It’s that time of year again, folks. As in, that time of year when we start thinking about the holidays. You may be making travel arrangements to see far-flung relatives in distant states. You may be thinking about the time that you will need to take off work to do things like cook, care for your children when they are out of school, decorate, or grocery shop. Or all of the above. And of course, the task of figuring out holiday gifts for family and friends!
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I’m probably making this time of year sound really burdensome. Of course, it’s not! There are many wonderful things about this time of year. Some of my personal favorites are watching the leaves turn, the first snow, and yummy pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Also, Christmas is a really special holiday for us, especially now that we are parents. I’m sure it’s the same for many of you.
But there is really no denying the fact that the holidays can cost us. According to this article, the average American’s holiday spending in 2012 was $749.51. It’s likely more now. This means that now is a good time to start thinking about the holiday budget! And for many people, that may require some extra cash. Check out these great ideas for ways to earn extra money before the holidays.
8 Ways to Earn Extra Money Before the Holidays
1. Pick up extra hours at work- or consider a second job
Second jobs don’t have to be glamourous, folks. Ideally a second job would be something that could bring in a comparable wage as your main job, but hey, extra money is extra money, right? And the great thing about the holidays is that there are often plenty of retailers who are looking for seasonal workers.
2. Sell stuff
You know all that junk cluttering up your basement/closet/garage? Surely there has got to be something of value in there. Last autumn when I majorly decluttered our house, I found such gems as a five year-old cable modem, a nice business suit that doesn’t fit anymore (boo), and a leather jacket that I had literally not seen Mr. CMF wear in the 10+ years I’ve known him. All of those things found new homes via eBay. Besides eBay, I also use Craigslist (to sell bulky or heavy items) and Amazon (to sell books).
3. Start an online store
A few years ago, I experimented with running different types of online stores. I sold skincare items on eBay for a few years (I bought Mary Kay items in bulk from MK consultants who were going out of business, then I re-sold them individually on eBay). I stopped doing that mainly because of other obligations, but lately I’ve been thinking about getting back into it. It’s a nice way to make money, and as long as you respond promptly to customer emails/questions and ship quickly, it’s pretty easy.
4. Consider starting a side hustle or an online business
Sometimes when you are starting a side hustle it may take a while to start earning money (see this post if you are looking for great potential side hustle ideas). However, it’s possible to start a business overnight like this woman did (and she used the proceeds to greatly accelerate her student loan debt payoff!) Or you could always rent your space on Airbnb.
5. Make money from your hobbies
If there is something that you like doing and you are good at it, why not try to make some money from it? For example, there are sites online (like Shutterstock) that will pay you money for stock photos. The catch is that you have to be a good photographer- otherwise they likely won’t be interested in buying your pics- but if you happen to have some talent in this area, then this is right up your alley.
6. Taking surveys
Taking surveys online is one of the easiest, although not necessarily the most lucrative, ways to make money in your spare time. However, I personally like taking surveys. I just think that it is beyond easy, and I love being able to take surveys in an airport while I’m waiting for a flight or when I’m sitting for what seems like way too long in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. My current favorite site to take online surveys is Harris Poll Online– I think they offer a better array of rewards than other sites. Other sites that CMF readers have used and liked for surveys are VIP Voice and Earning Station.
7. Pick up small gigs in your neighborhood.
Are you someone who walks your dog every day? If so, why not ask a few neighbors if they would like you to walk their dogs as well? Other examples of simple gigs you could pick up close to home would be house sitting, babysitting, or even lawn mowing or shoveling snow. And although I haven’t used it, I have a few friends who have picked up some extra income by using TaskRabbit to complete tasks like cleaning or moving for other people.
8. Make money/earn rewards by doing things you would be doing anyway
For example, pretty much everyone does at least some shopping online, especially during the holidays, right? The best way to maximize your online shopping dollars is to shop at your favorite online web retailers through portals such as Swagbucks or Ebates. In this way you can earn rewards for your shopping activity- which you were going to be doing anyway. So you may as well earn rewards while you’re at it! I’ve also started using Swagbucks as my default search engine and pick up rewards that way.
Have you used any of these ways to earn extra money before the holidays? If so, what’s been your best way to bring in extra cash?
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Photo credit: Christmas decoration, creative commons (license), 9/22/15, with changes
Great article Dee, only 90 days and counting until the big day. Everyone should remember that it is ONLY 1 DAY out of the year, and not put their finances under pressure for just the one day when they have another 364 to budget for.
Dee S says
All great points, thanks for sharing! Starting to save pre-holiday is also very important (we certainly think so!)
Dee S says
Exactly- planning ahead for things like this has been very helpful to us at least.
Great list! There are so many ways to make extra money before the holidays. My favorite is anything online as it can be so flexible!
Dee S says
Vanessa @ Cash Cow Couple says
Another favorite for Jacob and me is to go through our house and find things we bought an never used and return them to Walmart without a receipt. You can only do this 2x every 6 months, but it usually takes about that long to accumulate things you never used when you bought them. It usually gets us groceries for a week or two when we make a return! That money could definitely be put toward holiday expenses.
Dee S says
That’s a great idea! And a great way to keep clutter to a minimum as well!
I would add pet sitting! I had to find someone to watch my cat while we’re away in a few weeks and the person I found was saving up for Christmas!
Dee S says
Love it! That’s often a pretty easy one too, as long as you are an animal person!
This totally reminds me that I have a number of things that I need to put up on Craigslist.
Dee S says
Hey, glad we can be of help there!!
DC @ Young Adult Money says
Great ideas, and similar to the post we published today haha. Last Christmas we spent over $500 on gifts (we exchange with tons of people…) but it didn’t even make a dent in our bank account. My wife sold things on eBay and it paid for ALL our Holiday shopping, and then some!
Dee S says
Brock @CleverDude says
Many people could use a little extra cash during the holidays….and coincidentally there are jobs that pop up that last exactly the length of the holidays. Seems like a good match.
Dee S says
Seasonal work is always a great way to come up with some extra cash. Plus, I’ve known quite a few people who turned their seasonal employment into a full time gig!
Derek at MoneyAhoy says
This is a great list. I especially like #5 – if you can make money at something you enjoy, then what’s not to love??
I’ve found that tutoring and blogging can be VERY lucrative for me. If you would have asked me this 5 years ago, I would have scoffed 🙂 Not anymore!
Dee S says
I agree that tutoring and blogging can be good ways to make money. But blogging takes a looooooong time to get to the point where you are making money, which is why I did not put it on this list. Tutoring could potentially bring you money much quicker, though!