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Winning Essay: My 5 Ways to Earn Extra Money
Money is a complicated subject. Many of us struggle to earn enough of it. Even if we do, we still find ourselves worrying if we will have enough money in the future. Things can go wrong in an instant which can leave you with unexpected costs. We all strive for financial stability, and the fears of instability can take their tolls. I check my bank account daily stressing about how past, present and future purchases are affecting or will affect my life. You should not be scared to make purchases. If you are, you may not be earning enough. Now, I am but a poor college student paying a significant portion of his tuition and all his living expenses with his own money. That is why I have had to find ways to earn extra money whenever I can. Every dollar truly does help.
The first and most effective way to earn extra money is to work as much as possible. This may be obvious to many people, but if you work whenever you can, you will make a lot of extra money. I have found that not many people do this, however. They are either unwilling to put in extra hours, or they are unaware of their ability to. You can indeed work while you are not in school. During winter and summer breaks, I put in at least 40 hours a week at my job. I work more if possible because overtime pay means 1.5 times your average, base pay. Working on holidays means the same. On Christmas, I earned 1.5 times my base pay for working on a holiday as well as 1.5 times that new wage for working overtime. So, work whenever possible while on break. You can also work part-time while you are in school though. College is a full-time job on its own, but you will no doubt have free time each week. I have found that filling some of that free time with an hourly wage is yet another way to work whenever possible and earn lots of extra cash.
The second and surprisingly effective way I have found to earn extra money is to donate plasma. Your first visit will only take a few hours. They run a few tests to determine your eligibility and then you are on your way. The only requirements are that you are in good health, you weigh over 110 pounds, and you have not had any piercings or tattoos within the past 12 months. I especially like to do it because every visit is much quicker after the first. Depending on how much you weigh, it is possible to make up to 400 dollars per month donating plasma while only dedicating 1 or 2 hours a week. Donating plasma has the added benefit of not only helping you but also helping others. You can save lives and make extra money doing it.
My third way to make extra money is by recycling. My roommates and I thought of doing this after hosting a party and seeing how many cans were left over. Taking your recyclables to a recycling center is a great way to earn extra cash. On average, aluminum cans and plastic bottles can be redeemed for about 5 cents. In individual states though, you can make 10 cents for every aluminum can or plastic bottle you recycle. Making money by recycling does not require you change your whole life. I find it to be kind of fun. It makes cleaning more interesting. All you need to do once you have finished a bottled or canned drink is rinse it out and put it in a separate bag. I use the extra grocery bags I keep after a trip. You can even take recycling cans to a higher level like I did. I talked to my neighbors and took their aluminum cans off their hands. Depending on how many neighbors you have, this can multiply the amount of extra cash you pull in by a lot. Now, obviously, if you do not want to dedicate too much time to recycling or you do not think taking this extra step is not worth it, just stick to recycling your waste. All it requires you to do at that level is develop one small habit and take a trip to the recycling center once or twice a month.
My fourth way to make extra money is to take the money you already have and make it work for you. You can do this by investing it. My father tells me the best place to invest is a mutual fund. He states that a mutual fund has the best balance of risk and reward. You may make some money; you may lose some money. At least there is not a high chance of losing it all though. Personally, I have a better grasp of cryptocurrency, digital forms of exchange designed to be traded on the internet. They work similarly to stocks such that the market demand determines their value. If more people want to buy them, the price increases. Likewise, the value decreases if many people are selling them. That is where I have chosen to invest most of my money. It is undoubtedly a much riskier place to do it. However, when it comes to investing, I always remind myself that no matter what the risk is I should never put more money into something that I am prepared to lose.
My fifth and final way to earn extra money is with online surveys. I have only done a few, and I do not think this is the most efficient way to make extra money. That being said, if you have already invested all the time it is worth for you to invest in these other options, you still have free time and financial need, I recommend taking some online surveys. There are plenty of companies out there who are looking for feedback and data from everyday people. They are not willing to pay hand over fist for your feedback, but they will undoubtedly compensate you for your time. All you have to do is answer some questions, maybe test a new product, and some companies will give you 3 or 4 dollars for certain surveys. If you like seeing new ideas and giving your opinion on them, this may be your new favorite way to earn extra cash.
There it is. From the perspective of a college student working every day to pay his bills, those are my 5 ways to earn extra money. Some methods are easier than others, but none of us can reasonably expect money to fall into our laps. I am more than willing to work for my money, and I have been since I was 15 years old. I have found that life is all about maximizing your time and if this essay can help even one other person do that I will feel great about it.