7 Ways to Add to Your Holiday Income
By Katie Meier
November 5, 2009
We just entered November. Meaning, we're all already behind on Christmas shopping, Thanksgiving planning and any other number of holiday activities. And with each new part of the holiday seasons comes more stuff you have to buy—even if you're the best at being frugal you know, you probably see your expenses go up this time of year. So we can all use a little help in finding some extra holiday money. Especially, if you're one to consider the couch a main artery in the heart of your yearly income. Fear not: if you've searched endlessly for other options, the suggestions below might be an additional boon to your income.
Take a Kitchen on the Road
For the minimal cost of time, labor, and ingredients, you can whip up a batch of Great Aunt Mildred's Colossal Cookies and get something in return. Set up shop near a local swap or flea market, or sell foodstuff on the local garage sale circuit. If you're not the type to hail from a culinary-inclined family, you can take the "Little League" route and stock up on standard Saturday-type items from your local Super-Mart, and then simply mark up on each. Cold cans of pop and the promise of pre-packaged sweets has had the suburban set for years, as moms, dads, daughters and the occasional passersby fill park after park each weekend to follow the sporting achievements of their family and friends. Because these sporting adventures often star athletes as young as four, the sports are turned into slow-paced spin-offs of the originals, leaving families everywhere stuck to the sidelines for what can seem like days. Be advised, dire thirst and hunger can follow such events; just set yourself up in a space that takes advantage.
Gross but Good for Something
Though the sight of blood, or any other bodily fluid, is enough to send the squeamish running from the room, those who can stand the heat can get out of the kitchen with some cash. By donating to those in need, through the Red Cross and others, you can get paid and someone else can get, well, lots of things. Someone needs the blood and plasma you can spare. To donate is to allow others to heal, recover well in surgery or other situations. So while others say "gross," you can say "sign me up for some extra cash and perhaps some O.J. and cookies on the house."
Tried, True and Worth Something to Someone: Junk
It's been said before, and we'll say it again: One person's junk is another person's treasure. Of course we've all seen the suits, books, blenders and old baby toys for sale each weekend at neighborhood garage sales. But some of this junk can go farther in cyber space, reaching out to those who simply can't live without—and will pay a bundle for—the plastic Pillsbury Dough Boy you sent away for so long ago after seeing the ad on the side of that Poppin' Crescents container. Internet auction sites such as eBay make this process easy, as they allow you to photograph your junk and post it online for public consumption. The highest bidder wins, paying you a tidy little sum, and then you send him or her the Pillsbury Dough Boy figurine of his or her dreams.
Sit Through a Bunch of Bull
You'll find yourself saying, "No thanks," all day long, but you'll come out ahead if you can just hold out long enough to collect on your investment. From timeshare plans to all-inclusive vacation packages, people long to pay for a willing audience to hawk their products. One-day and weekend sales seminars can bring profit to those who attend for nothing more than an investment of time and patience. Though the profit you'll likely make will be paid in trade or comps at local businesses and restaurants, an outing to a sales pitch featuring freebies can be an interesting change from starting with lots and ending with none as you spend a day or night on the town.
Sell Your Notes
Have organizational skills at hand? You may be able to make some money by doing something you already do—take notes. Collegiate disability resource centers often help students in need by featuring a note-taking service that allows students more time to concentrate on the lecture because someone else took all the notes. Be this person and you can turn time you have to spend in class anyway into a profit-making venture. Check the center on your campus for specifics, but nearly all centers require this type of service and are willing to send money your way if you'll volunteer to simply do what you already do, plus a bit of Xeroxing.
Get All Medieval on 'Em
Just because it isn't the year of our Lord A.D. 53 and you don't know anyone named Geoffrey of Clairvaux doesn't mean the barter system is dead. Cheap income can come in trade, from CDs to clothes to books to old band equipment. Take the items you'll never use again and swap them out at various stores for a new round of delights. Also, consider trading services. Look decidedly modern by getting truly old school about it, and trade your skill set for another for which you'd have to pay. Fix some one's piano in return for two week's worth of fresh baked bread, or offer computer consulting for a swap on a repair for that clunkity-clunk noise your car keeps making. And, keep in mind the trade-for-play idea if you're into sports or other adventure outlets. Mind a bike shop for free, get a spot on their cross-country trek of canyons in America, or get yourself on the green of your dreams by offering to caddy for free a few days a week on that course.
Get your car to work for you by charging for carpool service. Play the old recycle game—get cash on your empties. Work overtime, after all you're already there. Play all the games you can. Clip and (try to) win on every wrapper, box, bag and container you come across. Go out and ask. Imagine if everyone you know would "Just play along" and give you one dollar.