Making your list and checking it twice? Holiday shopping can get pricey, and saving in advance can help you shop for gifts for your loved ones—without taking on debt. But when money's tight and you want to spend more than you can afford to save on your current income, bringing in additional money can help you meet your holiday savings goals.
There's no shortage of side hustles in today's gig economy, so earning extra funds fast is well within reach. Here are five ways to make money before the holidays.
1. Sell Items Online
Take inventory of the things you have around the house that you no longer want or need. Clothes you never wear, surplus furniture, appliances, utensils, decor and more—all of it could be someone else's treasure, and help you make money from home.
Local marketplaces on sites such as Craigslist, Nextdoor or Facebook can be a fruitful place to list your items online. If you're willing to ship, you can reach a larger audience by selling your stuff online on eBay or Amazon, or selling clothing on Poshmark or vintage goods and crafts on Etsy.
2. Find Freelance Work
Picking up freelance work in a field in which you already have skills or experience can be a flexible and lucrative way to bring in extra cash for your holiday fund. Web design, copywriting, editing, social media marketing and software development are all among the most in-demand freelance skills.
It's easy to start offering your services and applying for freelance gigs on online platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr. If you find that you enjoy the freedom and creative challenges freelancing offers, you can also launch an online business to offer your professional services to a wider clientele.
3. Take Care of Pets
If you love hanging out with animals, why not apply your passion to bring in extra income ahead of the holidays? Dog walking, dog and cat sitting in someone else's home, and boarding animals in your home are all in-demand services.
These services are often even more in demand over holidays, which means you won't have a hard time finding someone who needs you to watch their furry friend—and you can charge a premium for your services. To get started with this holiday side hustle, connect with clients through platforms such as Rover or Wag.
4. Tutor a Subject
If you're a whizz at math, a language aficionado or are proficient in any other academic subject, tutoring could be a great way for you to turn your skills into profit. On top of that, tutoring can be extremely rewarding for people who love helping others learn new material and reach their goals.
You could offer your services online through platforms such as Tutor.com or TutorMe. You can also create a website detailing your subject expertise to build on online presence, or let your friends know about your new tutoring business on social media. You can also consider connecting with students in person by putting up fliers or reaching out to local college libraries. Many families also seek grade school tutors via sites such as Care.com.
5. Deliver Food
Another tried-and-true side hustle for earning extra money is driving for a food delivery service—and this may be the easiest way to get started quickly. There's a demand for delivery drivers on platforms such as Postmates, Uber Eats, DoorDash and GrubHub. It's flexible and offers the ability to earn substantial income fast.
Keep in mind that you'll need to meet the driver requirements for each individual platform and, of course, you'll need a working vehicle. But apart from that, it's a highly accessible gig, and in high-demand areas, busy hours and tips make this a lucrative way to make your holiday savings goal a reality.
Get More From Your Money
There's a breadth of side hustles, and the right one for you is one that you enjoy, employs your creative skills and brings in cash. In tandem with spending strategically this season, picking up a holiday side hustle can help you afford the gifts you want to buy your loved ones.
But remember that while increasing your income can bring in extra cash, that cash will only go as far as you make it go. Creating a budget should be your first step to planning for the holidays. Your budget helps you know where your cash is going, and it helps you set aside funds for specific goals—including nailing your holiday shopping.