6 ways to use your kid's old bedroom

Rent the room

Live near a university? You can pick up enough cash to pay at least part of your kid’s on-campus housing bill by renting his room to a local student.

If you don't live near a college, consider offering a room to rent on Craigslist.com or other sites that advertise for roommates.

Set your price by looking to see what others are charging for rooms in your area. Chances are you won’t need a rental license to rent a room, but double-check with the local zoning office.

Treat the transaction like the business deal it is. Background potential renters by doing a public court records check. Collect a damage deposit, use a written lease (in the case of a student, have the parents cosign) and spell out rules about noise, shared use of the kitchen and parking. Talk to your insurance agent to see if you need additional coverage.

The rent you collect is income, so discuss the financial ramifications with a tax adviser and the financial aid office at your child’s college before you try renting a room.

Estimated earnings: $4,500 at $500 a month during the school year.