Money Management

5 seasonal job ideas to earn extra cash for the holidays

By  Kelley Long

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Whether you’re a holiday purist who loathes the fact that Christmas displays start popping up even before Sweetest Day, or if you’re one of those who is excited that certain radio stations are already playing holiday tunes, there’s no escaping that hitting mid-November pretty much means we’re off to the races for the holiday season – and all the spending that comes with it.

Dealing with the most wonderful(ly expensive) time of the year

I personally LOVE this time of year — any excuse for merry-making is a good excuse for me! But it’s also a time of busy-ness and stress, and can also get very expensive if you’re not careful.

If you’re looking for a way to help balance the budget against increased spending on things like gifts, travel, food, etc., how about finding a way to earn some extra cash? Here are five flexible seasonal job ideas that you can work into your schedule.

5 ways to bring in more cash for the holidays

1. Delivery driver — As online shopping continues to take over, more drivers will be needed to deliver purchases to shoppers. For example, Amazon Flex allows drivers to choose when they want to deliver and can be a quick way to pick up an extra fifty bucks for a quick after-work or weekend delivery shift.

Look to bakeries, flower shops or meal services for seasonal opportunities as well that may not be as competitive or insane as Amazon, at least if you live in a big city like I do.

2. Grocery shopper — Most large grocery chains now have at least one service that allows customers to submit orders online for delivery within a certain window. The delivery shoppers choose which orders they want to fill and the tips aren’t bad either — one of my friends squeezes in a few shopping runs between work and picking her kids up from after-school sports, and it’s allowed her to completely fund their next family vacation. Next up: paying for her daughter’s braces.


3. Pet and house sitting — I’ve personally done this to boost my holiday budget, although the most plum earning opportunities are on the actual holidays, so if you’re one who travels or doesn’t have time to run out for a few hours before serving the holiday meal, it may not work.

There are services that allow you to sign up as a contractor and they set up the clients in exchange for keeping up to half the fee, or you can just post in your neighborhood Facebook group or send out the word at work that you’re available to help out with pets and empty houses while people travel.

4. Gift wrapper/order filler — Many department and big box stores offer complimentary gift wrapping during the holidays, so if you’re pretty good with your hands, this could be a fun night and weekend gig that could also allow you to exercise some creativity.

Are there any small businesses in your community that have a large mail-order presence? My mom worked one season for a local gift shop where she hand-wrote all the notes that went with gifts that customers ordered. The coolest part was when she had to write a note from one country music star to another.

5. Retail — This one may be the most obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. My friend who manages a luxury outlet store in Ohio is desperate for holiday staffers and many stores are paying upwards of $12 or more per hour – that’s an extra $350+ just for doing one 8-hour shift a week for a month.

I’ve held several seasonal retail jobs, including a season at Michael’s Crafts where I became known as “Yarn Kelley” for my Type A obsession with organizing the yarn bins. It’s hard work, but if you’re just doing it for a few weeks, a few shifts at a time, the money adds up and it can also give you an appreciation for your non-retail day job.

Just take care not to spend all your earnings taking advantage of the employee discount! (and consider wearing compression stockings)

With a little creativity, there are earning opportunities all around you! Just be sure that you are strategic with the extra money — maybe open up a separate account to make sure you don’t fritter it away or designate the money to pay a certain bill like your cable and internet for the winter months. (My Michael’s money actually paid my student loan payment just by working one day a week)


About the Author

Kelley Long

I believe that the true meaning of financial security is the ability to make decisions without having to worry about money. There are both factual and psychological aspects of this belief and my mission is to help people find that intersection in their own lives according to their personal values and goals.

I hold the CPA/PFS license and am a CFP® professional, but I don’t sell any products or manage any money. When I’m not writing, I’m working one-on-one with people through my coaching business, Financial Bliss with Kelley Long. I’m also a member of the AICPA Consumer Advocate Council and am frequently quoted in the press on financial literacy issues facing Americans.

I love to apply my own money lessons to my writing as well as break down some of the more complicated financial planning techniques into plain English. My goal in life is for all people to feel able to make their own financial decisions with confidence, being fully aware of the pros and cons of the actions they take.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to encourage any lifestyle changes without careful consideration and consultation with a qualified professional. This article is for reference purposes only, is generic in nature, is not intended as individual advice and is not financial or legal advice.

2 replies on “5 seasonal job ideas to earn extra cash for the holidays”

Great article, @kclmoneycoach. You are right, this is an expensive time of year, but I agree that it is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (now try to get that song out of your brain).

My approach to side-hustles, and I would say that it certainly extends into the seasonal work sphere as well, is to pick one thing that you would like to pay for, or pay off. In this scenario, the obvious choice is Holiday gifts. If you can take a seasonal job or work in your side hustle just enough to come out with a net zero expenditure, then you have won the day.

If your ‘real job’ pays all the regular bills, but you would really like to pay off a loan (student, car, credit card) faster, then you just need to decide how much more income you need to accomplish that, and find a gig that helps you get there. If you can achieve that via your seasonal job, then the ends justify the means (and you might even be able to buy some of those holiday gifts a little cheaper with that employee discount you mentioned)!

It’s totally the most wonderful time in my opinion too – I also have a birthday mixed in. 🙂

But I love that sentiment and have a friend who recently did that – she started a side hustle over the summer and paid off $24k of debt in just 7 months! I’m excited to share her story soon on Wealthtender.

Thanks for sharing!!

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