16 Side Hustles to Earn Extra Cash This Holiday
The holidays seem to bring a strange mixture of joy and financial anxiety into our lives. It’s a time of year that many look forward to, but it can also bring about stress. We all want to spoil our loved ones with the best gifts that money can buy, and unfortunately, it’s very easy to go over budget on these purchases. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans plan to spend an average of $ 875 during the 2023 holiday season on gifts, decorations, and other key seasonal items. This is expected to be 3-4% higher than 2022 holiday spending.
So, it’s no surprise that many of us wind up looking for seasonal jobs because we need holiday cash just to make it through the festivities without breaking the bank. The good news is the best holiday jobs are more plentiful — and more lucrative — than ever. Some jobs may require you to be in person, but many can be done at home and/or on your own time. There’s plenty of room to get creative based on your needs and interests.
16 Holiday Side Hustles to Explore
The “season of giving” sometimes makes us want to give outside of our means. If you’re struggling with your finances leading up to the holidays, you’re not alone. There’s a reason seasonal jobs have existed for a long time, and anyone who has been to a retail store this time of year can see why that is! But even if the thought of working in a store during the holiday rush makes you break out in hives, there are options for you. Let’s walk through the 16 best side hustles to explore this year.
1. Start a seasonal retail job
We often associate seasonal jobs with positions at large, traditional retailers like Target or Kohl’s, and for a good reason. Each year, such retailers take on thousands of seasonal employees to help manage increased foot traffic and online activity.
Seasonal retail jobs have evolved significantly in 2023. With the rise of e-commerce, traditional in-store roles have expanded to include digital responsibilities. Several ecommerce companies are offering remote seasonal positions, allowing you to work from the comfort of your home. Additionally, with the increased adoption of online shopping, there's a surge in demand for warehouse and logistics roles. These positions not only offer competitive pay but also provide a unique insight into the bustling world of e-commerce.
2. Sign up to drive, deliver, or perform tasks
Is there any product or service that can’t be delivered for a price these days? You can get almost anything you want delivered directly to your doorstep, especially if you live in or adjacent to a large metropolitan area. Packages, groceries, takeout — you name it and there’s likely a market for it.
A lot of people earn extra cash by becoming a driver for DoorDash, InstaCart, or other delivery services. The same goes for helping people with home improvement projects and laborious tasks through platforms like TaskRabbit. If you’re the type of person who enjoys shoveling snow and setting up elaborate holiday decorations, this could be a great option.
During the holidays, the need for services of all kinds increases tenfold. So, it’s the perfect opportunity to start a side hustle. If you have a valid driver’s license, car insurance and a clean driving record, chances are you already have the basic qualifications for delivery services.
Plus, certain types of holiday delivery jobs can even lead to full-time employment. For instance, at UPS nearly 35,000 seasonal employees from 2021 earned permanent positions with the company.
Even if you don't want to make delivering your full-time gig, it can still help generate more spending money for the holidays.
3. Look into hospitality and tourism work
The holiday season brings about an increase in hosting and entertaining guests. This can be a great opportunity for you to either offer your skills on your own or to join a company that needs seasonal help.
If you’re known in your neighborhood for making gluten-free baked goods, offer baked goods for parties and as gifts for friends and family. You could also look for seasonal jobs with restaurants, caterers, or event planners.
For location-specific positions, it’s often best to check job listings in your local newspaper or on job-search sites such as Monster.com. That way you can see who’s hiring in your area.
If you live in an area that is heavily populated or is a tourism destination, there’s a good chance that many businesses are seeking seasonal help. For example, you could make extra cash for the holidays by working at a ski resort if you live in an area that attracts snow sports enthusiasts.
4. Take care of customer service from home
You don’t need a niche skill or even a car to make money during the holidays. Maybe you’re a stay-at-home parent or you live too far from an urban area to work in retail. Fortunately, you can earn extra holiday cash without even leaving the house.
If you have good phone skills, companies like Amazon, Alorica , and HSN offer remote phone jobs — like taking orders or assisting with customer service. For a list of companies that offer these jobs, check out this guide from The Work at Home Wife.
5. Sign up for rebates
Kristen Larsen, the creator of Believe in a Budget, says rebates can boost your bank account. She recommends Ibotta, a mobile phone app that lets you earn cashback from all sorts of purchases, and Rakuten (formerly Ebates), which pays you a $10 bonus just for signing up.
6. Take everything you don’t need and sell it
Are you a packrat with a basement or garage brimming with dusty boxes? A fashionista with a closet full of designer or vintage items you’ll never wear again? Maybe you inherited furniture that simply isn’t your style.
Selling old, unwanted items is arguably the easiest way to make extra holiday cash. If you want to sell some used clothes without driving around from thrift store to thrift store, Poshmark and ThredUp are convenient online options. If you’d rather offload items like furniture, kitchenware or old books, you can always go the tried-and-true route of posting an ad on Craigslist or eBay.
Facebook Marketplace is another increasingly popular option. This platform lets you broadcast your for-sale items to the local community, tag friends who might be interested, and send private messages to potential buyers. Make sure to follow Facebook personal safety guidelines.
7. Make arts and crafts
If you sew, knit, paint, carve, or make anything crafty, you may find success selling your wares on Etsy.com. It’s also a great place to sell unusual, vintage, or custom jewelry, furniture, and other items.
In addition to Etsy, you could sell your creations at a local farmer’s market or craft fair.
8. Apply for work with a temporary staffing agency
When employers need help, they turn to temporary staffing firms such as Kelly Services, Manpower, and Randstad. These companies tend to have openings across a wide variety of industries and professions from warehouse associates to secret shoppers and even product marketing managers.
You never know — a temp job can also open the door to a permanent job if the employer likes your work.
9. Take care of kids and pets
Holiday parties and travel generate demand for babysitters, dog walkers, and pet sitters. While parents and pet owners are away, you can make money keeping an eye on things.
If you have experience caring for children, you could use sites like Care.com or reach out to parenting groups to advertise your services. Regardless of your experience, consider getting training in first aid — this can help ease the minds of anxious parents and safeguard against emergencies. For more on picking up babysitting work, check out this primer from The Balance Careers.
For dog walking and pet sitting jobs, you can sign up for Rover.
10. Help with housework
At this time of year, people may need their gutters cleaned, their gardens winterized, and their driveways shoveled. If you have a green thumb (or simply need some more green in your wallet), you can offer your services on neighborhood social networks like Nextdoor.
For some jobs, such as cleaning gutters or garden cleanup, customers may expect you to bring your own ladders, cutting shears or other equipment. If housework and lawn care aren’t your areas of expertise, research what they require ahead of time. Knowledge and physical fitness are the best way to prevent injuries in these types of jobs.
11. Rent out a room
Airbnb is so popular among travelers that it’s become a verb, as in “I Airbnb-ed in Seattle and found a perfect spot right near Pike Place Market.” Becoming an Airbnb host may provide a quick path to extra holiday cash if you have a spare room or carriage house.
Getting started on Airbnb is fairly easy, but a little upfront research goes a long way. You should stay up to date with local regulations on renting rooms and know how to stand up for yourself if a guest misbehaves. For more pointers, read this primer from The Points Guy.
12. Hire yourself out to your landlord
Rental properties need constant maintenance and repairs. Why not offer to help your landlord with projects or chores like raking the leaves? You might earn some money or at least shave a few dollars off your rent.
13. Sign up to be an online tutor
The world needs more educational support. Are you a math whiz? Or maybe you know a second language? You can put your book smarts to work by tutoring students online. Depending on the site, you might not even need a teaching certificate or experience leading a classroom.
For online tutoring companies, check out this list from the Penny Hoarder.
14. Offer online courses
Are you the go-to person for gluten-free recipes? Or are you great at teaching people how to cross-stitch? No matter what skill you're proficient in, you might be able to use it to gain extra holiday cash by offering an online course.
15. Use your professional skills
Did you take up a hobby while you were stuck at home during the pandemic? If so, you're in good company. Freelancers with professional skills can take advantage of the ever-changing work environment. So, whether you're a budding blogger or a social media expert, there might be an easy side hustle out there for you.
16. Offer fitness classes or training
If you have a passion for health and wellness, the fitness industry is a booming market with many opportunities for individuals turn their knowledge and skills into income.
Offering personal fitness training is a classic and well-established way to earn money in the fitness industry. You can offer one-on-one or group training sessions, either in person or online. You can specialize in specific areas like weight training, running, yoga, or even train specific populations like seniors or athletes.
What Are the Highest Paying Side Hustles for Extra Holiday Cash?
According to Side Hustle Science, here are some of the top paying side hustles:
- Pressure Washing: Providing cleaning services for driveways, homes, and fences. After an initial investment in equipment, on-going costs are minimal, and earnings can be upwards of $100 per hour.
- Trash Can Cleaning: A simpler service-based side hustle where you clean and maintain trash bins, charging anywhere from $10 to $40 per bin each month.
- Online Freelancing: Offers various opportunities like freelance writing, computer programming, video editing, and web design. Depending on experience earnings can range from $33 to over $100 per hour.
- Vehicle Detailing: Detailing vehicles can generate earning between $100 to $250 per car. Demand increases after the winter months and cars require a thorough cleaning.
Balancing Side Hustles with Daily Life
Juggling a side hustle during the holidays can be a balancing act. While the extra holiday cash is tempting, it's crucial not to sacrifice your home life in the pursuit. Here are some strategies to help you maintain a healthy work-life balance during this busy season:
- Set Clear Boundaries: Designate specific hours for your side hustle activities.
- Prioritize Your Tasks: Focus on what’s most important to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Use Scheduling Tools: Keep track of your commitments to avoid double-booking yourself.
- Remember to Relax: Make sure to set aside time for rest to enjoy the holiday season.
Finding the side hustle that suits your personality and schedule can provide the extra money you need for gifts and seasonal activities. If you are concerned about taking on too much work, you may want to target a specific savings goal so that you can reevaluate the job when you hit your target.
Hopefully these side hustles can help you generate extra cash this holiday season or maybe even generate extra income throughout the year. However, if you find yourself in need of additional support during the holidays or any time of the year, RISE is here for you with helpful financial wellness content and free tools to build your credit. Visit RISEcredit.com to learn more about the RISE difference.