Money Tree — Extra Cash for the Holidays

Note: This post was written by a guest author.

The holiday season is just around the corner!  I had a rude awakening last week when I realized I just have five more paychecks until December 25th arrives. That got me thinking about how to bring in extra money, not just for the holidays but to help provide a nice cushion for those rainy days that are sure to come.

Here’s what I came up with; some are tried and true, while others just require some legwork.

The Handyman Can!

Handy around the house?  Get the word out that you can provide simple ‘honey do’ tasks around the home. Advertise yourself on Facebook, Craigslist, or post bulletins in local senior centers or churches; advertising in those formats will range from free to extreme low cost, allowing you to make more money.

Assisting from Afar

Look into being a virtual assistant.  In the current economic climate there are a host of companies looking for these.  This position offers flexibility, and the option to work full or part-time at your discretion.

Information Technology

There are an abundance of people who need technology for work and their home life.  Yet, most of those people don’t know how to set up networks, hook up stereos, or solve simple computer problems.  If this is an area you are comfortable with, advertise yourself in the formats listed above.  The best part about this tip is once you do help that person with their computer, you can offer your services about a year or so later to “clean up” their system (i.e. dump spyware, malware, etc.) and continually check back to offer tech support.

Transfer Your Skills

If you are especially savvy with different forms of media (VHS, DVD, CD, iPods/MP3 players), offer to transfer outdated formats to more sophisticated ones.  Even something as simple as scanning old photos for someone and burning those onto a disk could bring extra money your way.

Sing, Sing, Sing

Have a great voice and don’t have stage fright?  Try offering your services to local churches or as a soloist for weddings.

It’s Sew Easy!

Put your sewing skills to work!  If you aren’t comfortable doing custom clothing for kids, try specializing in garments that don’t require as much durability like costumes, dress up clothes or tutus.  Etsy is a great venue to sell these kinds of goods.

Consignment Time

Everyone knows to clean out the closets and take gently worn clothing to a consignment shop.  Though this new tip requires a bit more legwork, but can still pull in some money.  Shop neighborhood yard sales for gently worn clothing, buy up those items and take them to a consignment shop.  Generally, the shop will offer a larger return, giving you a profit.

The Great Bake Sale

Christmas is right around the corner which means lots of small businesses and corporations will be throwing parties.  Offer to make their cookie plates or pastries for them.  As long as you aren’t making treats that contain costly ingredients, you will be able to undersell catering companies and give yourself a nice profit.

Scrapbook Success

If you’ve found your niche in scrapbooking, get yourself out there!  People looking to give that sentimental anniversary gift, or commemorate an event will pay good money for someone to create a scrapbook for them!  You can also parlay this into custom greeting cards and invitations.

Walk the Dog

Offer dog walking services.  Typical dog walkers typically charge between $15-$20 for a twenty minute walk for a single dog.  Increase your fee if handling multiple dogs per customer. Added bonus: you are getting exercise too! Don’t forget to pick up after the pet, please.

Spic and Span

Everyone can clean a home, but only some can make it pristine.  Put restless energy to good use.  Charging $20 an hour for basic tasks sounds reasonable to the customer and gives you a fair compensation. If you develop a rapport with just two or three customers this could provide a substantial, reliable second income.

Plan Ahead — Moneymaking Tips

Before you run off to make that extra money, here are some things to keep in mind before entering the service industry:

  • Get all agreements for service and payment in writing, as well as any particulars that might be of concern.  Often you can find generic contracts online that will help you do this.
  • If possible get payment up front so that you aren’t shortchanged in any way. At the very least require a hefty deposit toward final bill.
  • Be sure to talk with a financial advisor before delving into this.  Not only will this help you avoid any tax penalties, but it will help you to take advantage of any tax write-off’s.
  • Remember that word of mouth is what really drives side businesses like these.  If you venture into two or more of these services, remember to cross-sell to your customers.
  • Keep it professional, keep it friendly, keep on task and these tips will work for you!

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About the Author

Dave Hoffman