College tuition costs continue to rise. Parents often struggle to manage the costs even with substantial financial aid, and students are (justifiably) fearful of the debt they’ll amass trying to pay their own way. The hope of course is that action will ultimately be taken to reduce student debt burdens and lower the cost of college. For the time being though, lots of families need to find creative solutions — including parents adopting side hustles to pay tuition.
- Benefits of Side Hustling to Help You Save for College
- Side Hustle 1: Crafting
- Side Hustle 2: Blogging
- Side Hustle 3: Proofreading
- Side Hustle 4: Transcribing
- Side Hustle 5: Taking Paid Surveys
- Side Hustle 6: Selling Art
- Side Hustle 7: Selling Photos
- Side Hustle 8: Selling Baked Goods
- Side Hustle 9: Testing Products
- Side Hustle 10: Secret Shopping
- Side Hustle 11: Altering Clothing
- Side Hustle 12: Tutoring
- Side Hustle 13: Assisting With Test Prep
- Side Hustle 14: Teaching Private Lessons
- Side Hustle 15: Teaching Online Courses
- Side Hustle 16: Personal Training
- Side Hustle 17: Coaching or Refereeing
- Side Hustle 18: Web Design
- Side Hustle 19: Accounting
- Side Hustle 20: Tax Advising
- Side Hustle 21: Social Media Management
- Side Hustle 22: Babysitting
- Side Hustle 23: Pet Sitting
- Side Hustle 24: Driving An Uber (or Lyft)
- Side Hustle 25: Driving for Delivery Services
- Side Hustle 26: Cleaning Homes
- Side Hustle 27: Doing Yard Work or Gardening
- Side Hustle 28: Becoming a Virtual Assistant
- Side Hustle 29: Work as a Doula
- Side Hustle 30: Renting Out Your Car
- Side Hustle 31: Brewing Coffee
- Side Hustle 32: Life Coaching
- Side Hustle 33: Writing Books
- Side Hustle 34: Illustrating Books
- Side Hustle 35: Starting a Podcast
- Side Hustle 36: Starting a Food Truck
- Side Hustle 37: Performing in Public
- Choose the Right Side Hustle
Benefits of Side Hustling to Help You Save for College
Chances are, if you’re familiar with the term “side hustle,” it’s primarily with regard to young adults working full time for the first time. These days, we often expect young people to be working “day jobs” and “side hustles” simultaneously as they look to save up money and establish financial independence. But this isn’t the only use for a side hustle. It can also be a worthwhile venture for a mom — and perhaps a single mom in particular — looking to manage college tuition costs.
Usually, conversations about managing those costs begin with talk of savings, and this is perfectly logical. If you’re a mom hoping to pay for some or all of your child’s (or children’s) tuition costs, you should be looking for ways to save. If you start early, you can take advantage of a variety of methods that help to build on savings over time, and ultimately establish very useful funds that can be applied to tuition checks when the time comes. At the same time though, savings options do fundamentally draw money from your existing income. They are effectively costs that affect your bottom line, perhaps for years at a time.
This speaks to the key benefit of adding a side hustle to your tuition plans. While savings drain your core income, a side hustle provides you with extra income — allowing you to make additional money that you can funnel directly toward payments (or perhaps directly into a savings account, deepening on timing and arrangements). Of course, a side hustle still requires time and effort. But it’s fair to think of it as a way to make extra money for tuition, rather than to further drain the core income you depend on as a working mother.
The other key benefit, as we just alluded to, is that by generating extra income, you may be able to add generously to a savings account or similar, stable investment that can appreciate over time. If, for instance, you are managing a 529 plan for college costs, the money within that plan grows by a small percentage each year. Funneling side hustle earnings into the plan gives you more money that can appreciate over time, rather than just more raw funds.
Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits of side hustles for moms looking to manage college tuition costs, let’s look at some of the best specific jobs worth considering.
Side Hustle 1: Crafting
With so many ways to sell goods online today, a lot of moms will develop profitable side hustles simply making and selling their own goods. Whether that means homemade tee shirts, jewelry, household decorations, or Christmas ornaments, if the products are well made they can be sold online.
Side Hustle 2: Blogging
It takes strategy and diligence to make a profitable blog. But if you know what to write, you speak to a particular audience, and you learn some SEO basics, you can generate enough attention to make some money simply writing in your free time.
Side Hustle 3: Proofreading
Students and professionals alike are always in need of proofreading services, and today you can easily link up with clients for this kind of work through freelancing sites online.
Side Hustle 4: Transcribing
Like proofreading, transcription services are always in demand on freelance platforms (such as Upwork and others like it). It tends to be easy work to perform in free time, and while pay isn’t lucrative, it does add up.
Side Hustle 5: Taking Paid Surveys
There are all sorts of opportunities to answer paid surveys, and some of them take only minutes at a time. This is a job a working mother can do in a carpool line, at the park while younger kids play, etc.
Side Hustle 6: Selling Art
This is a terrific side hustle for working moms who happen to have a talent for art, naturally. But here again, the internet and social media have made it much easier to sell valuable work. In time, a mother with talent in this space can even develop what is essentially a personal business, generating more and more meaningful income as attention and appreciation for the work spread.
Side Hustle 7: Selling Photos
Everything we just noted regarding art applies to photography, for those who have more skill in this area. Here too though we’ll also note that stock photo sales can make for a handy side hustle, because profits can be generated for work already done. That is, even if you’re only making $1 per download on a photo, those dollars may keep coming in for months or years.
Side Hustle 8: Selling Baked Goods
For those moms who have a talent for baking (or making any sort of treat, really), there is also some potential to generate meaningful side income. Whether through online or local sales, there’s always a market for tasty goods!
Side Hustle 9: Testing Products
Numerous services exist that help to pair willing participants with product-testing opportunities, both digitally and in person. Simply by trying out a product in your own time and offering your thoughts on it, you can earn some decent payments.
Side Hustle 10: Secret Shopping
Once in-person shopping returns to a normal activity level (after the pause of 2020), secret shopping will be an option that some will actually have fun with. This is basically a practice by which a company will pay people to browse through its stores and report on the quality of the service.
Side Hustle 11: Altering Clothing
This is another option in the craft and artistry department. But for moms who are skilled with alterations, there is always the option of setting up a part-time local business.
Side Hustle 12: Tutoring
Tutoring is an excellent part-time option that can sometimes involve fairly appealing rates. Sometimes online but particularly in person, a skilled tutor can reasonably ask for $50 an hour or more.
Side Hustle 13: Assisting With Test Prep
This is very similar to tutoring. But for those moms who want more guaranteed business, test prep is a sort of tutoring niche that makes for a great side hustle. There will always be kids seeking help with standardized testing, and helping them with the process is both rewarding and profitable.
Side Hustle 14: Teaching Private Lessons
It’s a broad category, but teaching a skill — be it in music, sports, art, etc. — is also an excellent side hustle. Here, as with tutoring, $50 or more per hour is a reasonable ask, meaning the extra funds can really add up.
Side Hustle 15: Teaching Online Courses
In a similar vein to tutoring and teaching private lessons, moms with expertise in certain subjects also have the option of setting up full online courses. This can take a fair amount of work, as it involves conveying expertise and doing the marketing work that will attract paying students or subscribers. But the real appeal is that a well-made online course can be used repeatedly to generate more profits from new students.
Side Hustle 16: Personal Training
For moms with experience in fitness, personal training is also an excellent option. Particularly if there’s an opportunity to take on a few client at one time, side income from an activity like this can quickly add up.
Side Hustle 17: Coaching or Refereeing
Moms who enjoy sports can also have a little bit of fun with a local side hustle participating in youth sports. At parks and community centers and the like, there is often a need for children’s team coaches or referees. These can sound more like demanding jobs, but the truth is they usually involve just a few hours’ work each week.
Side Hustle 18: Web Design
Web design is always in demand, and a mom with particular skill (and a track record or examples to prove it) can command very competitive rates in this department. Whether through a personal website advertising services or through freelance platforms, regular, high-paying side work can be generated.
Side Hustle 19: Accounting
Accounting can be a little trickier than some of these options in that you’ll typically need qualifications to get good, paying work. At the same time though, a working mother today has the option of pursuing an online accounting degree today, and acquiring those qualifications cheaply and affordably. This can lead to substantial income through remote, freelance accounting work for companies in need.
Side Hustle 20: Tax Advising
As with accounting, tax advice is something people tend to look to the experts for. However, if you can prove understanding and capability — and offer more competitive rates than professional CPAs — it is possible to generate good business. Plus, a mother who does good work advising others on taxes can quickly accumulate referrals and good reviews that in turn lead to more business.
Side Hustle 21: Social Media Management
Businesses today need to maintain social media activity to remain competitive, and a lot of them are looking for help doing it. Finding even one company that will pay to have its accounts maintained can make for a very profitable side hustle
Side Hustle 22: Babysitting
This idea more or less speak for itself. But for mothers who may have a few hours to spare in a given week, it’s still a great side hustle option.
Side Hustle 23: Pet Sitting
Even more manageable than babysitting is pet-sitting! Particularly for moms who may work at home, taking on a pet or two to help out a neighbor or friend can result in what is almost passive income. A few walks and feedings are easy enough in exchange for a nice chunk of change
Side Hustle 24: Driving An Uber (or Lyft)
Driving for ride-sharing services has become a very popular side hustle. Not all moms will have the time or flexibility for something like this, but those with older kids may be able to work in a bit of of driving in early evenings or on the weekends. The money isn’t lucrative, but it does add up.
Side Hustle 25: Driving for Delivery Services
It’s difficult to say whether or not delivery services will remain as popular once the pandemic is behind us (this article being written in early 2021). But for the time being, driving for grocery and product deliveries (through services like Postmates, DoorDash, etc.) is a nice, easy way to earn some extra cash.
Side Hustle 26: Cleaning Homes
For those moms who don’t mind the work (or even enjoy tidying things up), cleaning others’ homes is always an option too. It’s not at all unreasonable to charge $100 or more for a few hours of cleaning, such that even doing this a few times a month can add up to a nice bit of side income.
Side Hustle 27: Doing Yard Work or Gardening
For moms who love to be outside, or enjoy working on gardening and landscaping, this is one side hustle that can be the best of both worlds! Lots of people will pay handsomely to have their yard and gardens spruced up, particularly for those moms who will offer more competitive rates than larger landscaping services.
Side Hustle 28: Becoming a Virtual Assistant
This is a relatively new concept in the side hustle world, but one that can provide quite a lot of reasonably well-paid work. Ultimately, tasks for virtual assistants can range from managing appointments, to doing remote reception duty, to arranging travel, and more. But the general idea is to become an all-purpose virtual go-to for a given company’s need during defined hours.
Side Hustle 29: Work as a Doula
The work of a doula can seem like professional medical care at times, but the truth is you do not actually need certification or a degree to perform this role. It might be reassuring to clients of course, but it is possible for a mom seeking a side hustle to step right into doula work. It won’t be the most regular work, but it’s rewarding and profitable, and can of course be done alongside other side hustles.
Side Hustle 30: Renting Out Your Car
Just as Airbnb has enabled people to rent out their homes, there are now services that temporarily rent out cars as well. For any mom with the flexibility to manage this, it can be an excellent opportunity for passive side income.
Side Hustle 31: Brewing Coffee
This is an idea for which it’s important to be careful about weighing costs versus profits. But the opportunity to brew one’s own coffee can be quite a lot of fun, and can even result in something of a home business. Sourcing beans, working out a specific recipe or gimmick, and marketing fresh-brewed coffee locally is side hustle some moms will enjoy exploring.
Side Hustle 32: Life Coaching
Life coaching may be somewhat vague, but it’s also a fairly in-demand service. For those moms who feel they can inspire or motivate, or who have personal stories of overcoming obstacles in life, it’s certainly another option to explore.
Side Hustle 33: Writing Books
Writing a book takes a lot of work, and can certainly become a full-time job. However, thanks largely to self-publishing options and online sales avenues, a lot of people find that they can generate relatively modest profits on simpler projects. That might mean writing a personal guidebook regarding a given experience or skill; it might mean penning an original children’s book. Whatever the case, if it goes well it can result in at least a few thousand dollars to put toward a college fund.
Side Hustle 34: Illustrating Books
Similarly, some moms with a talent for drawing or graphic design may also find work illustrating books. A lot of authors ultimately wind up seeking illustration help, either for covers or for pictures within books, and some of hem (or in some cases their agents) will pay well for the help.
Side Hustle 35: Starting a Podcast
Podcasts aren’t easy to make a lot of money on, but they can generate some profits through subscriptions, patronage, or even ads. So moms with good ideas in this department may as well give it a shot!
Side Hustle 36: Starting a Food Truck
This is a little bit more of a side business than a side hustle. And as with brewing coffee, it’s an idea with which it’s important to measure costs versus revenue to ensure profitability. For a mom with a talent in a certain area of cuisine though, starting a food truck can produce meaningful side income.
Side Hustle 37: Performing in Public
Working as a performer — be it through music or something similar — is also a good way to bring in some cash now and then. On a busy city sidewalk or in a town public square, a talented performer can sometimes gather anywhere from $20 to $50 in an hour of work!
Choose the Right Side Hustle
So there you have some interesting ideas! Choosing the right side hustle for you will of course depend on your own talents, abilities and circumstances. But hopefully the breadth of suggestions above inspire you to give it some thought. You can choose from all kinds of side hustles for moms that can help with college costs. Some of them are even enjoyable or rewarding as well!
Written by: Lena Cusi