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Published: Dec 23, 2022 5 min read
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The holidays have always been expensive. Buying gifts, preparing big dinners, traveling across the country … it all adds up.

Especially these days. While all signs point to inflation costs finally dropping, according to ZipRecruiter economist Sinem Buber, the price of everything from a Christmas tree to a rib roast is still going to cost even more this year.

The good news? It’s easier than ever to make a little extra cash to offset all that spending.

Since you probably want to spend time with your loved ones this season — and not work yourself to the bone in the process — hone in on holiday hustles that allow you to maintain control over where and when you put in the hours, says Alicia Reece, an executive coach and career consultant.

If you’re worried about financial stress taking the fun out of your celebrations, here are some of your options.

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Get on a gig work app

Signing up with a gig work app is one of the quickest ways to add extra cash to your wallet.

Many popular options, like the rideshare apps Uber and Lyft and the food delivery apps DoorDash and Grubhub, are best suited for people with access to a vehicle. But these days, there are gig apps for just about everything, from dog walking (Rover) to e-scooter charging (Bird and Lime). And they all come “with a lot of freedom,” according to Reece.

“You essentially get to control your schedule and … decide how much time you want to invest,” she says.

Some apps even offer sign-up promotions that you can take advantage of during the holidays to make money quickly.

Pick up a seasonal job

Working a part-time seasonal job isn’t as flexible as gig work, but companies in need of extra help during the holidays are offering decent wages, and you might be able to snag some night and weekend shifts.

Usually, if you apply for seasonal work, you’ll get the opportunity to talk to a manager about the shifts that are available, and come up with a schedule that doesn’t interfere with your current job. And while some brands are pulling back on the number of seasonal hires they’re bringing on this year, companies like Target still have plenty of openings nationwide. Others, like UPS, are making on-the-spot job offers, and waiving the interview process for the vast majority of seasonal roles, according to ZipRecruiter.

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Sell your stuff

Sites like eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace let users sell basically anything — furniture, clothes, electronics — to the highest bidder. And chances are, there’s somebody out there willing to pay for the stuff you don’t want. (Hot tip: old or even broken tech products like smartphones and laptops have more value than you’d think.)

Reece also recommends thinking about how you can monetize your specific talents to members of your community/neighbors. From building websites to shoveling snow, offering your services can pay dividends.

Take freelance work

Online platforms like Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr connect people with companies that need skilled workers.

Through these sites, you can market the skills you already have, like copywriting, social media consulting, graphic design, translating and more. Establishing a reputation on these platforms doesn't happen overnight, but if you have something to offer, they can pay dividends — even if you’ve never freelanced before.

You could also go the old-school route and offer your services to businesses directly. Try asking colleagues in your network for leads on companies that are soliciting work. If you're lucky, a simple Google search can lead you in the right direction.

Keep in mind that many employers have rules about freelancing for competitors — and sometimes, freelancing at all. If you have a day job, familiarize yourself with your company’s policies before taking on freelance work.

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