Making easy money as a student!

Are you a student that has spent a few too many dollars at Kingpin donuts and Berkeley boba shops and needs a little extra spending cash? Getting a job can be a big commitment, in fact I’ve tried and failed to juggle multiple paid positions at one time. If you’re looking for a more low-key way to make money, here is an easy way for students to earn some cash.

1. Sign up for studies through the Xlab, which runs experiments through Haas School of Business and the psychology department. As a freshman, I earned something between $500 and $1000 over the year from actively participating in these cool studies. They can be anywhere from hour-long social experiments to four hour experiments in an MRI machine, or with a cap of electrodes on your head. I recommend you skip the short, low paying studies and go for the longer psych studies where you can earn $50+ dollars per study. With the flexibility of the Xlab portal, you can choose from different dates and times to fit in between your busy schedule. Additionally, some of my friends have done contact lens studies through the School of Optometry. If you’re around Pimentel, they always are posting for participants, just know you might have slightly wonky vision one day as they test out different prescriptions.

Look at some of the cool studies available to any UC Berkeley student!

2. Take surveys online through sites such as Opinion Outpost or Swagbucks. I used to spend a few hours a week doing this, especially when I had downtime during the summers. You might be asked to rank different beverage brands, watch a few short video clips, or just report your daily habits, and in exchange you can earn gift cards, such as to Amazon, iTunes, or Starbucks! This is not a super profitable method for your time, but I found that about a 5 minute survey could earn me fifty cents, and over time you can make big earnings.

3. Try tutoring! Even if you’re not comfortable instructing at the college-level, you can still put your skills out there to help high school students or younger. An easy way to advertise your tutoring is through Craigslist, or I recommend going on Nextdoor where neighborhoods network and eager parents are looking for academic support for their students.

4. Look through work study opportunities or browse through Handshake for low commitment jobs. Obviously, you want to bring your best foot forward, but working for the Berkeley libraries or a desk shift for a building, for example, allows you to have some downtime where you could theoretically do homework in between customers.

While these are some great side jobs that can earn you a few dollars here and there, I encourage you to also “earn” money by saving it! If you’re moving out of the dorms, think about the savings of making your own coffee versus buying it everyday, because $3 everyday is several hundred dollars out of your pocket. Hope these suggestions might work for you to start saving up!


Author: Katia Gibson

Hello! I'm Katia, a senior chemistry major and Cal Teach minor, and you'll either find me in the 24 hour library studying or out chasing sunsets on my long runs. I'm a Bay Area native and I also do work in the environmental community, research in an organic chemistry lab, and dance with Ballet Folklorico Reflejos de Mexico. Hoping that I can share a little bit of Berkeley's magic with you all, go bears!