6 Ways to Earn Extra Holiday Cash

By Chris Birk on 7 December 2010 (Updated 16 December 2010) 1 comment

The most wonderful time of the year is also the most expensive one.

Consumers of all stripes can usually stand to gain some supplemental income during the holiday season. A holiday boost to the bottom line lets you spoil those you care about or simply help cover your expected outlay. At the same time, more cash gives you the chance to indulge yourself with some fancy holiday snacks, drinks, or gadgets.

There are dozens of ways to pick up some side cash to fatten your wallet. Here’s a short list of realistic avenues for consumers to explore.

Pick Up a Seasonal Gig

These jobs are not glamorous, but the service industry depends on temporary seasonal workers during the holidays. If you’re stuck at your office job during the business week, you can still work nights and weekends; that’s when you’re needed most. Even when the unemployment rate is teetering on double digits, you still have a shot. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into retail. Food services expect more customers, too. Seasonal work does not usually last more than two months, so expect to be on the payroll for about 45 days.

Sell Stuff You Don’t Want Anymore

Thanks to Craigslist, eBay, and Amazon, shoppers hit the Internet knowing they can get used items as gifts. In fact, eBay is offering free listings, free Buy It Now options, and other incentives to ensnare cash-strapped holiday shoppers. Capitalize on this and get rid of things you don’t need or want anymore. Sure, this is a great outlet to empty out any junk you have, but also look for rare items that collect dust in the basement or attic, especially if there's a seasonal tie-in; holiday collectibles are obviously in hot demand.

Work the Neighborhood

Whether you live in suburbia or a downtown loft, there’s bound to be a service you can charge for. Ask neighbors if they’d like you to spice up their holiday decorations. Make it known that you’re willing to shovel driveways and sidewalks when snow falls. If you're handy in the kitchen, offer to cater friends’ and family’s holiday parties, or work as a bartender or server at those same functions.

Be Your Own Boss

Use your skills to land a freelance gig. Anybody can look for freelance work, not just writers. If you’re in a local band, look for parties to entertain or venues in need of live performances. Photographers have one of the most in-demand tasks this time of year, so seek work at upscale offices and benefit gatherings. For the more artsy types, there’s work in decorating inside and outside, making holiday cards, or designing storefronts for local businesses. You have a skill. Get paid for it.

Babysit

You don't have to be 13-years-old or in a special club to do this. In fact, many a graduate student has earned spending money by babysitting throughout the calendar year. The holidays in particular are a busy time that can generate opportunities.

Arrive Early and Stay Late at Your Current Job

For those already employed, consider asking for more hours. Full-time employees might be able to earn overtime and get paid time-and-a-half or better. The service industry caters to overtime more than administrative work, but there’s no harm in asking. At the very least, your boss will appreciate your attitude.

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I especially enjoy the tip about selling your stuff. In addition to getting some extra cash, it helps you to relieve yourself of unnecessary objects that you would no longer have to maintain, or worry about. Just don't go replacing them with other unnecessary objects that you would have to maintain and worry about.