, a junior, makes and sells hemp jewelry.

“My sister taught me how to weave hemp into jewelry, and when a friend showed interest in buying them, I began taking custom orders. When demand grew large enough, I started making extra quantities and carrying them around with me,” she said. “My business grew by word of mouth.”

She says the complexity of the item determines the price. “A simple necklace will cost around $5, whereas a complicated one with more beads and weave styles would run $10.

Bracelets are normally $2, and anklets are $3,” she said. “(Selling them) definitely helps me out with groceries.”

But that’s not the only perk.

“I love being able to create something that someone else enjoys. You don’t know how cool it feels when you walk by someone and they’re wearing something that you made,” Wasserman said.

Another option is to sell books. The USF Bookstore, Gray’s Books, and Books & More are all nearby textbook stores that sell and buy used books. Just Books on Fletcher usually buys literary novels that students might have gotten for those English and literature classes.

One word of caution

Easy money may sound great, but there is that saying that if something is too good to be true, it usually is. I equate credit cards with that. Those credit card hawkers by Cooper Hall and the library who tell students that they can get free money, T-shirts or radios are NOT friends.

According to, “The average credit card debt owed by college students is about $2,700, with close to a quarter of students owing more than $3,000. About 10 percent owed more than $7,000.”

Undeniably, credit cards are important. Students need to build good credit in order to qualify for loans or buy things like houses and cars, but students should try to limit their number of credit cards, pay bills on time, pay more than the monthly minimum (or else the interest charges could add up) and pay back student loans when able.

Sherry Mims is a USF alumna and the former features editor.