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How to earn extra cash for the holidays

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From presents, wrapping paper and greeting cards to decorations, food and travel, the cost of holiday cheer can quickly add up. Before you know it, you’ve blown through your budget  – and may even be experiencing some buyer’s remorse about all those strands of twinkle lights you bought.

2 girls shopping in a clothing store and discussing which dress to buy

But, hold on! There is good news! This year can be different.

Outside of stashing money away into a separate holiday fund throughout the year, there are other ways to earn some extra cash to boost your budget for gifts and other essentials – like your dog’s ugly Christmas sweater.

Pick up a seasonal job

Every year, a variety of businesses and organizations begin hiring seasonal employees so they’re appropriately staffed for the influx of shoppers during the holidays.

Here are a few ideas that can help put some extra cash in your pocket fast.

  • Retail jobs: Not only do stores need to increase staff during the holidays in order to keep up with the spike in shopping, they’re also open for longer hours. That means they need people to cover added shifts. Keep your eyes open for “we’re hiring!” signs in local stores and job postings on sites like Indeed or Snagajob.
  • Santaland: For some, playing Santa may not be an option, but what about sporting some pointed-toed, jingled belled shoes and posing as an elf? Santalands will be popping up all over the country and looking to hire a jolly staff.
  • Housekeeping: Not loving the idea of dealing with crazed shoppers? Hotels tend to see a spike in visitors in November and December too. There may be housekeeping jobs available at local hotels and resorts to help accommodate holiday travelers’ needs.

A job on your own terms

Are you looking for a side gig that’s flexible with your current full-time job? If shifts at a retail store don’t work into your schedule, another option is to sign up for services that allow you to pick when you work.

Here are some ideas:

  • Rover/DogVacay: If you’re an animal lover, this option may be perfect for you. Make some money by taking care of other peoples’ pets while they’re away. With Rover and DogVacay, you can earn some extra cash pet sitting at other peoples’ homes, hosting furry guests at your own residence, or helping out as a dog walker.
  • SitterCity/com: Depending on where you live, it’s possible you could net $15 to $20 an hour for a babysitting gig. Using sites like SitterCity and Care.com makes it easy to find families looking for help. This could mean you pocket an easy $100 or more per week!
  • Uber or Lyft driver: A big perk of being a driver for rideshare programs, like Uber and Lyft, is that you set your own schedule. Once you’re approved as a driver, it’s up to you what time of day and how frequently you drive. Just make sure your auto insurance policy protects you if an accident occurs while you’re driving for a rideshare program.
  • GrubHub delivery partner: Similar to Uber and Lyft, this gig provides flexible hours.  You simply drive food instead of people. GrubHub hires drivers to deliver take-out orders as an alternative to individual restaurants handling the deliveries.

Establishing your own business

If you have a creative or marketable skill, especially one that would make a good holiday gift, you can also look to earn income through your craft.

It’s wonderful to start a side hustle from scratch and build a portfolio of work. And a quick way to find customers is by marketing yourself on established sites where people search for unique wares, like Etsy and Fiverr.

Be sure to save

Adding extra money to your overall budget is great, but don’t forget that counts as earned income – which comes with tax implications.

Be sure to set some of your money aside for the tax bill, especially if you’re working a gig that doesn’t take tax out for you. No one wants to wrap up the holidays having to pay even more for a surprise tax bill.

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