Can you believe that it's almost that time of the year again? When millions of people start their holiday shopping. But this year is more challenging than ever - and for many, earning a little extra money for Christmas can make a big difference.
I don’t know about you, but time seems to go much faster for me once the busyness of the holiday seasons hits. That means these ten weeks are going to be up before we know it. If you’ve yet to save anything for Christmas, you still have plenty of time to earn some Christmas spending money.
Whether you're trying to avoid more debt, save and earn to buy something bigger than usual, or do something unexpected for your family, now's the time to get to work!
Here are 23 ways to earn extra cash for Christmas this year so that you can have the holiday season you want, not just the one you see on Instagram.
Related: Check out our gift guide for college students and recent graduates!
Perform Micro Tasks/ One-Off Jobs
These type of jobs are perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to feel tied down with a side job and wants a super flexible extra income schedule.
1. Fill Out Online Surveys
Online surveys aren’t going to make you oodles of money. But if you’re looking for something that is really easy, flexible, and won’t eat up much of your time, you may be able to earn a little pocket cash before Christmas rolls around.
Here are some survey sites to check out:
2. Become A Brand Ambassador
As a brand ambassador you can earn $15-$20 per hour by attending events on behalf of a company and passing out free items from the company. Melanie suggests to start your search by looking up “Brand Ambassadors (In Your City)” on Facebook.
Simply check out Zip Recruiter here and search for Brand Ambassador!
Fiverr is a site where you can offer almost any service you can think of starting at $5. No matter what your skillset there’s a chance someone on Fiverr will want what you offer. After you land a few clients and receive high ratings you can then start increasing the price of your service. Check out Fiverr here.
4. Agent Anything
Agent Anything is a site that outsources small tasks but is tailored to local students. You can find a wide variety of tasks to perform at varying pay rates.
Just create an account and get started helping others!
5. Do Tasks On Amazon Mechanical Turk
Mechanical Turk is a site set up by Amazon that allows users to perform “HITs” which are small micro tasks. While each task might not pay a lot many take only minutes to do. Here’s a list of HITS worth looking at. You can read our full guide to making money on Amazon Mechanical Turk here.
6. Become A Website Tester
Did you know that companies will pay you to test their website for usability? You can sign up with a place like UserTesting.com and earn up to $10 for each website you test. Most tests take less than a half an hour to do.
7. Participate In Medical Studies
You can contact the psychology department of your school to see if there are any medical studies you can participate in. This could earn you anywhere from hundreds to thousands. One of our friends did this for an experimental cast. He had to get his leg casted and wear the cast for a week. He was paid well over $1,000 for his time!
Honestly, with a lot of medical studies being done, this has some big potential right now!
8. Search The Web
Two sites that I’ve uses for years to earn extra cash for Christmas are Swagbucks and Inbox Dollars.
Both of these sites will award you points for searching the internet, filling out surveys, playing games and more. Inbox Dollars also has a feature where you can “read” emails for money.
While neither of these sites will make you rich I easily earn a couple hundred from each throughout the year with very minimal effort.
You can sign up for Swagbucks here. And you can get $5 from Inbox Dollars by going through THIS link. (Do note that you need to earn a minimum of $30 with Inbox Dollars to request payment.)
Driving Or Delivering
If you like to drive and have spare time these side jobs will suit you!
9. Drive For Uber Or Lyft
If you live in a city where on-demand ride shares are popular and you have a car you can drive for Uber in your spare time. We recently read how Sam from Financial Samurai was able to make $100/hour with Uber. And Harry at the Rideshare Guy regularly averages over $18/hour.
Plus, a lot of these sites offer cool bonuses!
Drive For Uber: Uber is the biggest company for ridesharing, and they offer bonuses from time to time. Get started driving for Uber here.
Drive For Lyft: Lyft is the #2 ridesharing company, but they are so simliar to Uber. Sign up here.
10. Deliver Groceries and More
With everything going on, grocery delivery is growing in popularity. Plus, as a driver, you don't have to have people in their car, which is a big win for many.
One of the most popular ways to deliver groceries is with Instacart. What's great about Instacart is that you can see a list of all the orders and how much you can earn before you take any gigs on. This is really helpful to plan in advance.
11. Deliver Food
Postmates is a service will pay you up to $20 per hour to deliver food. You can check on their site to see if they need drivers in your area. Another similar company is DoorDash, which we just reviewed here.
Also, in some cities, you may be able to become a driver for Amazon Flex.
Make Money Selling
If you’re good at finding deals, have a source for wholesale products, or are crafty enough to make your own products here are some selling ideas to try.
12. Sell Crafts On Etsy
If you make homemade products like crafts, candles, clothes, soaps, or jewelry you can set up an Etsy store and make your handmade items. You will need to market your business to draw customers into your store, but Etsy is huge during the holiday season.
13. Sell on eBay
At one point Robert was making around $3,000 per month selling on eBay as a side business. He scoured garage and estate sales and bought the items he thought would bring a profit.
Every year, hot toys, consoles, and other things hit the store shelves. If you're savvy, you can spot these items, buy them early, and then resell them for huge profits on eBay as it gets closer to Christmas.
14. Sell On Amazon
Amazon’s FBA service has become quite popular with side hustlers and small business owners. With Amazon FBA you can send in products directly to Amazon (for a small fee) Amazon will store your inventory, ship when it’s purchased, and handle returns on your behalf. You, of course, will need to find a source of profitable products to make this work.
I tried my hand at Amazon FBA this year and almost everything I sent in sold within a month.
Profit From Your Knowledge
If you excel academically in any one area you may be able to earn some extra cash from your knowledge with these ideas.
15. Teach English As A Second Language
Are you a native English speaker? Do you have a college degree? Even better, are you a teacher? If so, you can earn great money teaching English in your own home to foreign students online. You simply login at your given appointment, and teach! It's that easy. VIP Kid is a service that connects English speakers with those looking to learn. It can pay really well if you push yourself to teach often! Check out VIP Kid here.
16. Sell Study Guides
If you are a great notetake, you can sell your study guides online. Stuvia is a site where students can buy other student’s notes, study guides, and even webinars. If you’ve been taking excellent notes and excel in any area academically you might want to try giving a shot at profiting from the work you’ve already done.
Freelance Income Ideas
Freelance income is my favorite source of active income. As a freelancer you can turn your skills into a very profitable side business.
17. Write For Money
There are a ton of ways to earn money by writing. And the good thing is that once you find yourself some clients the income is pretty immediate. Here are 14 ideas to make money by writing. If you want to do this full time (or a big time side hustle), consider taking this class on how to get paid to write.
18. Become A Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants do things like setting up appointments, editing blog posts, posting on social media and more. If you’re skilled in several areas and want a flexible side job that you can do from home, start contacting businesses who may need your help and pitch your services. You can also set up a profile on a place like UpWork, just don’t take less money than you’re worth.
Two areas that are booming right now for virtual assistants are proofreading and transcription services.
Many bloggers and authors leverage proofreaders to check their grammar and more. You can learn how to be a proofreader and find jobs here.
If you're a fan of podcasts, you've likely heard the term "show notes". Well, these are basically a transcription of the podcast. With the rise of video and audio shows, transcription services are at an all time high. Learn how to transcribe and get jobs here.
19. Babysit Or Housesit
Tried and true, babysitting and housesitting are known ways to earn some extra income. During holiday breaks when kids are out of school babysitting is more in demand. Plus, many parents will have work holiday parties, or simply will need a break! Take advantage and earn some extra money.
Don't know anyone local that you can do this for? Consider making an account on Care.com and seeing if you can get business that way.
20. Become A Dog Walker Or Dog Sitter
While you wouldn’t traditionally think that dog walking or dog sitting is a profitable side business endeavor, it really can be. Especially in the colder fall and winter months. Many dog owners are willing to pay to have their pooch walked on a daily basis.
Just like babysitting, if you don't know any dog owners, you can still find clients online. Check out Care.com and see if you can find people to dog walk on there.
21. Hang Christmas Lights
Here’s an idea specific to Christmas – advertise a Christmas light hanging service on Facebook or Craigslist. Many busy and/or older people would love to decorate, but can't do it anymore. You can help them, and get paid for it!
22. Design Websites
If you’re good at graphic design you have a skill that is in demand. To make good money from your skill you just need to make sure you’re marketing your services to the right people.
23. Video Editing
If you have video editing skills put them to use and offer your services to those who need them. Video content is becoming increasingly popular on the internet and you could help everyone from small businesses to popular bloggers. Pick a market and pitch your services.
You Still Have Time to Earn Cash for Christmas
There are millions of way to earn extra income. If you took any some of these ideas and spend a few hours per week on them you should be able to earn enough cash to cover your Christmas expenses this year.
If you're looking for something a little longer term, check out this list of high paying side gigs that can earn you over $1,000 per month!
Also, remember, you can use a cashback credit card to earn extra cash on the gifts you'd normally be buying. I bring this up because some credit cards sweeten the deal right before the holiday season. Check out these top cashback credit cards to see if it makes sense.
Do you actively earn extra cash for Christmas or save all year?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.