While winter break can be a time to relax after a busy semester at college, you might also want to use this time off to replenish your bank account. From working a side gig to selling stuff online, there are many creative ways to make money in the winter, when classes are on pause.
With this extra cash, you could cover living expenses next semester or even start paying off the interest on your student loans.
Ready to get started? Here’s how to make money over winter break, with 10 possible strategies:
- Find out if your school has on-campus jobs
- Sell your books from previous semesters
- Pick up extra shifts
- Reach out to a former employer
- Take care of pets
- Find babysitting gigs
- Run errands via TaskRabbit, Instacart or a similar service
- Airbnb your apartment
- Sell used clothes or other items
- Grow your side hustle
If you’re staying on campus during winter break, you might be able to pick up an on-campus job. While some offices close over vacation, there should be at least a few job opportunities open. And if the usual employees went home for the holidays, you might be able to step in and fill in while they’re away.
There could also be specially reserved slots for you: At Vassar College, for instance, the on-campus jobs that are available over winter break are designated for students who are international or have high financial need.
Reach out to career services or the financial aid office to see what’s available.
Do you still need last semester’s books? If not, consider selling back textbooks to your bookstore or via an online marketplace, such as Chegg or CampusBooks.
While you won’t get a huge windfall from selling textbooks, this extra cash is better than letting them collect dust in the corner of your dorm room.
If you already work off campus, you might be able to pick up extra shifts from other students who went home over break. Restaurants, cafes or other local businesses that hire college students could have additional hours available for students who choose to stay on campus over break.
Likewise, some retailers hire extra seasonal workers during the holiday shopping season, so keep an eye out for these kinds of jobs for college students.
Students who are heading home for the break could try reconnecting with a former employer to find work. Maybe you waited tables last summer or worked as a cashier at your local bookstore.
By reaching out to your previous employer, you might be able to pick up some shifts while you’re home over winter vacation.
If you’re an animal lover, look for opportunities to make money by taking care of people’s pets. The website Rover, for instance, matches pet sitters with pet owners who are going out of town.
And Wag! helps you find dog-walking gigs around your neighborhood. While dog-walking probably isn’t the most lucrative side hustle, it could be a fun and flexible way to earn some cash while helping out your neighbors (both human and canine).
Babysitting is another great job for college students, as it’s usually flexible and offers a relatively competitive pay rate.
If you’re staying at school, check out your college’s job board to find babysitting gigs in the area. And if you’re heading home, try asking friends and family or use a website like Care.com to find gigs.
If you’re open to running errands or shopping for groceries, sign up for a side hustle with a company like TaskRabbit or Instacart.
With TaskRabbit, you can get paid for a wide variety of services, including shoveling snow or helping someone move.
Through Instacart, you could get paid to shop for or deliver groceries. With these flexible side gigs, you can choose your own hours and make some money during your time off from classes.
While you can’t rent out your dorm room, you might be able to offer a room if you live in an off-campus apartment on Airbnb. This global marketplace has a useful calculator so you can see how much money you could make on your room.
As long as your roommates and landlord are OK with it, you might end up with some passive income while you’re home for the holidays.
Do you have old clothes crowding up your wardrobe or other items you’ve been meaning to get rid of? If your stuff is in good shape, consider selling clothing for a profit.
Consignment marketplaces like thredUP, Poshmark and Tradesy help you sell gently used clothing online, while eBay and VarageSale are also good options. If you take this route, you could make extra money and declutter at the same time.
Selling unwanted stuff can also be done with a mobile app, as it’s one of the ways to make money on your phone.
If you’ve been growing a small business on the side, use winter break to ramp up your efforts. Maybe you offer freelance writing or web design, or perhaps you’ve created a blog that makes money through affiliate marketing.
This break from school could be the perfect time to recommit to your side hustle and boost your profits.
Since winter break only spans a month or so, your opportunities for work are probably limited to part-time gigs and one-off jobs. Fortunately, side hustle websites like some of those mentioned above make it easy to find flexible work.
And if you’re staying on campus over the holidays, you could likely pick up shifts from other students who are traveling.
Start searching for opportunities before your break so you have something lined up. If traditional job opportunities fall through, consider other ways to make — or save — money. You might spend your winter break applying for scholarships, for example.
Other money-saving strategies include:
- Sharing travel costs with fellow students if you’re heading back home for the holidays
- Relying on stores with student discounts for your holiday shopping
- Combing through your budget for expenses to cut
While you should give yourself permission to relax between semesters, you could also use this time to shore up your college finances before next semester.
Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.