If you always feel strapped for cash around this time of year, you’re not alone. Millions of people have trouble enjoying the holiday season with so many extra expenses knocking at the door. This year, why not take some of the financial pressure off with our list of nine free ways to make money? Whether you’re saving for gifts, a special event, or you just want an extra financial cushion for some peace of mind; we’ve got some tried and true ideas for putting some spare cash in your pocket.
Some of these jobs involve working for someone else, setting yourself up as an entrepreneur, or both. You can even select between jobs requiring physical labor or opt for something where you can work at home online. Who knows? You could discover something new and enjoyable that will take you beyond the holiday season and into the new year. Have a look and see what appeals to you.
1. Landscaping and Snow Removal
Landscaping can involve either working for an existing business or setting off on your own to offer services to neighbors. Plenty of landscaping companies will hire unskilled laborers to do necessary tasks. Depending on where you live, this could be an incredibly lucrative gig when the snow flies, as many landscape companies also specialize in snow removal. All you need is a strong back, a willingness to learn, and the ability to work hard and be punctual. Some firms may require you to provide some basic tools as well.
If the idea of working for someone else isn’t enticing, you could consider advertising in your community (whether with fliers or through social media) to offer neighbors services such as lawn-mowing, weeding, picking up trash, or picking up after pets. It’s amazing what some people will pay so that they don’t have to do a job themselves.
Not everyone is cut out for childcare, but babysitting can be a very lucrative part-time gig if you like children. Because of the covid pandemic, many busy parents are having trouble finding adequate childcare, especially for kids who are doing remote schoolwork. Other people just want to have some adult time away without children underfoot.
It might be prudent to acquire some basic certifications in this day and age, such as becoming CPR certified or getting a background check before offering services. An excellent place to meet potential clients is at a club or church group, where parents may be more willing to trust you with their kids. Once you’ve landed a couple of clients outside immediate friends and family, you can start to use them as references, too.
3. Take Online Surveys for Cash
If you want to pick up some pocket change the easy way without leaving your house, you may be surprised to learn you can get paid just for giving your opinion. All you need to do is sign up for a legit survey site and start answering questions on various topics.
While earning cash online with paid survey sites won’t replace a full-time job, you can definitely make some extra money (or even gift cards) for the holidays in exchange for a little bit of your time. This is a great side hustle if you are traveling, too, since you can usually get paid for online surveys you complete using your smartphone.
3. Pet Care
If you love animals, caring for pets offers another opportunity for those who are trying to earn some extra money. Online platforms have made it easy to provide your services to others through various freelancing sites, and finding a job as a dog-walker or a dog-sitter while a family is out of town is pretty simple.
Alternatively, while its unusual, poop-scooping is a surprisingly lucrative business as well, and stories of people starting their own businesses and making thousands of dollars are not uncommon.
4. Auto Detailing
Social media is a great place to advertise auto detailing services. Local marketplace groups on Facebook allow you to reach a broad audience in a short amount of time, and people are always looking to get someone else to clean their cars. You can also use sites such as Craigslist.org or hand out flyers around the neighborhood.
Many people aren’t looking to take their vehicles to a professional service but would be willing to pay a decent rate for someone to come to their home and detail the family car.
5. Fast-food Employee
Okay, so maybe this feels like scraping the bottom of the barrel, but if you want to get a job quick, try applying at a fast food place nearby. While this classic fallback still has some stigma attached, some businesses pay relatively decent wages. Plus, if you’re desperate for the money, it shouldn’t matter.
Working at a fast-food joint can have some surprising benefits as well. You’ll get a chance to practice valuable skills like time management and communication, and you might even get some free meals out of the deal. Fast food places have a high turnover and low barrier for entry, which means your chances of landing a job are pretty good. Even if you tell yourself it’s just temporary, you might enjoy the extra cash enough to stay for a while.
6. Retail Employee
Along the same lines as the fast-food industry is the retail industry, which often hires for minimum-wage jobs with minimal or no requirements. Retail stores often increase their hiring during the holidays to prepare for Christmas shopping, and if you’re ambitious, you should be able to find something suitable. While it’s not glamorous, retail can open the door to other opportunities, and most places offer an employee discount.
7. Online Writing
Up-and-coming writers can find employment as a freelance writer on a variety of content mills or and websites. It is important to note that you’ll need a strong command of the English language to succeed, but now is a great time to try if you’ve ever considered writing.
Starting out, you can find assignments for short blog posts, product descriptions, and review articles which will be published on the internet. While content mills are notorious for low pay, if you’ve got the chops to stick with it, you can eventually find yourself with high-paying clients.
As remote learning and homeschooling reach peak levels, there is a desperate need for effective tutors. Parents looking to get their child extra help in a difficult subject may be willing to pay for a few hours each week for tutoring services. Plus, many websites have cropped up that connect tutors with families looking for specific expertise.
If you’re the academic type that has always been good at math or science, a job as an online or in-person tutor might help pay the bills while providing you with a satisfying career.
9. Handyman Services.
People who are good with their hands might offer handyman services to others in their community. While you probably won’t land jobs like fixing a major appliance or undertaking a huge landscaping project, you can usually find small gigs like painting, organizing the garage, installing light bulbs, cleaning out a basement, or any number of things that people want help with.
Senior citizens are especially in need of these types of services and are often looking for someone they can trust. If you like to solve problems and fix things, there’s always someone out there who will appreciate (and pay you for) a few hours of your time.