I have two little girls who I enjoy spoiling over the holidays and I want to create fun memories doing festive activities with them. Now, there’s no reason I couldn’t do all of that on a budget, but I like to find ways to earn more money this time of year rather than cut back. By earning more, I can spend money without worrying about how I’m going to pay off a credit card bill come January.
With the average American spending more than $700 on holiday gifts and goodies each year, it’s no wonder so many people wind up in debt come the New Year. And keep in mind, that’s just the average! If you’re traveling or have dozens of people you need to shop for, that number could be well into the thousands.
Instead of racking up debt or avoiding fun get-togethers and gift exchanges, why not try to earn a little bit more money each year?
Here are six ways to do just that.
Become a Freelance Writer or Virtual Assistant
Two of the hottest career fields right now are freelance writing and virtual assistant work. Both can be done online and from the comfort of your own home. Virtual assistants make an average of $35-$50 per hour and freelance writers can get paid anywhere from $25-$300 per piece. To find jobs, do a search on Indeed, look on freelance writing job boards and consider starting your own blog to build expertise is your preferred field. While this can take some time to get going, it can be incredibly financially rewarding for you and your family.
Sell Items on Craigslist or eBay
Have furniture laying around that you don’t need? What about clothing you no longer wear? Spend a few hours sorting through your house finding items you no longer use and list them on Craigslist or eBay. If you don’t have any items you want to sell, consider going to garage sales in the morning and selling the items for more money online. An old friend of mine did this in her spare time and made an extra $800 per month on average. That’s your Christmas money right there!
Offer to Babysit for Friends and Neighbors
As a mom of two toddlers, I’d be willing to pay just about anything to have a few hours to shop and wrap gifts in silence. For extra cash this holiday season, post a flier in your local coffee shop advertising your holiday babysitting services, spread the word to family, friends, and neighbors, and announce on Facebook that you are watching kids over the holidays. If you charge $10 per kid and have three at a time, that’s $30 per hour. A few nights and weekends of babysitting can add up big-time!
Start a Dog-Walking Business
In the winter, most people don’t look forward to walking their dog multiple times per day in freezing cold weather. If you live in a neighborhood full of pets, consider walking dogs in the mornings, on your lunch breaks, and in the evenings. Not only can this earn you extra holiday money each day, but it will also help you burn extra calories so you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging. We call that a win-win.
Do Department Store Gift Wrapping
Many department stores like Neiman Marcus, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, and Macy’s hire part-time, temporary gift wrappers over the holidays. All you have to do is greet people with holiday cheer and wrap their gifts according to store guidelines. Some gift wrap and bows, a little tape, and a pair of scissors—how hard can it be?
Become a Driver
Sign up with Uber or start your own driving service by offering to pick people up from the airport, be the designated driver for holiday parties, help the elderly run errands, and more. Set your own rate by hour or mileage, making sure to set it high enough to also cover the cost of gas. Use all of the profits from driving to put toward holiday gifts.
Get a Part-Time Job
There are four retail shops I would gladly work at: Starbucks, Kirkland’s, The Fresh Market, and Bath & Body Works. Do you have a favorite store where you love to shop? If so, consider working just part-time on weekends or in the evenings. You’ll make extra money, get to meet new people, get to spend more time in one of your favorite shops, and perhaps get a store discount. (Just don’t spend all the money you make at that location.)
By earning a little extra money this holiday season, you don’t have to worry as much about budgeting or missing out on holiday-themed events. And maybe you can carry your new side gig into the New Year for an extra source of income all year long.