How to Earn Extra Cash for Christmas and Holidays
The holiday season is festive, and fun, but it can also be expensive. Even when you plan to keep gift-buying to a minimum and make a point to take advantage of popular retail sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, holiday-related costs can start to tally up very quickly. According to the National Retail Federation, the average American plans to spend over $1,000 on holiday gifts. Having a plan in place to come up with additional funds for the holiday can allow you to focus on the fun of the season. Here are some strategies for earning extra money for the holidays.
Get a Freelance Holiday Gig
Find an Event Staff in Need
The holidays typically lead to large celebratory events for organizations in your area, so ask your local event halls, caterers and event planning teams if they need any supplemental help. Given their seasonal nature, they won’t be put off by part-time availability but can offer the chance for a nice load of holiday cash.
Hang Holiday Lighting
If you don’t mind spending a few hours each day hanging from a ladder, offering to hang holiday lights can lead to some surprisingly substantial extra income. Start by decking your halls with flair and tell anyone that asks that your services are available. With every successful hanging, ask to place a lawn sign to advertise, then keep track of your clients and build the business each year as a way to develop recurring holiday funds.
Get a Seasonal Gig
As the holiday season ramps up in early fall, many employers look for seasonal employees to help manage the holiday rush. But you don’t have to wait until the holiday season — for example, in the summer there are swimming pools, golf courses and outdoor entertainment complexes looking for help. In the early fall, you may have luck looking for part-time job options at farms and fall festivals. While online job postings can be convenient, you can beat the flooded inboxes by inquiring directly with stores and events that are likely to need the help.
Childcare and Petcare
Holidays often coincide with festive nights out and vacations, so turn that time away for your neighbors and friends into income by offering to babysit or dog-sit. If you handle your duties with care, you can expect an invitation to lend a helping hand during other occasions.
Deliver Christmas Cash with Your Car
Picking up rides using a ride-sharing app has become the simplest way of monetizing any of your free time. Before you sign up, make sure you’re aware of any potential costs — for example, you may need supplemental insurance to be a rideshare driver, and it’s important to account for the wear and tear on your vehicle as well.
Take on Some Tasks
Plenty of apps have made it easy to offer your services to people who may need it, so explore task gig apps and find one that meets your qualifications and needs. For higher levels of task income, you can use your knowledge of computers or home repair to generate additional income that lasts throughout the year.
Deliver the Goods
From grocery pickups to takeout deliveries, there are definitely jobs in your area for those with cars. Research which delivery services best match your schedule and browse the wide selection of “delivery job apps” that feature satisfied employees.
Stock your Savings Online
Download Apps that pay
Some apps incentivize online shopping with cash-back programs — for example, you can make money by taking online surveys as you shop. Adding cashback apps to your shopping routine can save you money for holiday spending, but there’s nothing to stop you from earning year-round.
Join a focus group
In a focus group, you’re paid for your time and honest opinions about a product. It’s not uncommon for focus group participants to be thanked with a gift card for their time, which can often be in the range of $100 or above.
To find focus groups, search online for focus groups near you. Some focus groups may be exclusively online, some may have a one-on-one video or phone chat, or some may be in person. In general, in-person or one-on-one sessions with a researcher are likely to be most lucrative in terms of payment.
Cash in on Your Local Network
Take part in a study
Live near a university? Universities are often the best places to find paid studies. Look into the university website or search online for “paid clinical studies near me” to find ones you may be eligible for. Eligibility may depend on medical condition, age or other factors, but a study can be a lucrative way to contribute to gaining important information for the university.
Promote yourself to friends and family
Whether it’s occasional babysitting, assisting an elderly relative, or baking cupcakes for a party, there are always ways to lend a hand to your network for pay. Think about the things you can offer: Do people rave about your baking? Offer your services for birthday cakes. Do you have a flexible schedule? You could accompany elderly relatives to mid-day doctor’s appointments. Come up with a list of things you can do, and let family and friends know that you’re eager to help.
Sell your stuff
Clean out a closet or basement and sell what you can. You can always host a garage sale or yard sale, but it may be easier and more effective to look online for opportunities. Secondhand item sites can be good possibilities to consider, but consider that listing and management can eat into your time. An easy way to unload some possessions is to use local social media groups to buy, sell and trade among neighbors.
Bottom line: Make a budget and stick to it
Remember: Taking on extra gigs and responsibilities will require extra time, so it’s important to factor that into your overall plan. If the side gig you land requires you to find childcare for your own family or makes you feel behind at your main job, it may not be worth it. In that case, a smarter strategy may be to consider pulling back on spending this holiday season. Regardless, coming up with a holiday budget can help you have a goal in mind as you hustle like an elf.