Every year, on December 25th, it’s Christmas. I know it but it in the past it seemed that I was shuffling around my funds to accommodate all the shopping I needed to do. But why? It’s silly because I know it’s coming every year yet I fail to prepare. I’ve complied a list to help you save or earn a little extra cash for one of the most expensive times of the year.
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First off, do you have a budget in place? If not, that should be your step one! Creating one is not as hard as it seems. Sticking to one on the other hand, that can be a challenge to some. I believe in you. If you’re just starting off, read Common Expenses Left Out When Budgeting to give you suggestions on things you might forget to budget.
Here are some suggestions on how to save a little extra for Christmas.
While this isn’t an extra way to earn Christmas money, it gets you on the right track. So if you have all year long, I suggest looking to see if your financial institution offers a Christmas Club account. A Christmas Club account lets you deposit funds into a savings that earns a little more interest than the standard savings. The catch? You can not take funds out until a certain date, usually around November. This account is great for easy savings that you can’t touch. I know with my financial institution, I am able to withdraw one time without penalty. If you’re financial institution does not offer this service, see about opening up a basic savings account just strictly for Christmas. If it’s too tempting to take funds from this account, call your bank and see if they will freeze the account so you’re not able to withdraw money. It’s a little bit more work but you won’t be able to touch it.
You go grocery shopping, so why not make some extra cash doing it? Ibotta is an app that rewards you for buying certain products or shopping at certain stores. It’s super easy to use. You find rebates, go shopping, redeem the rebates by taking a photo of the receipt, and earn cash. So far this year I’ve earned over $150 just by buying products I would normally purchase. I transfer the money into my PayPal account. They also have gift cards and venmo payouts as well. You do need to earn at least $20 for payout.
If you use this link, when you sign up, you will get $10 after your first rebate. You’re half way to $20 minimum payout!
How to use Ibotta to save for Christmas: take all the money you earn the whole year and save it. Whether you leave it in your PayPal or venmo account or save the gift cards. You can also keep it in your Ibotta account and cash out right before your Christmas shopping.
There are also other grocery store shopping apps. I do not have experience with these companies but they are out there. I use Ibotta because it’s user friendly, has products I usually purchase, and reliable with payouts.
Like Ibotta, Ebates is a way to earn cash on items you’re already purchasing. However, Ebates works a little different. Before shopping online, log into your Ebates account. Search the store you plan on shopping at and click on the link. Ebates will redirect you to that store and you will earn a percentage of your purchase back. The payout is by check or PayPal and it’s every 3 months. You do need a minimum of $5 to get a check or deposit. If you don’t have enough, it rolls over until you reach the minimum. Plus, Ebates complies coupons that are current to use at that website! So don’t forget to check for added savings!
If you use this link to sign up, you get $10 after you make qualifying purchase.
How to use Ebates to save for Christmas: take all of the cash back checks or PayPal you earn and either put them into your savings or leave them in PayPal for Christmas shopping. You can earn all year. If you do a lot of back to school shopping online, you would get that check in November!
You might be thinking, what is Swagbucks? Swagbucks is a website where you can earn points and redeem the points for gift cards. To earn points, there are various tasks you can complete such as web searches, daily polls, and watching videos. You can earn extra SB by shopping through the website as well. Once you hit at least 300 SB, you can redeem the points for gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and more. You can also do a PayPal transfer. If you spend 20 or so minutes a day on Swagbucks, you’ll earn a gift card in no time. If you use this link to sign up, you get a $3 bonus once you earn 300 SB.
How I use Swagbucks to save for Christmas: the earning potential is up to you. Accumulate your SB all year and cash them out for gift cards for Christmas shopping. Amazon gift cards are my personal favorite because Amazon literally sells every thing!
Cash-back/ Reward Credit Cards:
A lot of credit cards nowadays offer some sort of perk. Consider getting a cash-back or rewards credit card and saving up your reward points. You could redeem what you earn on gift cards, balance payments, or a check/bank deposit. A lot of companies offer 0% APR for 12-18 months on purchases, so check for that as well. However, if you have a tendency to not be responsible with credit cards, please stay clear from this suggestion. Interest rates are often high and not worth the trouble if you can’t pay your balance off in full each month. 5% cash-back is not worth the 12+% you’re going to pay in interest. Some cash-back/reward cards include: Discover, Chase, Capital One, and Citi.
How I use cash back/reward credit cards: I have a cash back credit card. I spend all year and use the amount I earn to pay off some of my January balance. You could also get a check or gift cards (to spend on shopping or use as a gift) with the rewards you earn.
No one really wants to get an additional job, but sometimes it’s necessary. A lot of places hire right around the holidays and often times you can earn money AND enjoy some benefits of working there (hello employee discounts!). Many companies offer seasonal workers jobs after the holiday season too. If you want a seasonal job, I suggest looking around the end of September. Here are some suggestions for companies that may hire seasonal workers or people looking for side income.
- Mall stores (JC Penney, Macy’s, GAP, Old Navy, The Children’s Place, Bath and Body Works, etc.)
- Craft Stores (Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnn Crafts, etc.)
- Target, Wal-Mart, Meijer, Costco, SAM’s Club, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards, etc.
- Driving Services (Uber, Lyft, local taxis, etc.)
- Delivery Services (food delivery, grocery delivery like Shipt or Instacart)
- Babysitting websites
Check your local theatre companies or auditoriums for part time jobs. Often times you also get to see the show for free. Banquet halls may need extra workers for holiday parties as well. A great place to check for employment is Indeed. Recently Amazon was also hiring at home Call Center Reps.
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Sell Your Stuff:
I remember as a kid, right before Christmas, my mom would have us clean our rooms. Not the basic clean, but deep clean. She encouraged us to get rid of toys and books we no longer used to make room for the new items we were about to get. I’m sure you have a ton of stuff laying around the house that you no longer need. Why not make a little extra cash selling the stuff? Check out local consignment shops to see if they accept gently used clothes. Facebook is a great avenue for posting things for sale. There are tons of Facebook Garage Sale groups and they also have the Marketplace. Don’t forget about Craigslist and Ebay as well. Some other sites to check out: Letgo, Thredup, and Poshmark. Please, please, please be careful before meeting anyone in real life. Use good judgement!
I’ve never actually done this, but I do know a few people who make consistent side money donating their plasma. They also told me that you earn a little extra for the first 4 or 5 donations, sometimes up to $300 total. At first it can be time consuming too. You would have to check with your local plasma donation center to see the pay and all the details they require. Many places load your pay onto a pre-paid card. If you save it throughout the year, you could have a nice amount to Christmas shop with.
While it’s nice to buy gifts, there are other Christmas ideas that require little or no money. Consider making treats as gifts. I personally love getting Christmas cookies as a gift especially whenI do not always have time to make a large variety. If you make jams or jellies, or other canned goods, make extra to give as gifts. A family member always gives his homemade BBQ sauce (secret recipe) as a white elephant gift and the family fights over who gets it! Gifting your time to family members or friends is also a great idea. My mother in law wanted my husband to do yard work for her birthday in lieu of a gift. A coupon book is also a fun gift idea. You can get as creative as you want with this one as well. My sisters crochet and knit and usually give a blanket or scarf as a gift. Yarn can be expensive but they use coupons and buy all year to help offset the cost. The possibilities are endless!
If you have any other suggestions on ways to earn extra cash, please comment below!