FILLING THE COLLEGE TUITION GAP
Everywhere, families are struggling to make ends meet. Families faced right now with soaring college tuition rates, are finding it doubly hard. To make matters worse, high school and college students who are ready, willing, and able to help out by working a summer job, are finding they must compete with adults for the jobs that were formerly reserved to their generation.
If your college aged child hasn’t found a job, one answer might be to put him to work for himself and a group of friends by staging a college-themed tag and bake sale. Not only will this be likely to put some spending money in his pocket, but he’ll learn a thing or two about business and about himself.
A BAD ECONOMY IS GOOD FOR THE SECOND HAND TRADE
This year, millions of Americans will scour the classified ads in their local newspapers to map out a Saturday morning treasure hunt.
The bad economy means higher demand for bargains. Second hand and consignment shops are busier than ever.
Nevertheless, with more people struggling, there are more yard sales as well. That means your child needs to think of ways to stand out from the competition.
THERE’S STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
Encourage your child to round up as many friends as he or she can find and to work as a team from start to finish. Brainstorming with friends will produce better ideas for getting buyers to the sale and having more to sell will be guarantee the success of the sale as well. Everyone should be encouraged solicit merchandise from their own parents and relatives and every participant should expect to keep the proceeds of his or her own sales.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Have them consider which friend has access to a space with the most traffic and the best shelter in the event of inclement weather.
IT PAYS TO ADVERTISE
While classified advertising doesn’t come free, have your child consider that while there will be many ads for Giant Tag Sale there will probably be none for Bargains for You; Tuition for Us! 6 College Students Empty Parent’s Attics and Closets For You!
While classified ads do have to be kept reasonably short, fliers are more forgiving. Urge your computer whiz-kid to create some colorful fliers to distribute around town.
SHOW LIKE A PRO
Retailers spend a great deal of time and money arranging their merchandise displays. Your young amateurs should do the same. See if a friendly local restaurant or banquet manager is willing to lend out a few tables for a good cause.
Suggest that the kids make sure that the merchandise is clean, well-arranged, and clearly priced. While bargaining should be encouraged, most shoppers will get the ball rolling only once they know what the asking price of an item is.
KEEP THE BROWSERS BROWSING
Anybody who sets an alarm clock on a Saturday morning in order to be first at your sale, could probably use a little snack and will probably be willing to pay for it. More importantly, in the time it takes to sip a cup of coffee, anyone can make a few more buying decisions.
The bake sale table should be set up to look as much like a bakery display as possible. Here, computer skills help as well. Nicely designed half-fold cards in front of their platter of Boston College Bagels or their NYU Nut Bars will remind everyone what the day is about. A descreet sign might even introduce the participants by name along with the schools they plan to attend.
One young brother and sister team we know, has been piling up college savings for a number of years by selling fresh squeezed lemonade at the local farmer’s market. Their table is always impeccably arranged with a nice vase of flowers, a wooden bowl of fresh lemons and a simple, long-armed juice squeezer. The lemons are squeezed to order and blended with icy water that has been sweetened with simple syrup. The lemonade sells for a dollar fifty a serving, and there is always a line.
INSPIRE THEM TO MAKE YOUR GOOD IDEAS BETTER
By all means, encourage the group come up with more ideas on their own. The possibilites are endless. Most of all, remind them to have fun and to be proud of their project and of the years of hard work that has gotten them to this exciting place in life.