Oct 2, 2007

Is your wallet running on empty?

by Christie Messer, Life Reporter

    Tuition, books, computers, vehicle registrations and living expenses leave many college students broke without much time to get a job due to demanding classes. If students are not being sponsored by a parent, family member or friend and did not save up during the summer, they may find themselves reaching between couch cushions and checking under beds for spare change, frustrated because of their lack of cash.
    To add to the problem, Lynchburg is not the easiest place to find a job.  Many employers will turn down students looking for work because they know they will ask for time off for fall break, Thanksgiving, a month for Christmas and then the whole summer. In addition, many students find themselves frustrated after filling out several applications and never getting hired.
    However, there is good news. Making money during college is not impossible.
    Take senior Matt Hastings as an example. Hastings was sick of being hungry before convocation, and he envisioned a way for students, like himself, to satisfy their stomach on their way into the Vines Center. As a result, Hastings devised a plan to sell biscuits to students entering convocation.
    Hastings set up a special deal with the former Myrt’s owner, and he began to sell biscuits and orange juice before  convocation. 
    “After the first convocation, students began bringing their money with them. I was selling 65-70 biscuits consistently every convocation,” explains Hastings. “I was walking away with about $80 profit every convocation, thus $240 a week, [which is] not bad for about six hours of work a week.”
    Hastings’ business was cut short after Sodexho informed him that they were the only company allowed to sell food on campus.
However, Hastings did not stop there. After consulting with other students about the overpriced textbooks from the bookstore, Hastings researched a way for students to find their books cheaper. Knowing that college students would appreciate lower prices, Hastings invested in a Web site where students could purchase their books at a lower cost than Liberty’s bookstore. 
    After finding wholesalers and setting up an online purchasing system, Hastings’ business, My LU Book Store, was underway. Many students found it very helpful and easy to use. There were some who were apprehensive, fearing a long shipping process. However, in the end Hastings’ project paid off. 
    When asked how this affected Hastings’ life as a student, he said, “It alleviated some of the financial pressures that comes with being a college student. I learned practical, out-of-classroom business skills and realized that I can make my dreams come true.”
    Obviously, not everyone can pull off Hastings’ business endeavors, but they can be inspired by his creative efforts in making money. Of course, there are other ways to get a little extra cash during the school year. Many students resort to serving at a restaurant in order to have a constant flow of cash. Other students make money by baby-sitting for Lynchburg families.  Some even sign up to work a few days at a local calling center, InService America, when there are special events taking place.
    In addition, healthy students can donate plasma twice a week, earning up to $200 per month. The donation process is similar to that of giving blood. According to www.biolifeplasma.com, the plasma is separated from the blood and used to create a variety of life-saving products, such as medicine. The process does not hurt and takes two hours on the first visit and 90 minutes on the following visits. For those interested in donating plasma, call Lynchburg’s Plasma Center at (434) 237-6861.
    However, according to YoungMoney.com, a good saving plan is for students to cut back on unnecessary expenses and set a budget plan in order to manage their money. Consider this: money saved is money gained. Another way of having extra cash is cutting back on eating out and frequent shopping trips. 
    For most everyone, making money is a different story. Nevertheless, there is always a possibility. ?

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