The holidays can be stressful not just because you have to see your weird Aunt who smells funny but financially stressful as well.
If you’ve found yourself unprepared or with a less-than-impressive amount in your holiday sinking fund, never fear…I’ve put together a list of seven extra income ideas (plus a bonus) to earn cash for Christmas!
Ideas To Earn Money Fast
The holidays seem to arrive quicker each year…hello, Christmas trees in Target in July?!?!
But sometimes things don’t go as planned, or maybe your budget is extra tight with all the insanity of 2020 – it’s cool, I got you.
I’ve put together this list of seven extra income ideas to help you earn some cash for Christmas – and quick.
These are legit ideas…no scams here, and I’ve tried a couple of them myself in the past.
1. Sell Your Stuff Online
I know you’re probably sick of dealing with the crazies on Facebook Marketplace who creep you out or never show up, and the same here. So that’s why I’ve moved on to better platforms.
Clean out your closet and your kids’ closets and make two piles: donate and sell. Keep the nicer pieces that may be better brands for the sell pile, as they’ll sell more quickly and for a higher price online.
I love to use Mercari to sell my clothing. I sell clothing, purses, other bags, and shoes, and I’ve even sold toys (Legos sell like hotcakes)!
I love Mercari for a few reasons:
It’s easy to ship. Once an item sells, I print out the shopping label, and package it up in plain poly bags from Amazon. I keep them in my office, tape the label on, and put it right out in my mailbox for the mailman to grab when he delivers the mail…it’s SO simple!
No more fielding a million FB messages only for no one to actually buy. No more sitting in your car at Walmart waiting for your FB buyer to show up. No more spending hours on your Saturday mornings trying to sell a shirt for $1.00 in your garage, and no more trips to the Post Office to ship your eBay items.
I used to hate selling items online before. Still, Mercari makes it so simple to list and sell your items plus, it’s easy to transfer your earnings directly into your bank account cha-ching!
You may have been eyeing up that new iPhone that just came out. You’re ready to upgrade but have a whole drawer full of old models and hate to spend the money…here’s a solution: sell your old electronics using Whistle.
If you haven’t heard of Whistle before, they’re a website specializing in buying your used electronics. While you could sell your electronics on Mercari as well, selling on Whistle has a few advantages:
- You are selling the items directly to Whistle, not the end consumer.
- You get a guaranteed offer once you enter all the info about your item.
- You get a free shipping kit with everything you need to pack up your device and keep it safe (including tracking numbers.)
- You get paid within 24 hours of your device being received #winning.
2. Multitask While Watching Netflix
How much time do you really spend Netflix + Chillin?
If you like playing video games, try some of these apps that pay you to play games. If not, doing online surveys while watching TV is another great way to earn some extra cash. Nope, it certainly won’t make you a millionaire any time soon, but if you’re doing nothing but sitting on the couch anyway, why not at least make a few bucks simultaneously?
One of the best platforms for online surveys is Branded Surveys. They are reputable and have been around for a while.
It’s simple to get started – just create an online profile and give them some info so they can better match you with specific surveys that would be a good match for you, then fill out as many surveys as you can in your spare time!
3. Find Customers Online
Do you already have a business? Maybe the best extra income ideas for you would be focusing on your current business/trade but finding more jobs and customers.
Consider listing your services on Thumbtack. This is a fantastic site (and app) for looking for professionals in their local area.
For example, suppose I want to have family pictures taken but aren’t familiar with any photographers in my area. In that case, I can head to Thumbtack, search for photographers, and instantly get results plus a TON more information, including:
- Price ranges
- Services offered
- Examples of past work performed
- Social profiles
- Contact info
- And so much more…(even their policies on handling social distancing)
Thumbtack is a fantastic replacement for the yellow pages if you remember what those are, or even regular online websites or listings.
It’s convenient for your customers to search by their zip code and find professionals in their area – and you need to be on that list for them!
4. Proofreading from Your Couch
I have a weird quirk about me…I love to proofread, like LOVE…and so do my mother and sister (apparently, it’s hereditary).
Usually, this task was reserved for editors. Still, in this digital age, we live in, there are SO many options to earn money from home as a proofreader.
I know I’m a #supernerd, but this sounds like the perfect side gig ever! Sitting on the couch curled up with my laptop getting to correct people’s spelling and grammar without having to actually talk to any people!
It’s surprisingly easy to start, and you do not have to be an expert or have specific degrees!
5. Use Apps To Save When You Shop
This is one thing I consistently see people NOT doing that can save a substantial amount of money, especially during the holiday shopping season.
Cashback apps and websites are often dismissed as scams, but they are the opposite! I earn hundreds of dollars a year by using cashback apps and websites.
You can cash my points for gift cards, a check, or deposits into your PayPal account.
Plus, many apps and sites will even give you more points if you opt to use your points for gift cards instead of cash.
I love to trade mine in to treat myself to Starbucks, Chipotle, or a Target gift card; I can use the earnings to purchase groceries or household items.
Here are some of my favorite cashback apps and websites. Each one offers a welcome bonus to sign up (you’ll have to make a qualifying purchase to earn the bonus).
Rakuten is seriously the best! You may have heard of them before they changed their name to Rakuten – they used to be called Ebates. They are my favorite website/app to use when shopping online.
Rakuten is simple to use; I prefer the app or the browser extension. When I want to shop, I go to the app and search for the store I want to shop at. When the store pops up, just click, and it will take you directly to that store’s website.
Place your order as you usually would, and the cashback you earned will be credited to your account when your order is processed.
Pros: Rakuten partners with over 2,500 retailers, so most stores you’ll shop at will be found on their site. Their Chrome extension makes things even quicker when shopping on your computer. If you visit a website partnering with Rakuten, a notification will show you the amount of cashback available. You can click it to activate it.
Rakuten consistently offers the highest referral bonuses, which is great news because once you sign up and start using Rakuten, you can share it with your friends and family and earn substantial money when they join (at no cost to them).
Cons: Rakuten only pays out quarterly, while other platforms pay once you reach a specific threshold. However, Rakuten will mail you a physical check every quarter or send your money directly to PayPal.
While the premise is the same: earning cashback for purchases, Ibotta works differently than Rakuten.
Ibotta is more of a reverse-couponing app. You sign up for Ibotta and download the app, then scroll through the available offers (or search for a specific item/offer). You then click on the offers you’d like to save.
After shopping, come back to Ibotta to scan your receipt. Then, the app will match the items you purchased to the offers you saved and credit that amount to your account!
Pros: You can earn substantial cashback if you purchase brand-name grocery, household, and personal care items. They also offer generic offers from time to time.
Ibotta recently released its browser extension, which allows you to link certain accounts (hello, Walmart Grocery Pickup), so you can earn money on your purchases where you don’t receive a physical receipt.
Cons: You must earn $20 in cashback before you’re able to cash out your points, though this may not necessarily be a “con” depending on how much you shop and use the app.
Fetch rewards has quickly become my favorite of all the cashback apps! It’s just SO easy.
They have specific offers like Ibotta, but you don’t have to search through them or add particular offers. Just shop and scan. That’s it. Literally the easiest app ever.
Pros: You can now earn cashback on ANY receipt you scan, although, for most places, it will only be 5 points (which is super low but better than nothing).
It only takes a second to scan your receipt. In addition, you can now connect to your email, which will *virtually* scan any email receipts you get, like Amazon, Walmart Grocery, etc.
You’ll earn the most points on grocery receipts, gas, and hardware stores, and you can cash in your points once you get only 3,000!
Cons: It’s probably the lowest earning of all the apps mentioned here. But believe it or not, the points still add up quickly!
Top Cashback works almost exactly like Rakuten but has over 4,000 retailers they participate with.
Pros: They pass on 100% of their commission to their customers, so you can often find some of the highest cashback offers on this site.
Top Cashback also has a browser extension available and no threshold to cash out!
Cons: Their app could be better, I prefer to use Top Cashback on my laptop instead, and their site can sometimes be a bit slow (but it’s usually worth it for the higher cashback!)
Dosh is also a crazy-easy cashback app to use! Download the app, set up your account, and link a card or preferred method of payment.
When you shop online, you’ll get the instant cashback credited to your account when you make eligible purchases!
Pros: After you set up your account and link your card, there’s not much to do…just make your purchases using the card you connected, and you’ll earn cashback automatically!
Plus, they give you $1 for every card you link right off the bat. And don’t worry, they focus heavily on security. They don’t store your credit card data, so connecting your credit/debit cards is safe!
Cons: You can’t cash out until you reach $25, BUT then you can transfer to your bank, PayPal, Venmo, or donate to a charity!
If you were counting, if you sign up for all the apps listed here, you’ll earn $63.00!
Now, remember, you won’t actually earn the bonuses until you make the qualifying purchases required, but I don’t want you to go buying stuff JUST to earn free money…that doesn’t make much sense, does it?
The way to do this is to either purchase Christmas gifts using these apps/sites that will help you earn your bonuses OR buy things you were already planning to purchase ANYWAY…this way, you’re not spending any additional money, and the $63.00 you earn can be all extra money!
6. Deliver Groceries
If you ask me (I know you didn’t), grocery delivery is the BEST invention of the past few years…especially during a global pandemic.
While I primarily use Walmart Grocery Pickup because it’s less than a mile from my house, I have had my groceries delivered right to my door a few times, and it is magical.
Because I’m a “questioner” and always have to know everything about everything, I grilled the woman who delivered my groceries most recently.
She was wearing her bright green Instacart T-shirt, and I just HAD to know if she liked her job and made any money!
She told me she was a teacher and had worked for Instacart the past few summers to earn some extra cash. She loved it, plus she said she was happy with the amount of money she earned (she didn’t share any numbers with me, of course) and absolutely loved how flexible it was!
Instacart has just blown up the past year and is always looking for new people to deliver groceries in your area!
7. Browse the Web
Did you know you could earn money and other rewards just for playing around on your phone/computer or searching online? Crazy, right?
It’s true. Some companies will pay you to collect patterns of how people show online and browse the internet.
Swagbucks has been around forever! You can earn points for shopping online, surfing the web, completing surveys, and watching videos…it’s super simple and fun to do when you’re bored.
There are many different ways to use Swagbucks, too – pick which method works best for you and start earning.
You’ve probably heard of Nielsen before, maybe as a child? They are the company that used to contact people to watch the unreleased pilots of tv shows and ask for feedback as market research to try and predict the future success of a series.
But these days, Nielsen will actually pay you to allow you to track some of your online behaviors…not in a creepy way, though.
You can earn rewards for installing an app on your phone that allow Neilsen to gather data regarding surfing the web in general or about Facebook and Instagram!
Bonus Tip: Sharpen Your Skills
Do you have money-making skills that you’d love to practice and perfect? Then, try taking some online courses from the comfort of your home on Skillshare!
You can find courses on literally anything on Skillshare’s platform. They offer thousands of classes to spark your creativity…
Unlock a passion, side hustle, or new professional skill with thousands of classes in design, business, and more.
Learn how to monetize your passion and get paid to do what you love!
These extra income ideas will help you earn some extra cash for Christmas quickly so you can have a debt-free Christmas this year.
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Kristin Stones is the owner of Cents + Purpose, an online community dedicated to sharing practical personal finance content. Her mission is to equip women with the necessary tools and knowledge to take back control of their money and live a more purposeful life. She creates actionable content to help her audience achieve financial wellness using her simple approach to managing money - all learned through her personal experience of paying off almost $55,000 of debt in under two years.