According to a holiday spending survey conducted by GoBankingRates.com, 64 percent of respondents say they haven’t saved a dime for the holidays.
Although this large pool of people admit to not stashing any cash for gifts and other seasonal purchases, many still plan to shop and spend.
In fact, the average holiday shopper is planning to shell out an average of $738 on gifts, decor, greeting cards and more. That’s a lot of dough considering many haven’t put any dollars away. This explains why a majority of consumers deal with high credit card debt come January.
Instead of swiping the plastic or signing up for a store credit line, consider these resourceful tips on how to earn extra cash to help cover additional holiday costs.
1. Odd jobs
If you think mowing lawns and walking dogs are jobs reserved for teenagers, think again.
Sites like TaskRabbit.com enable people in need of help to list small tasks in exchange for payment, so you can hit the grocery store for $35 or clean someone’s house for $60. TaskRabbit.com doesn’t reach every city yet, so peruse the “gigs” section of your local Craigslist for similar odd jobs.
2. Mystery shop
Retailers and restaurants employee mystery shoppers to get feedback on customer experience and product quality. Earn money by listening to a salesperson’s spiel, test driving a new vehicle or trying out restaurant fare with a friend.
Visit the Mystery Shopping Providers Association website for legit opportunities and avoid any companies that require upfront costs (scam alert!)
3. Freelance your skills
Freelancing is a great way to earn income on the side and employers are increasingly looking for independent contractors to fulfill temporary tasks.
Whether it’s writing, programming, graphic design or customer service you excel at, check out sites like Elance.com, FlexJobs.com and RatRaceRebellion.com for opportunities.
4. Cash in on clutter
Decluttering before the holiday season is a common practice, so why not make money off your unwanted items?
In addition to eBay and Craigslist, there are a host of websites that help you offload specific items for cash. Sell electronics on Gazelle.com or women’s clothing at LikeTwice.com or even exchange gift cards for cash at GiftCardGranny.com.
5. Direct selling
You may roll your eyes every time a friend invites you to her jewelry party, but direct selling is a good way to make some extra cash.
You have to be willing to bug your friends, tap into your network for sales and pay a start-up fee for supplies. These fees are heavily discounted and shouldn’t be exorbitant.
Examples of popular direct sale companies include Amway, Mary Kay and Pampered Chef.
“You can earn cash back or reward
points while you shop online.”
6. Earn points
You can earn cash back or reward points while you shop online with services like EBates and MyPoints.
Register with the sites and shop through their platform to earn points while perusing and purchasing. Redeem points for products or gift cards to give to others.
7. Get focused
Participating in focus groups is a great way to earn extra income, though you have to commit some time to the task. Discussions can take an hour or more and some groups are required to reconvene a few times.
However, the payoff is typically more than you receive for surveys and can be accomplished online.
8. Rent your stuff
Sharing assets is a big trend among millennials, with start-ups like Zimride and AirBnB capturing both headlines and the hearts of cash-strapped travelers. These services enable you to rent out your car, spare bedroom and even parking space for a few hours or days in exchange for payment.
If this is something you’re interested in, now is a great time to get started because the holidays represent peak traveling time.
9. Get crafty
Are you a crafting queen? Whether it’s holiday decor like ornaments or cold-weather attire like crocheted hats and mittens, consider setting up an Etsy profile.
Etsy is considered the end-all-be-all of craft communities and has minimal transaction fees (20 cents per listing, 3.5 percent of sale).
10. Review it
Whether you believe your opinion matters or not, there are plenty of marketing consultants looking for it and they may be willing to pay you for those thoughts.
You can find paying product reviews through MySurvey.com and even get cash for listening to music at SlicethePie.com, so speak up and cash in on your opinion.