More and more young people are choosing to do their degrees online, and there are plenty of reasons why. One of the biggest is, of course, that it can end up being a lot cheaper, and can help you reduce or even avoid student debt. However, if you’re planning to do a business degree this way, it helps to be savvy about how you save and earn money during the length of your course, so that you’ll be in the best possible financial position when you graduate, and will also have been able to enjoy a good quality of life while you were a student.
Here is your guide to saving money when you’re an online business student, and to different ways you can make money to fund yourself at the same time:
Student Debt – a Personal (and National) Financial Crisis Waiting to Happen
Student debt is already a very pressing national issue, with over three trillion dollars in outstanding student loans already held by people in the US. Economic experts warn that student debt may be the next big timebomb to hit the US economy, and of course, it’s not just at a national level that it can be devastating. Student debt can hold you back from becoming economically stable long after you’ve started earning a good salary, forcing you to spend a large percentage of what you earn on those debts. This means that even though as a business student you can look forward to a good BBA degree salary when you graduate from an institution like Walsh University, you should be doing everything you can to avoid needing to get into much (if any) debt to get to that point.
Never spend your money before you have earned it.” —Thomas Jefferson
Saving Money by Doing Your Degree Online
Doing an online degree can be cheaper in general, in terms of tuition costs, because the college can provide the same high level of education with fewer overheads. By delivering pre-recorded lectures, they can avoid having to have the same professor deliver the same lecture over and over again in person to different groups of students.
By having online means of communication with students, one to one meetings and general lessons can be provided without the college having to use its facilities to house them. All of this means that your education is better value. However, to get the biggest advantages in terms of saving money on becoming qualified by doing your degree online, you should be considering how you can save on your expenses while you’re a student, and also how you can make some money.
Spend Less by Working at Home
The lower cost of tuition is not in itself the main reason why people who study online end up with less student debt (or none, if they’re careful). The biggest cost advantages come from the fact you’ll be doing your studying at home. This means you are already saving by not having to relocate or live on campus, or by not having to commute to college for classes using your car or public transport.
It also means that your general cost of living will be lower when it comes to smaller everyday expenses. Because you’ll be at home a lot of the time, you won’t have to spend money on eating out during the day, and won’t get into the habit of buying things like takeout coffee. You can even end up spending less on things like clothes and make-up, because you won’t have to worry about what you like before starting a busy day of studying!
Can You Reduce the Cost of Where You Live While You’re a Student?
One other advantage to online study that can end up saving you a huge amount of money if you think about it carefully, is that you can live somewhere cheaper than if you need to be in a specific location to attend your college. Yes, this can mean you could live at home with your parents if that is an option for you, but if you don’t want to do that, you could consider moving to somewhere with a lower cost of living, allowing you to have a better quality of life for less than you’d have to spend in a major city.
There could even be the option of traveling and living in a cheaper country while you’re an online student, which will also allow you to get some great experiences!
The Pros and Cons of Part Time Jobs as a Student
Part time jobs have always been the traditional way that people who are at college have made money if they needed to, and these are still an option whether you are studying online or attending college in person.
However, while they can be a reliable way for you to earn, they do have some disadvantages, and are generally not the best choice over the alternative ways of making money that tend to be available now, such as the gig economy (things like driving an Uber or delivering food locally), self-employed local work or online freelancing, particularly for business students who are looking to get some useful work experience while they are studying, as well as earning some cash.
Here are some of the pros and cons of taking part time jobs over the other options which we will look at in more detail later in this article:
- You will be paid a predictable amount
- You can meet some new people
- You may get discounts at the place you work which can help with your budgeting
- You’ll have some employers you can use as references in future
- Any work experience can be good for your resume when you’re a new graduate
- Working times are usually not very flexible
- Service industry work is demanding and tiring – leaving you less energy to focus on your degree
- Most work experience you can get won’t be at all relevant to your degree or future job ambitions
- Jobs can be hard to find, especially in areas with a lot of students
- Earnings can be okay, but there’s no potential for growing your income
- You can’t usually simply take on more work when you’re not busy with college or need more money
- You don’t get to use your skills or talents
Part time work will always be an option, but instead, why not consider some of the following ways to support yourself, or even make money to save, while you are doing your online BBA degree?
The Gig Economy
The ‘gig economy’ is a style of working where people use their free time to provide services in an ad hoc way, usually managed through an app. The most well-known examples of this are ride sharing services like Uber, and food delivery services, though in different cities you can find different things like this that may be appropriate for you even if you don’t have a car, for example running errands on a bike or delivering restaurant orders on a scooter.
This can be a good option when you simply want to be able to monetize time where you wouldn’t be doing anything else productive, and have an option on hand to make money fast whenever you are available. It is extremely flexible, and so can be fit around your study schedule no matter how erratic it ends up being.
Making Money Locally
Gig economy type jobs are not the only way you can make money as a student by providing simple services to people who don’t have time to do certain things themselves, or who need some help. There are all kinds of local services you could provide, some of which don’t even really require any skills or tools, other than just being responsible and reliable. Services you could offer to people in your area as a means of making money could include:
- House sitting
- Dog walking
- Pet sitting
- Giving lessons in things like music or languages
- Running errands for elderly and disabled people
Selling Your Skills Online
If you have some skills that you can use to help people and businesses online, then a very good option for work as an online student is to offer those skills as a freelancer. There are all kinds of freelance gigs you can apply for with sites like Upwork and Fiverr, and depending on what you can do and how well you can build up good reviews and regular clients, you can end up making good money using your skills, time, and the equipment you’ll need for your degree anyway!
Some of the types of things people do as online freelancers include:
- Web design
- Virtual assistant work (admin and marketing)
- Blogging for businesses
- Ghostwriting stories
- Data analysis
- Video editing
- Web content creation
- Software QA
- Graphic design
- Logo design
- Managing social media accounts
- Technical writing
- Voiceovers and voice acting
The level of skill you will need can vary according to the type of freelancing and the clients’ requirements, with people charging very different rates for simple work versus professional level skills, and so you should be able to find something that you can do to an appropriate level to start out as a freelancer, but you can also work on developing your skills and portfolio to try to get higher paid freelancing gigs if you have very strong skills in an area.
Take a look at freelancing platforms and forums where people look for freelancers, and also check out subreddits on Reddit that are relevant to the type of work you want to do. In general, getting started and winning your first clients is the hardest part, but it can quickly become a good source of income once you have some positive reviews and some people who hire you regularly. Just make sure you always deliver on time, and don’t apply for jobs you aren’t sure you can do, and you should be able to build a good reputation that will allow you to keep winning business.
Selling Products Online
Another way that you can consider trying to earn money online while you’re a business student is to actually start a small business, selling products you make. Not only will this give you a chance to implement some of the things you’ll be learning on your BBA course in the real world, and allow you to experiment with different things when it comes to marketing, market research, and logistics, but it can also be a lot of fun.
When it comes to making products, you have two real options. Making handmade crafts, which can vary in complexity from simple things you can learn to do without needing any real artistic skills, such as candles, through to more complicated and creative things like handmade clothes and furniture. You can also consider upcycling existing items, like old furniture and clothing, to make new things. Alternatively, you can make and sell digital products, such as writing eBooks, or developing apps. The latter obviously requires more pre-existing skills, but means you can sell unlimited quantities and don’t need to worry about handling things like shipping. Look into your options and think about things you could produce, that may find sales online.
Monetizing Content Online
Another option if you want to work online, especially if you have good creative skills, is to create content that you can monetize in different ways. This can take some work to build up, but can result in passive income, or even in a long-term way you can make money by keeping on growing your brand. There are all sorts of ways you can monetize content, for instance making YouTube videos that are suitable for earning ad revenue, or running a website that you monetize with ads, sponsored content, or by creating content with affiliate marketing links.
To make a go of any of those ideas, you’ll have to learn about things like online marketing and SEO, however, this can be a good opportunity to improve your online business skills in a way that will complement your work towards your BBA.
Interesting related article: “What is E-Learning?“