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Seven Ways to Earn Extra Holiday Spending Cash

As 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 [3]. 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 [4]) 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 [5])