Every year, it seems Christmas sneaks up on us. When you are unprepared for the costs of the holiday season, what happens? Do you pull out the credit card?

It’s easy to whip out the credit cards during the holidays and then regret it after Christmas is over and the bill comes. To help avoid that fate this year, why not earn some extra cash to pay for gifts and other holiday expenses?

This year, commit to having a debt-free holiday. You can do that in a couple of ways. Consider finding ways to cut Christmas expenses. Narrow down your Christmas gift-giving list or reduce the amount of money you spend per person.

Or, you could check out these ideas to earn some extra cash for Christmas. If you combine both ideas you could end up with a nice increase in your savings account balance after the holidays. See if any of these ideas for making extra cash at Christmas appeal to you.

1. Pick up a Seasonal Job

Retailers need workers to keep up with all the demand of holiday shoppers. They need extra cashiers, stock persons and maintenance staff. Check out your favorite retailer to see if they are hiring. Consider a place you like to buy from so you can take advantage of any employee discount.

Another place to get a seasonal job might be at a restaurant. Restaurants are typically busier around the holidays. They need extra servers, hosts and cooks to feed the extra customers that visit during the holiday season. Check with sit-down restaurants near you for job openings.

Seasonal jobs generally start sometime around Thanksgiving and go into January or February. The extra three months of work could easily help cover your Christmas costs.

2. Make Something Crafty

Do you have a hobby or craft? For instance, can you make handmade jewelry or knit items such as booties? Or, do you have a knack for graphic design? Craft fairs abound in the fall and many people are looking for gifts they can give.

Sales on sites such as Etsy, CafePress and Redbubble also increase during the Christmas/holiday season. Find ways to sell those crafts you’re so good at making and earn yourself some extra cash.

With Redbubble or CafePress all you have to do is upload your design. The company will print it on t-shirts, laptop covers and other items. They’ll even handle shipping and returns for you, and send you a commission check when you get a sale.

With Etsy you could make items yourself, or you could make downloadable design templates for printable unframed pictures or sayings.

Note that you’ll have to do some marketing to get your designs in front of customers if you choose the online route.

Selling at craft fairs brings the customers to you, but you need to beware of one potential down side. Just be careful not to spend more than you’d get out of it. You don’t want to buy a bunch of supplies and not sell any of your crafts. In addition, craft fairs usually have fees for renting tables for product displays.

Talk with loved ones to get their opinion on your crafts before you put too much money into the business.

3. Get Babysitting Jobs

Do you like caring for kids? Are you responsible and good at interacting with children? The need for babysitters increases during the holiday season. Parents need someone to watch the kids while they attend holiday parties. You could also watch kids while parents are out shopping for holiday gifts.

Check with family, friends and neighbors for babysitting jobs near you. Or create a profile on Care.com to find babysitting jobs in your area.

4. Pet Sit

Do you love animals? Consider taking in a dog while the owner is out of town for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Or check in on the neighbor’s cat while they are away. My cat doesn’t do well away from home, so I always prefer someone to come check on her while we are away. She is less stressed than if she would have been boarded.

Advertise your pet sitting services to family, friends and co-workers. Or, post a note on Facebook. Note: Care.com, which I mentioned in the babysitting section, has a section to post your profile as a pet sitter too.

5. Clean Houses

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, people have less time and energy to devote to keeping their house clean. And with the holidays, people may have more of a need for help with housecleaning. Gatherings and family staying/visiting means more tasks in general, and cleaning might get pushed to the bottom of the list.

Hire your services for cleaning and organizing so that people can have help getting their homes ready for guests. Advertise with an email to family, friends and neighbors.

6. House Sit

Are any of your friends or neighbors going out of town for the holidays? Ask if they’d like to hire you to house sit. You’d be responsible for tasks such as watering the plants and getting the mail. Or, you may need to feed the fish or whatever other small tasks need to be done while homeowners are away.

In addition, some people just like their home occupied when they’re away so as not to attract burglars with an empty house.

It’s important when you work as a house sitter to be sure to lock up the house and/or garage after you’ve completed your tasks. Security is a top priority.

7. Decorate for the Holidays

Do you have a knack for decorating? Why not offer your services as a Christmas or holiday decorator? You would use the client’s own decorating supplies to get their home ready for the holiday season.

This would take the job off of their plates and earn you some extra cash for Christmas in the process.

8. Clean Your Own Closets

You might be wondering how cleaning your own closets could earn you money for the holidays. Do you have stuff laying around that you don’t use anymore?

Clean out your closets, attic, and basement. Sell the items you no longer need or want on local sell sites. Craigslist, eBay, local Facebook buy/sell groups are a great place to start. With a little work you could earn some serious money fast if you have a lot of unwanted items.

Items that would make great Christmas gifts are a great place to start. Maybe sell unwanted gaming systems or accompanying games. Or, sell those clothes and other accessories that still have the tags on them.

Selling jewelry could be another way to help people get discounted Christmas gifts and earn yourself some money in the process.

9. Find Online Work

There are many opportunities for earning money right from your own home doing online work. You could work as a customer service rep for a company such as U-Haul. They hire customer service reps to work from home.

Or, you could perform freelancing jobs through Upwork. Upwork is a site that advertises freelancing skills to business owners. Other online jobs you could do include data entry jobs, transcription jobs or online tutoring.

10. Work as a Rideshare Driver

Companies such as Uber and Lyft hire rideshare drivers to bring people to and from their desired destinations. The need for Uber and Lyft drivers tends to increase during the holiday season.

That’s because people tend to have more social gatherings and other commitments they need to get to. One of the cool things about working for these companies is that you can sign on to be available when it’s most convenient for you. There are no set hours – you choose your own hours.

Bonus: besides a per-ride payment, you can earn tips as a rideshare driver too. Hint: rideshare drivers often earn more when they work late night or early morning shifts. Riders heading home from holiday gatherings are especially grateful not to have to drive.

11. Rent Out a Room in Your House

Another idea to make money for Christmas is to rent out a bedroom or finished basement in your house. People tend to travel more during the holidays. Sites like Airbnb offer to advertise your room rental to holiday and other travelers.

They screen renters, collect the cash and pay you after taking a small cut of the nightly or weekly rental fee. People choose sites like Airbnb to rent from instead of hotels because the rent is typically cheaper than with a hotel.

12. Find Gigs on Craigslist

How about looking at your local Craigslist “Gigs” section to find smaller, one-time jobs for earning extra cash? When I checked my local Craigslist site, I found a lot of choices for gigs. Here are a few that I found:

  • Brand ambassador jobs (product displays and serving samples)
  • Concert security jobs
  • Event works such as set-up, clean-up and servers
  • Handyman jobs
  • Cleaning jobs
  • Moving jobs
  • Painting jobs
  • Snow shovelers

And many others. Look through your local Craigslist ads and see if you can find some gigs that will help you bring in extra cash.

13. Tutor People From Home

Another idea for earning money is to tutor people from home. You could work for several online companies doing a variety of tutor work. Sites like VIPKID hires tutors to teach English to Chinese students online. Tutor.com hires tutors in traditional school subjects.

There are several companies that hire people to tutor from home during all hours of the day and night. Some companies focus just on teaching traditional school subjects, others focus on teaching English as a second language.

Hint: In many cases, you don’t have to know the child’s first language to tutor them in learning to speak English. The tutor companies provide immersion-type lesson plans; you just follow the directions.

14. Use Your Car for Deliveries

What about using your car for deliveries to earn some extra cash during the holidays? Companies like DoorDash and UberEats have drivers deliver restaurant orders to people at their home or place of business.

Another option would be to deliver groceries via a service called Instacart. Instacart drivers head to local grocery stores to pick up and deliver groceries for customers.

Drivers for these types of jobs earn per-delivery pay, and often earn tips as well. If you’ve got a fuel-efficient car and know your way around town, this might be a good side hustle for you.

15. Get Cash Back on Shopping

I’m guessing you’re doing some extra shopping this time of year due to the holiday season. Why not earn cash back on some of those shopping trips? Ibotta gives you cash back on your shopping when you take advantage of site coupons.

All you do after you sign up for your free Ibotta account is to browse the deals at the stores you shop at. When you see a deal on an item you want to buy, just add the coupon to your Ibotta cart.

After you buy the item, you scan your receipt with your Ibotta app. Ibotta credits you with the cash back offer for the item(s). You can transfer the cash you earn with Ibotta to your PayPal account.

Another option for getting cash back on shopping is Ebates.  Ebates will give you up to 40% cash back on purchases you make at participating stores. All you have to do is shop online at the stores by accessing them through your Ebates account.

Ebates credits your account for the cash back you’ve earned, and you can transfer your cash to your PayPal account.

16. Get into Retail Arbitrage

Have you ever heard of retail arbitrage? Retail arbitrage is the process of buying something and then reselling it for more. If you can find some great deals on new or used items, then resell them at a higher price, you can earn some serious cash.

We suggest looking for items to resell in several places:

  • Clearance bins at local stores
  • Used items on eBay or Craigslist
  • Items you find at garage sales or on Facebook Marketplace

After you find the items you can resell them for more. You can resell them on some of the same places you may have bought them on. List them on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist – even Amazon has a place for reselling stuff.

The key to success in retail arbitrage is to be sure you’re getting a great deal on what you buy and making a profit when you sell. You need to take into account factors such as time spent getting the item, shipping it to your buyer, listing fees, etc.

And you need to have an idea of what an item will sell for. If you don’t get it for a super deep discount, you’ll likely have trouble selling it for enough to make a profit. But if you’re great at finding good deals, retail arbitrage could be a serious money-making business for you.

Summary

Christmas and other holiday expenses can add up really quickly. As you can see, there are lots of options for earning extra cash for Christmas. You can earn money by running your own business such as a babysitting business.

Or you can earn cash by working an online job such as being a customer service rep. Conversely, you can earn cash by working a seasonal job at a brick and mortar store or restaurant.

The choices are nearly endless. There’s no longer a need to start each new year with massive credit card bills from the holiday season. Instead, plan ahead and earn your Christmas gift and other needed money ahead of time.

By determining a holiday budget in advance you’ll know exactly how much money is needed to cover your Christmas and other expenses. Then you can get to work earning all of the cash you need.

Have you ever taken on extra work to earn money for Christmas or other holiday expenses? If so, what was your job of choice? And how did you like it? Share your experiences in the comments section below.