Economy pushing students to make money creatively

Kristine Philips

When the economy gets tough, those strapped for cash get creative.

With retailers and other companies announcing major job cuts in the shrinking economy, college students are looking elsewhere than the “traditional” college jobs to make money.

From services to good sales, students are trying new ventures to make some extra cash.

“We were just worried about needing money,” said freshman journalism student Nina Cordero, who does nails with Tasha Castro for students. “It just scares us about the economy and not having cash. College is expensive.”

Castro, a freshman majoring in pre-medicine and biology, said the two started doing nails after they couldn’t find jobs in the area. For $15, students can get their nails done, as opposed to the $30 or more it would normally cost to have them done in a traditional salon.

Although they started small, they now have about two clients per day.

“We do it on our own time, and it doesn’t interfere with classwork,” Cordero said.

Graduate student Stacy Puzo also found time in her schedule to make some extra cash.

With her journalism classes, a graduate assistantship and a child to raise, she has a considerable amount of responsibilities and little free time. But she has found a way to use her creative hobbies as a way to generate a small supplemental income.

An avid knitter, Puzo makes toys, clothes and accessories to sell on the Internet. She uses – an eBay of sorts for homemade goods – as her portal. The Web site allows members to control their own prices and list items whenever they want.

“If you’re smart, you can definitely make a lot of money,” Puzo said. “I think a Web site like this definitely gives people an opportunity to shop around. It’s positive for the economy because you’re helping someone who needs the money and putting it directly into their pockets.”

Although her business has been slow since Christmas, she hopes it will pick up again after people get their tax returns and have money again.

“I know I’m getting hits,” Puzo said. “I know people are looking at it, but it’s just a matter of finding the right buyer for the right item.”

Plasma donation is one area where students can make some cash, no matter what the state of the economy. With donation centers paying up to $300 a month for multiple donations, students can increase their income with two weekly trips to the nearest donation center at ZLB Plasma in Akron.

“This is a perfect activity for a college student,” said Christine Kuhinka, manager of corporate communications for CSL Behring, ZLB Plasma’s parent company. “They are helping out people, but they can also make a little extra money.”

Kuhinka said donations have gone up since 2005. Although the number of donations has risen overall, the number of donors has stayed consistent. As people can donate up to twice a week, the potential for helping people while making additional cash is an attractive option for an “altruistic group” like college students, Kuhinka said.

Students who live on campus, though, have to be careful with attempting any sort of money-making venture. Residence Services regulates businesses run from student dorm rooms. Residence Services director Betsy Joseph said students must seek approval “to ensure that it did not conflict with the mission or core values of the department and/or Kent State University, or violate any law or university regulation.”

Joseph said the reason for this regulation is because student residence halls are often seen as targets for solicitation.

“We want the residence hall environment to be one that promotes learning and student success,” Joseph said. “As part of our overall efforts to promote a safe and secure learning environment in the residential buildings there are rules/guidelines to restrict activities that we believe could negatively impact those efforts.”

Students can contact Residence Services to find out more information.

While the economy shows no signs of immediate improvement, these creative ways to make money could be the best way for students to survive the tough economic times without putting additional pressure on their parents for cash or needing to take out additional loans.

“I’ll definitely keep doing it because I love it,” Puzo said. “It’s something that I enjoy doing, and if I can make some money, then great.”

Contact general assignment reporter Kristine Philips at [email protected].