Consumers of all stripes would probably love to gain some supplemental income during the holiday season. A holiday boost to the bottom line lets you spoil those you care about or simply helps cover your expected outlay. At the same time, more cash gives you the chance to indulge yourself with some fancy holiday snacks, drinks or gadgets.
There are dozens of ways to pick up some side cash to fatten your wallet. Here's a short list of realistic options for consumers to explore:
Pick up a seasonal gig
These jobs are not glamorous, but the retail and service industries depend on temporary, seasonal workers during the holidays. If you're stuck at your office job during the business week, you can still work nights and weekends. That's when you're needed most. Even though the unemployment rate is still high, you have a shot. Just don't pigeonhole yourself into retail. Food services expect more customers, too.
Sell stuff you don't want anymore
Thanks to Craigslist, eBay and Amazon.com, shoppers hit the Internet knowing they can get used items as gifts. Capitalize on this, and get rid of things you don't need or want anymore. Sure, this is a great way to get rid of any junk you have, but also look for rare items that are collecting dust in the basement or attic, especially if there's a seasonal tie-in. Holiday collectibles are obviously in hot demand.
Work the neighborhood
Whether you live in suburbia or a downtown loft, there's bound to be a service you can charge for. Ask neighbors if they'd like you to spice up their holiday decorations. Make it known that you're willing to shovel driveways and sidewalks when snow falls. If you're handy in the kitchen, offer to cater friends' and family members' holiday parties, or work as a bartender or server at those functions.
Be your own boss
Use your skills to land a freelance gig. Anybody can look for freelance work; it's not just for writers. If you're in a band, look for parties or venues that need live performances. Photographers can offer one of the most in-demand services this time of year, so seek work at upscale offices and benefit gatherings. For the more artsy types, look for work decorating inside and outside, making holiday cards or designing storefronts for local businesses. If you have a skill, get paid for it.
You don't have to be 13 years old or in a special club to do this. In fact, many a graduate student has earned spending money by baby-sitting throughout the calendar year. The holidays in particular are a busy time that can generate opportunities.
Seek extra hours at your current job
For those already employed, consider asking for more hours. Full-time employees might be able to earn overtime and get paid time and a half or better. There's no harm in asking. At the very least, your boss will appreciate your attitude.