With Christmas being a couple of months away, now is a good time as any to start saving up for those holiday presents (and beer money! Let’s not forget beer money!). I’ve already talked about the different ways you can make some extra cash in wacky but practical ways, but the good news is that there are still lots of ways to do so. Most of the suggestions I will be making here would probably be stuff you already do or have already done, in which case I’d love to hear more about your experience in the comments section below.
I’m adding some resources to the earning tips and suggestions I will discuss below for your convenience. What I like about most of them is that they don’t require the kind of commitment that other jobs require, which is to punch in and out every day after signing a binding contract that stipulates you will be with the company within x amount of months or years. Nope. You simply earn enough to reach your financial goal (whether it’s for a certain item you want or to save up for a certain occasion - like Christmas), and then you don’t have to keep doing it if you no longer want to.
With that being said, here are some easy but tried-and-tested ways to earn a bit of holiday income.
Do odd jobs...online
I’m talking about virtual odd jobs here, not the kind you and I most probably grew up doing around the neighborhood for some pocket money. Instead of doing a paper route or mowing other people’s lawns, you can do the following for other people, albeit remotely.
- Answering surveys - As you probably can attest to by now, completing surveys is a great way to earn a little extra income for whatever purpose it may suit you. I keep active on certain paid survey sites because, over time, I find I can earn enough to go on a holiday shopping spree from the money or gift cards I earn from those, and not have to dip into my own savings account for frivolous things.
- Accepting tasks on Amazon MTurk - I turn to Amazon Mechanical Turk whenever I need some pocket money for little sales I encounter (most of them of the car parts-related kind), and it’s easy enough to find the kind of doable work that suits my schedule and inclination at the time. My favorite tasks to do there so far are classifying and identifying objects found in satellite imagery, and picture tagging for specific products.
- Completing tasks on rewards sites - Similar to the reason I do survey panels, I also like the ease with which I can earn cash or rewards in certain GPT sites without having to quit my freelance gigs. I can do it in my free time, then sit back and collect my earnings when I need to.
I have a Zen practitioner friend who keeps telling me to “let go of the old to make room for the new”. He says it applies to all aspects of life, including relationships, opportunities, emotions, and yes, even material things. And I believe it definitely applies to making money for Christmas shopping - I would need to let go of old stuff that could benefit others (and me, in turn, since I will be getting paid for those items) before I can make room for new stuff. So here are some of my favorite virtual yard sales for selling my gently-used but still quality goods.
- Facebook Marketplace - I like how easy it is to search for things within my vicinity when I shop at FB, and how easy it is to sell something in turn. I simply need to name what I’m selling, give it a price tag, select the category for it, describe its qualities, then upload images of what I’m selling. Marketplace automatically tags my location so I can attract potential buyers within my vicinity, and if anyone is interested, they can immediately reach me via Facebook messenger.
- eBay - I’ve already sold most of my second-hand and unused (sadly, we had lots of those because the kids outgrow things even before they can use them) items on this selling platform, and I have yet to encounter a negative transaction. It’s easy to categorize stuff, and if I don’t have the time or patience for bidding, I name my price and people who like it and find the price reasonable buy it without any drama!
- Declutter - now this is my go-to app for selling stuff I don’t have any use for anymore. The interface is clean and easy to use, there are no auction fees, and there’s free shipping on all orders!
It’s actually my wife who’s a big fan of the cash back system since she does most of our budgeting and knows most of the retail and grocery stores inside-out. But when I realized it’s easy enough to do on a smartphone, I was hooked as well. It’s a great way to earn back the money you spent, so I really take advantage of cash back offers when I can.
- Ibotta - I like how Ibotta simplifies the cash back process by making everything doable via my smartphone. After choosing the offers on products I like, it’s just a matter of shopping, taking a picture of my receipt, and redeeming the cash I spent in just a couple of days!
- Walmart Savings Catcher - Walmart prides itself in having some of the lowest prices around, so with this cash back program, you basically have to prove that their prices are unbeatable, otherwise, you will get an eGift Card for the difference!
- Snapcart - It’s awesome how Snapcart operates on a global scale so even more people all over the world can enjoy cash backs for their purchases. There are many brands I actually like participating in the program, so it’s always good!
When people say it’s hard to earn a “disposable income” for little things like gifts and treat-yourself-type stuff, I have to shake my head. Maybe they’re thinking of big investments like grand vacations and all-out shopping sprees in luxury retail stores. But when it comes to saving up for the simple but significant things, I find that there’s a staggering amount of ways to do so without even giving up your day job or even allocating too much time and effort on it.
What are the different ways you’ve done to earn some extra cash without having to sign up for an extra job? Can you relate to the ones I’ve listed in this post? Share your experiences, I would love to learn from them.