Personal Finance 

Seven Ways to Earn Extra Holiday Spending Cash

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$500As the holidays approach during these cash strapped times, you might be wondering how you can earn a little extra cash this holiday season to help pay for gifts (or maybe that vacation to someplace warmer!). Despite the down economy, there are still opportunities for you to earn a little extra cash as long as you’re willing to do a little extra work.


The easiest way is to ask about overtime at your current job. Many jobs offer overtime, especially retail jobs, during the holiday season and often all it takes is for you to ask for it. Not every offers overtime pay so your mileage will vary but since you’ve already got the job, there’s certainly no danger in asking for more hours to supplement your income. If you don’t work a retail job where overtime is readily available, ask anyway because the worst thing that can happen is for your boss to say no. Also, working more hours and being more productive may help you down the road in your career.

Mystery Shopping

I signed up for a bunch of mystery shopping programs back when I was researching them for my post on how to avoid a mystery shopper scam. I noticed that there’s been a recent increase in the number of emails I’ve received asking for mystery shoppers at retail stores. You won’t earn a fortune but every little bit will help. While I implore you to read the entire post to avoid scams, the key to avoiding a mystery shopping scam is to never pay a fee to join. They pay you, not the other way around.

Hold a Garage Sale

This will become tricky as the weather gets colder and colder but start selling some items you no longer use. I started selling a lot of our less frequently used items (where to sell old unwanted stuff) to help clear out some of the clutter in our home. In addition to making more room, we picked up a few extra dollars we can spend on other, more important, items.

Find a Part Time Job

Much like with our Overtime tip, a lot of stores at the mall will start to need seasonal help to assist with the holiday rush. While you’ll have to contend with the 10% unemployment rate, it doesn’t hurt to walk the mall or cruise local business areas in search of “Help Wanted” signs. Many places are looking only for seasonal help so be prepared to only work a month or so before the holiday season ends.

Donate Plasma

When you donate blood, you do it out of the goodness of your heart (or maybe you really like those t-shirts and free sodas!). When you donate plasma, you do it out of the goodness of your heart and you can get paid. Unlike donating blood, donating plasma is a pretty arduous task that requires several hours and you’re compensated for your time. How much you get paid will vary from area to area but you can usually earn a tidy sum for your effort.

Open a Side Business

There are plenty of businesses you can open up on the side that don’t require licenses, large staff, or all the other larger risks of owning your slice of the American dream. Are you good with dogs? Consider a dog walking service. Do you enjoy cleaning? Clean homes and offices. If you don’t mind watching kids? Consider babysitting or house-sitting.

Seek Gigs

Finally, give your local Craiglist’s Gigs section a peek to see if there’s anything there that you might qualify for. It won’t be steady work but you can find an odd job here or there. Just be on the lookout for scammers.

Do you have a favorite go to task for some extra cash?

(Photo: daviddmuir)

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “Seven Ways to Earn Extra Holiday Spending Cash”

  1. Wilma says:

    I already have the part time job and the over time too. This week I finally opened an EBAY account w/pay pal to try an rid myself of my pack rat clutter. My family is thrilled but I have to work up the courage to actually let go of the stuff and post it. I also make patchwork blankets and want to sell them as well. Have always given those as gifts. Have also recently joined Craigs List, Etsy and BooCoo. All have nice things for sale. I love looking and it gives me an idea of what to expect.

    EBAY w/pay pal seems to be the safest way to go so far. I’ve been hearing horror stories at work about the online auction sites so I am dragging my feet till I see better how things work. Any clues from the Bargaineering peanut gallery would be helpful and most appreciated.

    Thanks Jim, for keeping this site fresh with all these great blogs. I don’t always post a reply but I DO read everything you post. =)

    • Jim says:

      Thanks Wilma! I’ve been clearing out a lot of stuff on Craigslist but you have to be careful anytime you deal with people online. Paypal can protect you in a lot of ways, kudos to you for clearing out your clutter!

  2. Andrew says:

    Another way to earn more money, espically in the colder states, is to take seasonal work. I am an ex-army guy who is still pretty fit and I spend saturdays going around the local neighborhood to help with leaf cleaning. I am able to clean about 10 yards on any given day (lots of repeat customers) and at $30 a pop, that gives me $300 tax free dollars. It is also great excercise.

  3. Patricia says:

    I have found ebay isn’t as profitable as it once was – like craigslist! Sometimes I just get extra cash my cutting back on what I purchase and how often.

  4. jsbrendog says:

    overtime: asking for more work can almost never be a bad choice. the only way i see it making you look bad is if you aren’t handling the work you have already. being diligent and being known as the perosn who is willing to work when needed is always a plus in your corner

    selling stuff: I just throw stuff i find around that i dont want up on and forget about it. sometimes i get an email saying someone bought it and sometimes i get an email saying the listing is expiring and to renew it. easy, simple cash

  5. jsbrendog says:

    didn’t mean to hit submit, my bad

    as for plasma…too much for me. i have trouble with giving blood at a checkup so no dice, although it is a solid idea. how much on average would you really get paid for that anyhow?

    and craigslist, i have found many apartments and sold some stuff on craigslist but i would be wary of the gigs and jobs…just seems sketchy to me

  6. jsbrendog says:

    also you could try using amazon’s mechanical turk. i made 75 bucks on it last xmas season when i had downtime at work

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