No matter how much money you have, it’s always nice to have a little extra over the holidays. It may seem that accruing debt during the holiday season is, unfortunately, the American way. It’s hard to not spend on credit when you know you’ll be making your loved ones happy. Still, no matter how generous you want to be, there’s never a good time for throwing financial sense out the window. Even if you end up accruing some degree of holiday debt this year, you can keep it to a minimum by making extra cash over the holidays.
If you’re more of the crafty type, consider putting your skills to good use this holiday season. In an age of mass-produced everything, there’s something to be said about a unique, handcrafted article to brighten up your Christmas season. Friends, neighbors and relatives are an easy sell. Take requests from them for personalized items. You can also talk to Christmas tree sellers about setting up shop on their lots. As long as you aren’t selling competing products, you’re likely to find someone who will let you sell your wares.
During the holidays people are busy, busy, busy. This is doubly true of people with children. Anyone can use an extra set of hands, especially during the holidays. Talk to the busiest people in your life and see if it isn’t worth a little cash to free up some of their time. You can run their errands for them, everything from picking up the kids after soccer practice to Christmas shopping. Best of all, you might be able to combine your errands with theirs, effectively getting paid for stuff you were going to do anyway.
If you do any shopping over the holidays you know that the malls are packed. Most retailers have to take on some additional help for the holiday season. While the money isn’t great, it’s something and there are benefits. For example, if you get a job in the stockroom at a large department store, you can take advantage of the employee discount while you’re working there. Thus, you get to earn extra money and save money while you’re at it. A hot tip: Toys “R” Us hires toy assemblers, a great fit if you’ve got little ones around the house.
Fortunately for the bookish, the holiday season aligns neatly with finals. Whether you live near a college or not doesn’t matter. Students at all levels of education require a little assistance to get a passing grade on their final exams. Stick to subjects that you know the most about, especially if you have some amount of formal training in the field. For teachers, this is a no brainer, a really easy way to clock a little overtime.
A lot of people associate temping with the wilderness years between graduating college and settling into a career. While this might have a degree of truth, there’s no reason to not go back to temping when you want some extra money. Retail businesses aren’t the only ones who need help around the holidays. Calling a local temp agency and seeing what they have on offer is as easy as picking up the phone. Best of all, the agency might remember you from your “wilderness years.”
Secret shopping companies are always on the lookout for new hires. Best of all, the turnover rate is so high few people will be disappointed if you quit your job promptly when you’re done doing your Christmas shopping. While it’s generally frowned upon to do your own shopping on the clock, you can at least scout out where the bargains are as you make extra cash to spend on your loved ones for the holidays.
Nicholas Pell is a Credit Sesame contributor and freelance financial writer whose work has appeared on Mint Life and Business Insider. His writing teaches people how to carefully consider debt, stay in the good graces of the IRS, retire in luxury and find affordable college educations. Pell lives in Hollywood, CA with his bulldog, Lulu.