How can I make a lot of money?
July 4, 2006 10:54 PM   Subscribe

I'm serious... being a graduate student barely pays the bills. It drives me crazy that I'm a 30 y.o. guy with no house, essentially no savings (say $10 000), and no 401K. But I do have heaps of flexibility and quite a bit of free time. I am good with computers and math and so on. Any ideas on how to make as much money as possible, spending say three or four hours a day? I don't want a regular job, my immigration status does not allow me to work off campus. A cut of the profits to the best answer... :)
posted by tabulem to Work & Money (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If you're good at math, you could make some decent money tutoring.
posted by jplank at 11:05 PM on July 4, 2006

texas hold 'em.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 11:13 PM on July 4, 2006

I second jplank: Private tutor (independent or through a company)
- you could do it on campus
- charge anywhere between $20-50/hr depending on subject and demand
- do you speak a foreign language? big money in language tutoring or translating
posted by imposster at 11:48 PM on July 4, 2006

Standardized test prep courses (Kaplan, Princeton Review) are always hiring and training instructors on the SAT, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 11:57 PM on July 4, 2006

On preview: I missed the "regular job" bit since the test prep companies hire part time on a contract basis. But I guess your immigration status may still be an issue. My apologies.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 11:58 PM on July 4, 2006

Write freelance articles

eBay large items for those who don't want to handle it themselves, charge for services and/or take a cut
posted by GaelFC at 11:58 PM on July 4, 2006

What subject are you a grad student in? If it's a technical field you should make a lot when you graduate, right?

If you're really good at math, including doing it without a calculator you could take an Actuarial Examination. In the US all you have to do to be an actuary is pass the test, that's it! Kind of like passing a bar exam to be a lawyer, except it's all math. Actuaries make tons of money, and again all you have to do is pass the test.

I'm sure you could find a telecommuting job as an actuary if you passed some of the test levels.
posted by Paris Hilton at 1:20 AM on July 5, 2006 [2 favorites]

If you have "quite a bit of spare time," why not spend it working on your dissertation? Abject poverty is a rite of passage for graduate students. It is one of the few things that can motivate a person to endure the torture of writing the dissertation. Most of the students that I see drop out ABD are those who get hooked up with a job, start making money, and never get around to getting done. If you are a graduate student and you have abundant free time you're doing it wrong. ;-)
posted by Crotalus at 1:46 AM on July 5, 2006

on campus probably means you must be employed by the university itself. I wouldn't play with your immigration status.

You could legally do long distance work for people in your home country. I knew the wife of a Canadian student in the US who did not have an American work visa, but who did editting for a Canadian company. Check this out with your international student office, but it should be legal since you would be officially paid in Canada.
posted by jb at 4:30 AM on July 5, 2006

Ways to work illegally off campus:
- baby sit
- house clean
- tutor

There isn't much else.

Why not try to get a higher level job on campus - like a computer tech?
posted by k8t at 4:34 AM on July 5, 2006

Paris Hilton, being an actuary is a profession he could do when he graduated, it's not something he could do for 3 or 4 hours a night off the books!

Also, although taking one exam will get you an entry-level job, you need to complete 8 or 9 (depending on which of the two actuarial societies you end up going into) exams to become fully credentialed. You continue taking the higher exams while you are working, so, in essence, it's like doing a part-time graduate program while working full time. Since he is already in graduate school for something else, I'm with Crotalus, he should put that time towards finishing his disertation.
posted by antimony at 5:16 AM on July 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

I agree with Crotalus. I never had much free time as a grad student. You should work on your dissertation and try to get done ASAP so that you can get a real job. It's never too soon to get the dissertation thing going. Finishing can drag on and on for some folks.

Grad school is an investment just like med school or law school. You can't expect to have the same financial situation as your peers who aren't in grad school.
posted by bim at 5:28 AM on July 5, 2006

essentially no savings (say $10 000)

Huh? I had literally no savings when I was in grad school (and after I left, when I was 30): no savings as in zero. My bank account varied from a dollar or two to, oh, maybe $100 when I was flush. What did you think the life of a grad student was going to be like, pearls and rubies and caviar? Being a grad student isn't supposed to "pay the bills"; like bim said, it's an investment. Sure, find ways to make a few bucks in your spare time, but what will really help is changing your attitude.
posted by languagehat at 5:39 AM on July 5, 2006

In Canada, International students with a student visa can work on campus. In some provinces you can work off campus as well (Ontario should be on this list in the near future). Not in Canada? Then hop over to your campus International Students Association to find out the finer points of employment law in the country you're in. There may be ways you can work with a student visa.

When I was a grad student lots of people supplemented their income with tutoring. It pays well, but is generally under the table. That said, you could claim it and still get a full tax-refund (with tuition write-off factored in). Also it can always be done on campus.

Prep courses are usually offered on campuses. I can only imagine that a senior graduate student would also do well. It would of course be above board, so check those employment laws.

I'm assuming you're also employed as a teaching assistant, most graduate students were at my former universities (maybe not in Arts), it's also how I paid my way. If not, start applying, it can pay well (~$33/h at my last) and doesn't take that much time (~140-160hrs per semester).

Have you considered University computer help desks?

There can be a lot of decent paying, flexible work for a grad student willing to find it.
posted by dr. moot at 7:16 AM on July 5, 2006

I don't want a regular job, my immigration status does not allow me to work off campus.

You're asking for advice on how to break the law. This violates the rules of AskMe.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:16 AM on July 5, 2006

Ikkyu2, I don't think you need a visa to pursue self-employment, but I might be wrong.
posted by acoutu at 9:22 AM on July 5, 2006

If we're going to have a metatalk thread, it might as well be linked from here.
posted by teleskiving at 9:30 AM on July 5, 2006

learn the SEO/SEM/PPC/affiliate marketing game... there's definitely money to be made there in your free time...
posted by joshwa at 12:21 PM on July 5, 2006

Deal in something you love and know: art, books...
posted by londongeezer at 1:05 PM on July 5, 2006

How is $10,000 essentially no savings? That's enough to cover a large number of medical, automobile, etc emergencies. Understood, it's not enough to buy a house, but feel a little secure. At least you don't live in a cardboard box.
posted by cellphone at 1:10 PM on July 5, 2006

Edit dissertations in your field under the table. Babysit (as has been mentioned before). This is all essentially grocery money, but I hate you break it to you -- I made $10k/year in graduate school. I don't have a lot of sympathy for your $10k of savings.
posted by wildeepdotorg at 1:28 PM on July 5, 2006

I second wildeepdotorg. Currently in grad school, barely make ends meet but that's exactly what the grad school experience is all about. Be thankful that you have a sizeable amount of savings for a grad student (I would feel supersafe is I had that much in savings). Get going on your research and finish sooner.
posted by special-k at 1:35 PM on July 5, 2006

Response by poster: [from the original poster]

thanks for your useful suggestions, everyone! there are some useful ideas here for me to ponder.

i know $10K is more the most grad students have, i didn't mean to brag or anything, i only mentioned it because it might be a factor in how i could make more money. for instance, londongeezer suggested i could go into dealing in something i am interested in, which may be feasible since i have some startup cash.

also, re the comments that i will make a lot of money when i graduate, unfortunately it's not the case. although i'm in a technical field, if i can land a job as an assistant professor (very tough in the first place) i'll be on about $50K to start. houses where i live start at about $600K. so i am really thinking about long-term ways to make serious money on the side.

thanks for all your thoughts.
posted by tabulem at 8:25 PM on July 5, 2006

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