Between party threads, cross-country travel and gifts galore, the holiday countdown is on — meaning your wallet is feeling the heat. We’re all for creating a holiday shopping budget (and sticking to it, of course), but we also know a thing or two about best laid plans. To help you recoup some cash, create wiggle room in your budget, or even pad your savings because you’re just that good, here are a few ways to bring in extra money this season.
Sell Off Old Gift Cards
You could be sitting on a pile of money if you have unused gift cards from holidays past. Sites like Cardpool will buy your physical or e-gift card for up to 92% of the card’s value. (You can choose to be paid by mailed check or an Amazon gift card.) Raise, an exchange site, lets you list cards at your own price. You get the cash by direct deposit, PayPal or check once another buyer scoops it up. And on Gift Card Granny, earn cash or swap it for a gift card to another store.
Clean Out Your Closet
Inspired to do a closet purge or just need more room for all your holiday swag? Get ahead of the game by reselling your gently-used clothes now. Online thrift store thredUP sees a 14% spike in apparel listings the week before Christmas, and a 59% increase the week of Christmas. If you get your items on the market now, you’ll beat the upswing in supply, especially for their most popular brands, like Lululemon, Vince, Kate Spade handbags and Steve Madden shoes. Bonus: You’ll get your stuff in front of other holiday shoppers looking for party outfits, jewelry, handbags, cold-weather accessories and winter gear.
Take Care of Your Neighbors’ Pets
If you’re not traveling for the holidays, congrats on being available to watch over all the cute pets in your neighborhood who can’t join their humans on vacation. On Rover, you can sign up to provide services including dog hosting in your own home, dog sitting in the owner’s home, dog walking in the area or doggy day care. You’ll set your own rates anywhere from $10 to $150 per day or per walk, and take home 80% of your earnings. Rover also provides boarding, house-sitting, and drop-in services for cats, as well.
If dogs and cats aren’t your thing, there’s PetSitter, where you’ll get connected with pet owners in need of help caring for their fish, reptiles, horses, farm animals and beyond.
Rent Out Your Room
Whether you have an empty room or your whole place to spare, consider renting it out to travelers. Renting on Airbnb is one of the most lucrative side hustles, according to a recent report, with hosts earning an average monthly income of $924. Even a fraction of that cash from a few days or weekends could be worth the effort of creating a listing and putting fresh sheets on your guest bed.
Offer Up Your Parking Spot
Services like ParqEx, Spot and ParkingSpotter can help you rent out your empty parking spot while you're away. With Spot, for example, you’ll pin your parking space on the site’s map, upload a photo of the space and list its availability and rate by the hour, day, week or month (most sites will suggest a range to work with). You can be paid by direct deposit, PayPal or Venmo, minus a 20% commission fee.
Sell Stock Photos
You don't have to be an Instagram influencer to make some extra money off your photos. Stock image sites like Shutterstock and iStock will pay contributors royalties — from a few cents per image to more than $100 each time your photo is downloaded. Members of Foap, another stock image service, can earn $5 every time an image sells, and its contests offer winnings of $100 or more for everything from the best holiday baking photo to the most stylish fashion shoot.
Take On A Micro-Job
Not afraid to brave supermarket crowds? Can you design a holiday party invite in minutes? Or have a free hand to offer catering support? Post your skills on Fiverr or services on TaskRabbit. How much you make depends entirely on how much free time you have and the rates you set. And with all those errands that need running or new gadgets that need assembling, a quick project here and there can help keep your budget merry and bright through the New Year.