Finding the time to generate an income while simultaneously taking part in rigorous coursework can be a difficult task for many students. However, there are some students that have found ways to make a quick buck that require less commitment than typical part-time jobs.
Junior Nadya Armenta has discovered a way to make a little bit of extra money in addition to what she earns at her part-time job. Armenta is a student investor who stakes her personal earnings on foreign currencies through an investment company called Forex.
“It’s similar to trading stocks, but different because, with stocks, you invest in other companies,” Armenta said. “With Forex, you invest certain amounts of money into currencies as opposed to businesses.”
Through the careful allocation of funds, Armenta buys units of foreign currency and waits for the supply and demand of each currency to rise. When a currency reaches the appropriate value, Armenta sells what she owns of it to make a profit.
“For example, I’ll invest a certain amount money into the Canadian dollar,” Armenta said. “Based on supply and demand, I may increase or decrease my share depending on how I want to trade. I’ll buy or sell a certain percentage of each currency, and then get money by simply waiting to see what the market does.”
Armenta said she started investing just over a month ago because of her interest in the stock market. She said she plans to eventually leave her part-time job in the hospitality industry to fully focus on Forex investing.
“I started investing because it was something I was interested in,” Armenta said. “It was an opportunity to get into stocks and make more money. Instead of working for my money, my money is now working for me.”
In a single week, Armenta said she can make anywhere from $10 to $200. She said that on most mornings, she wakes up to see that she either lost or made some money.
“I’ll go to sleep, wake up with $20 in my account and I really didn’t have to do anything other than change few little settings,” Armenta said.
Armenta said it took her about three weeks to learn how to succeed in the market. She said investing came with a bit of a learning curve.
“It’s definitely like taking another class,” Armenta said. “You have to want to learn and be serious about it. Investing is not something you’re going to learn overnight. Any student can invest their money, invest in themselves and learn how to master this skill set. It just takes time, dedication and patience.”
Armenta said that, for her, using Forex has taught her more about life than simply how to invest money.
“Forex is a great way to invest in yourself,” Armenta said. “I’ve learned to invest in myself and my own happiness and have even discovered some of my passions in doing so. The experience has taught me that it pays to do what makes you happy.”
Some students turn to their hobbies and talents to make an extra buck. Senior Madison Gielda said she started selling homemade lotions over the winter break. She said she was inspired by a book she read about homemade cosmetics.
“Lotion bars are one of the few recipes I found in the book and made for my best friend,” Gielda said. “I then made lotion bars for each of my family members and customized them with essential oils I thought they might like. My mom was like, ‘You should sell these,’ and I thought, ‘Why not?’ So, I began selling them last December.”
Each of Gielda’s lotion bars can be customized upon request. Gielda said she personalizes each bar with a hand-written note that includes the full list of ingredients.
“I honestly have a lot of essential oils, so customers can just pick whichever ones they like and I’ll make them a custom blend,” Gielda said. “Different essential oils have different properties. For example, lavender is often used for relaxation, eucalyptus and spearmint for stimulation and orange for happiness. Different smells evoke different emotions.”
Gielda uses 100 percent beeswax to help seal in moisture, coconut oil for hydration and nourishment and jojoba or sweet almond oil to help make the bars smell nice and last longer.
“The best part about the lotion bars is that if you look at the labels on store-bought lotion bottles, there are so many chemicals there,” Gielda said. “My lotion bars are made from only three ingredients. They’re so much more natural and are actually designed to hydrate your skin, unlike other lotions that intentionally dry out your skin so that you’ll buy more.”
Gielda sells two different bar sizes. She has the sweetheart bar, which sells for $3, and the mega mama bar which goes for $5. Gielda said she plans to come out with a new flavor of bar over the spring break.
“I’m going to create a starfish bar over spring break and supplement one of the ingredients in the lotion bars for a different oil that’s going to make customers look more tan,” Gielda said. “I’m going to call it ‘sun-kissed starfish.’”
Some students have begun to take advantage of online marketplaces as a means of acquiring revenue. Senior Jessi Hoernschemeyer said she started selling clothes online when she was 17 years old. Hoernschemeyer buys clothes from Goodwill and other thrift stores, then resells them for a higher price online.
“I started selling clothes because I’ve always loved vintage clothing,” Hoernschemeyer said. “Before I came to NAU, I needed to make some pocket money. I started selling some of my old clothes and accessories on Poshmark in order to get rid of them.”
Hoernschemeyer said she stopped selling clothes for a time when her schoolwork picked up, however, she recently resumed the pursuit to raise money for a trip to Europe. Hoernschemeyer said she changed platforms and began selling her clothes on a site called Depop, where users can sell used vintage clothing.
“I needed to make a bunch of money quickly because I was going on a trip and couldn’t get a job in Flagstaff,” Hoernschemeyer said. “I remembered the only way I knew how to make money before coming to NAU and decided to return to selling clothes on Depop.”
Hoernschemeyer said she makes anywhere from $150 to $300 weekly from buying and reselling clothes. She puts in about 30 hours a week and often modifies and customizes the clothing she finds to appeal to a younger crowd.
“I just put in a lot of work,” Hoernschemeyer said. “Sometimes, I crop shirts to make them appealing for young adults.”
Armenta, Gielda and Hoernschemeyer have gone against the grain and found unique ways to make money and support their studies. They say these side hustles give them the freedom to control their own schedules and make money in ways that are convenient for them. With the growing popularity of online money-making tools, it is expected that more students will begin to turn to these alternatives as a means of making some extra cash.