The holiday season was great for family photo shoots, consumption of calorie-laden desserts and some time off, but they were not so great for your wallet. From Christmas gifts to party food to plane tickets to visiting close friends, you tend to incur a lot of expenses over the last few months of the year. Come January 2nd, most of us find ourselves sitting in front of our budgeting apps or bank account websites and thinking, “Oh wow. Look at how much I spent. Look at that credit card bill. How am I going to get back on track financially?”
While frugality has its place, you don’t have to cut everything out as there are simple ways to earn extra cash to help pay down the debt you’ve racked up and to get your bank accounts back into a “healthy” status.
Grab a Gig
We’ve been living in a gig economy for a while now and there are opportunities for everything from earning extra cash doing things like mystery shopping, checking shelf prices, taking pictures of locations, etc. There are even apps that will point you toward the gigs that are available to you locally. You can also try smaller one-off gigs: cleaning up a yard, helping people take down left-behind holiday decorations, running errands, helping with new year’s/early spring cleaning, etc. These gigs might not pay a whole lot, but every little bit helps, right? Plus, these types of gigs are built to be done in your spare time or while you were already doing something else. It’s almost passive money…but not quite.
Sell stuff on the web
The internet makes it easy to earn extra dough by selling second-hand items, or resell existing stuff on the web. You can sell things like gift cards, mobile phone accessories, cardigans, etc. According to Natalie Cooper of BankingSense, “You can sell stuff like gift cards on online sites like eBay. While it may not be as convenient as using a product exchange, such options can sometimes prove to be more profitable, as there is no middleman scrapping of money in the difference between the selling and buying price. If you already have an established eBay account, selling online will be easier.”
One of the keys to eBay success is to sell things that are limited edition or aren’t available anywhere in a large quantity, such as regional, soon to expire, handmade; anything that falls in these categories has a good chance of attracting buyers during the holiday season. Conversely, you may not reap much benefits while trying to sell stuff that anyone can buy from the mall, supermarket, or the streets.
Take advantage of opportunities with freelance skills such as writing, graphic designing, marketing and promoting: you can design business flyers, holiday cards, portraits, and more. And by keeping your rates fair, you may end up with work beyond the holiday season. If you can provide services like baking and use social media to sell your expertise, you get to set the prices on what you’re going to create and sell. Working as a freelancer will allow you to set your own hours while you get the opportunity to get paid per task.
If you’re already doing a day job, you could still take up freelancing as a side gig, but specify your availability to employers. Take advantage of phases when no one wants to work as this is often where extra money is made.