Holiday Side Hustles to Boost Your Budget
The holiday season always seems to find a way to lighten your wallet. Whether it takes the form of travel expenses, gifts, or elaborate recipe preparation, it’s no question that the most wonderful times of the year are often the costliest. If you’re lucky enough to have the time off, it may seem tempting to spend it lounging in your old high school bedroom or linking up with friends for late night shenanigans. However, you also have the opportunity to spend that free time earning some much-needed cash to cover your holiday budget. Check out these five side hustles to help boost your bank during your time off.
- Seasonal Work
With an influx in retail shoppers, as well as the sudden need for niche tasks, the holiday season can offer great opportunities for short lived work. Large department stores like Macy’s, JC Penny’s, Target, or Sears are already going to be shorthanded due to employees taking time off. Keep in mind, though, that these big box stores will likely begin the hiring process several weeks—if not months—before the holiday rush hits. If you’re aiming for a couple weeks of work during Winter Break, it may behoove you to think ahead by applying in October or early November.
In addition to the retail boom, the holidays have their own seasonal markets, all of which need bodies to get the work done. Jobs crafting for festivals and parades, selling decorations, decorating houses, or working for snow removal companies will suddenly be readily available. Additionally, if you’re a student staying on campus, the end of the semester will find thousands of cash-hungry kids ready to sell back their books, which in turn means a debilitating rush for campus bookstores. Though you may need to work some shifts during dead and finals weeks, you could set yourself up with a nice wad of money to take home with you and keep you from having to work during your time off.
Many people are flying either home or to relatives’ houses for the holidays, so you’re likely to find folks without a means of transportation beyond “Mom, can I borrow your car?” Factor in the increase in partying, and you’ll find yourself in a winter wonderland of easy cash. That being said, you’ll want to do your research before signing up with Uber, Lyft, or any number of regional ride sharing apps. For example, Uber dictates you can only drive in the state in which your primary market exists, so if you’re already signed up with them on campus or in your new city, you may need to reach out to them to adjust that primary market for the holidays. However, Lyft does not have such stringent regulations regarding where you can earn. There are plenty of great resources available online to help you break down the differences between companies.
The holiday season is a lovely time to catch up with friends, spend time with family, and do everything in your power to avoid snapping a ton of candy canes out of stress. It’s no secret that this time of year is filled with tons of to-do lists, and dump in bad weather and excessive traffic, and you’ve got a premade market of people who have too much to do and too little time to do it. Thankfully, we live in the Age of the App, and services like TaskRabbit create a virtual marketplace where you can bid on small jobs for decent cash.
- Dog Walking and Pet Care
It can be tough to say goodbye to Fred the Cat or Yippy the Dog, but sometimes travel just doesn’t allow people to bring their furry friends along for the ride. Though some will choose to board their pets or ask a close friend to keep an eye on them, others will opt to keep them in the comfort of their own home while relying on the kindliness of strangers to make sure they get fed, walked, played with and, yes, even cuddled. Apps like Wag allow you to “pick up” dog walks on the fly, much like you would with a ridesharing app. Additionally, there are pet-sitting services for which you can apply. Once you’ve been vetted as an animal-loving, trustworthy individual, you can have the easiest job in the world: playing with cute little animals for an hour or two a day.
If you’re staying home for the holidays, you can still make some decent money by renting out a room in your apartment or house. Airbnb allows you to select several parameters, including desired length of stay and number of occupants, so that you don’t end up feeling uncomfortable with your potential guests. Additionally, you may even get to play guide to your fair city for bored tourists looking for something cool to do.
Yes, the holidays are certainly stressful – not just on your mental health, but also on your bank account. However, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season you can find great opportunities to make some extra dough. By seeking seasonal work, you can be sure that even when you’re done ringing in the New Year, your wallet won’t be worse for the wear. What's the worst seasonal job you ever had? Let us know in the comments!