Ways to Make Extra Cash for the Holidays

Ways to Make Extra Cash for the Holidays
Written by Irina Vasilescu

With barely a couple of months left before the start of the holiday season, you might find yourself a tad short on gift-giving budget. Instead of having to cut back on your list of people to give holiday presents to, why not use your remaining time to earn some extra cash?

Here, we will take a look at how much people actually spend during the holiday season, and what you can do to earn some extra cash for the numerous occasions which will soon arrive.

How Much Do People Really Spend During the Holidays?

First, how much do people actually spend during the holidays?

There’s Halloween when people are more than willing to shell out a huge amount out of their budget for candy and spooky home décor, as well as costumes for kids and adult parties.

Next, there’s Thanksgiving when you have to spend money on turkey, dinner, and other holiday goodies.

Christmas is when you would be spending some serious money for gifts. This is followed by the celebration for the New Year. By the second day of January, it is possible for your funds to be depleted because of the numerous occasions that you had to spend money on.

To give you more of an idea about how much people actually spend during the holidays, here are a few quick figures:

  • In a survey conducted by, for 2013, 40% of consumers asked have already started shopping for gifts.
  • Among the promotional events held by retailers, more intend to shop during Black Friday than the recently-popularized Cyber Monday.
  • For the holiday season, the top three items that people plan to buy as gifts for themselves and for others are clothes, gift cards and electronic items.
  • Nearly 70% of survey respondents plant to spend $500 or less during the holiday season.
  • According to the National Retail Federation, the winter holidays is the largest gift-giving holiday of all, with celebrants willing to spend an average of $730 on gifts, décor, food and more. For 2013, the total holiday spending for the winter holidays amounted to $600 billion.

If, after assessing your budget near the holiday season, you found out that you only have a couple of hundred dollars to spare, should you skip all the celebrations so you can have an excuse to not show up at the parties with a present? Not necessarily.

As mentioned earlier, you can easily make some extra cash instead of cutting back on your holiday gift-giving list. Read on to find out how you can make some extra cash for the holidays.

How Can I Make Some Extra Cash for the Holidays?

For college students and those who are looking to augment their funds, seasonal jobs have always been a staple resource. The good news is that more and more holiday jobs become available each year. One statistic example is from, an hourly jobs website which shows that the number of companies hiring additional staff for the holidays increased by 26% from last year.

Aside from taking on a holiday job, there are plenty of other ways for you to make some extra cash for the holidays, including the following:

De-clutter and sell all your extra stuff

Even if it’s not spring cleaning time yet, you can use the upcoming holiday season as an excuse to de-clutter, organize and sell all your extra stuff.

Start with the things that you have in your own bedroom. Are there gadgets, clothes, shoes or other knickknacks which you have not touched for the past year or so? If that dress which still has a tag on it has been in your closet for the past year, you are most likely not going to wear it ever again. If you’re a gadget enthusiast, there should be lots of electronics which you are not using anymore.

Organize your things so that you can determine which ones to get rid of, donate and sell. Hold a garage sale so that you can make money out of the extra stuff that you have.

Another bonus of de-cluttering is that you will save money in the future because you will be hesitant to add more stuff to the clutter that you’ve already gotten rid of. If you don’t want to organize a garage sale, simply sell your extra stuff online – through sites like eBay, Craigslist or even Amazon where you can post used but still good items.

Sell your talent

If you have a flair for decorating, offer your service to neighbors, relatives and friends as a holiday decorator. Most harangued parents get even more pressed for time during Thanksgiving and Christmas, so they’d rather have someone else do the holiday decorating for them. Start charging a small rate but once you’ve built up your portfolio and created beautiful displays for clients, you can make a lot of extra money during the holiday season.

If you’re a photographer or a graphic designer, you can create professional-looking Christmas cards for families. If you’re good at drawing portraits, you can sell personalized portraits to people who in turn could give the drawing to someone else as a holiday present.

No matter which field it is that you are talented in, you could use your imagination and business sense to earn some extra money out of it during the holiday season.

Have a bake sale

If you’re good at baking, you can have a bake sale and create scrumptious goodies to make some extra money during the holiday season. Make sure to use food packages which have a Thanksgiving or Christmas theme on the design to make it more attractive for buyers. Of course, you should make sure that the baked goodies taste great, too.

You can simply sell these outside your house, in church, at holiday fairs, farmer’s markets or similar events where there is bound to be lots of buyers.

Sell handcrafted goods at holiday bazaars

During Thanksgiving and Christmas, a lot of homeowners buy big and small knickknacks to use as gift items. If you’re good at designing ornaments, decorations or small gift items, handcraft them and sell them at fairs or bazaars. Make sure to source the raw materials from suppliers who will sell them to you cheap, so that you can make a good profit out of each sale.

Apply for a seasonal job

Retailers usually hire additional staff to handle the extra influx of customers during the holiday season. This gives you an opportunity to earn some extra money to spend for the holidays.

Retail stores are an obvious choice for where you can apply for a seasonal job. Some well-known companies which hire employees on a seasonal basis are Kohl’s, Toys R Us, Macy’s, RadioShack and even the local supermarkets, shops and boutiques in your area. Aside from earning some extra income, these companies also offer employee discounts – which means a lot of savings for your own holiday shopping.

Aside from retail, you can also apply for seasonal work at companies which have shipping, packaging, gift wrapping and customer support services.


If you have a day job and you would like to earn some extra cash, work as a freelancer. Photographers, for example, would have an influx of customers during the holiday season – so amateur photographers can apply as assistants. If you are into writing, graphic design or programming, you can apply for online jobs which are offered on a per-project basis.

Take odd jobs here and there

Errand running or shopping for other people is an odd job that you can take on during the holiday season. Again, your main clients would be parents who are pressed for time and cannot run through errands like picking up the dry cleaning, booking airline tickets, having a car inspected, driving service cars for deliveries or preparing their homes prior to the onslaught of visitors for the holiday season.

Some websites where you can apply for such jobs are or Toys R Us also hires extra holiday helpers who can assemble bikes, train sets and doll houses for the influx of customers during the busiest time of the year.

Take advantage of cash-back promotions

You can also save a few bucks here and there by taking advantage of the extra cash that you can earn from cash-back shopping sites. Don’t forget to check out the discount codes or vouchers that you can use online to minimize your total bill for purchases.

Go pet-sitting, babysitting or house-sitting

Finally, you can go pet-sitting, babysitting or house-sitting during the holiday season. The flurry of activities during the last two months of the year will open up part-time job opportunities for you, which you can grab to earn some extra cash.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to earn some extra money during the holiday season. If you have a day job, make sure to get plenty of rest and sustenance so that you can add a few more hours of work each day and get the cash that you need prior to the gift-giving season.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.


  • Every year I try to pick up some sort of seasonal job. It is really nice to have the extra cash for holiday get togethers and presents. I would definitely recommend it if you can find the time. Selling possessions you no longer use is a great idea too. You can make a surprising amount with ebay and craigslist!

  • I definitely spend a lot of time online and I have found a number of ways to make a bit of extra cash online. There are methods out there both real world and virtual for supplementing your regular income for the holidays without breaking your back to do it,, just takes a little time and energy. You just have to be realistic about what you earn and what you spend during the holidays. You can’t go crazy without thinking of the financial consequences.

  • I need to partake of the “sell stuff” suggestion. I have closet crammed pack that I should crack open and give a shot to ebay. I did enjoy the comment about people buying themselves gifts during the holidays which defeats the purpose for the season. The fact people said they would buy themselves gift cards was a little strange. Why would you buy yourself a gift card? But it does say “buy for themselves and others”, but I honestly had to go back and re-read that portion LOL

    Maybe I can just meet some new friends to buy me a gift card, then I can keep my artwork.

    • An acquaintance of mine used to do a buy/sell/trade type thing on Craigslist and Ebay a few years back and made a lot of money just doing the “buy low, sell high” thing. He said it took quite a bit of work to get established as you need to figure out what items are worth buying and end up spending quite a bit of time doing research, but after a while you get a hang of things and it’s pretty much autopilot.

      I wonder how effective it’d be on a small scale, you know, experiment with like $100 and see how much you can turn it in to. If nothing else, it’s a $100 lesson in buy and sell haha.

  • These are some useful hints, particularly with the emphasis in using what you already have. That is, we all have a talent of some sort. All we’ve got to do is find a market for that talent and give it a value. Also, decluttering for a bit of reselling is also very useful. Why waste perfectly good merchandise when there’s someone out there only too willing to give it a happy home?

  • We’re all trying to bring in more finance for the most decorated and celebrated time of year known as Christmas. This list gives some good ideas on what people should do to go about it. Selling unwanted belongings is one of the most effective ways to get some nice cash to have over the holidays, especially if you have quite a good amount of items to sell and get a great return for them.

  • I am already working a seasonal job in addition to my regular job. I definitely plan to take your advice and look into the cash back sites and see if there is anything that would be good for my family there so I can save even more.

    I’m still working on figuring out how to do freelance writing, but hopefully I’ll be able to rake in a few extra dollars that way by Christmas.

  • Thanks for this! I think everyone definitely looks for ways to earn side cash when it gets close to the Holidays. So this is very helpful for these people who are looking to earn a few extra bucks before shopping season is in full swing!

  • I get cash back from paypal all the time. It’s not a lot but when you combine it with shopping on ebay and getting those ebay bucks it can add up.

    I occasionally use swag bucks and take online surveys, but it’s slow money. I almost always sell stuff I don’t use anymore. This technique can rake in more than one would think.

    Overall, pretty good article.

  • I love the holidays, but they can be expensive, so I welcome ways to make extra income. I tend to love to spend money and buy things, so in addition to a side job to earn more for the holidays, I need to curb my spending. As a matter of fact, curbing my spending is just as important as bringing in more income.

  • During the Holidays I make a lot of money on the side. Since nobody wanted to work on Holidays I always get some extra jobs that pay extra as well, designing some Holiday cards, posters and whatever it is. It’s hard to save up during the Holidays so you might as well just make more right?

  • I was actually thinking about doing a garage sale next weekend. It may take a lot of work but it will be worth it.

    Some years back, I attended a one-day soap-making class and I learned how to make not just bar soap but also liquid handsoap, liquid dishwashing soap, detergent powder and liquid fabric conditioner. I was able to make them at home, sold them to friends and also gave them as Christmas gifts with nice packaging.

    • I would actually expand the soap-making if I were you. That sounds like a decent way to make some extra money from acquaintances and even strangers. Set up an online store and start raking in some cash. Anyways, a garage sale couldn’t hurt either. If you earn a couple hundred bucks in a few hours, then you’re already ahead for the day.

  • I have always wanted to sell my crafts online but other than using Ebay – where there is too much competition I am not familiar with any other platforms. I am not confident that I have the skills to start, build and maintain a site but I certainly dont want to pay an arm and a leg to have a site hosted either.

    • Hey, Nikki… Just GO for it! 🙂 Maybe you can start locally?

      If you really have a passion for art and you want to make a living out of it you should definitely just go for it, the worst that could happen is failure, but failure is not permanent you can always keep on trying until you find success.

      Good luck with your crafts! 😀

  • Thanks for these great tips! I definitely need to make some extra money in order to buy gifts this holiday season – I’m running right on the edge of my budget! I might try freelancing, as you’ve suggested, since I love photography – but I’m not sure that I’m confident enough to really carry through with it. I’ll also have to try seeing if I can root through some closets to find some things that I could part with and possibly sell – it’s worth a shot!

  • Pet sitting the neighbours cats was the loveliest job I ever had! It was also nice because they went back to their family on Christmas, so they did give little me a nice twenty bucks just to come and feed their cat.
    Though I do admit that working in a bookstore because they hired for holiday season was the nicest use of my skills and passions that I had! 🙂 I wish that my decorating and other creative skills were better developed — as it is, I would be embarrassed to even try to ask money for them.

  • The Holidays is a big part of the year for family gifts and wallets. I have noticed that my wallet tends to be flat on Christmas day and my job is simply not enough for everyone’s gifts. My strategy is to stay home as much as possible. I really hate staying home but if I’m home I will not be outside tempted to spend money. I am now in the freelance/network marketing field and I totally agree that it’s a good way to earn extra cash on the side.

  • I am not really into cooking or baking. I am creative but not that patience enough to cut small small stuff and make it into a bracelet or accessories, I am more into selling stuff that I think I no longer need. I am looking for more things that I can save and earn money and this article is somewhat nice to try. Thanks!

  • We could use some extra money in my growing family. School fees, sports fees, piano lessons (have been stopped for a year now), family outings, bills… Keep coming. My husband’s salary portions are alloted for down to the last cent.

    Those suggestions for partime work have been a long-time consideration for me to do as a full time housewife and homeschooling mom. I love what I do here, and want to hel my husband with bringing home the bacon, so to speak. 🙂

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