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)