If you're reduced to raiding junior's piggy bank for more Christmas cash (or in this day and age, his GoFundMe account), back away and hit the reset button.
There's a better way to make a few holiday bucks.
It's understandable that the November-December timeframe can be a huge budget buster on the personal finance front. Americans plan to spend $830 this holiday season, and that's just for gifts for spouses, friends, and family, according to Gallup. That's up from $720 from the 2014 Thanksgiving to Christmas season. Add in hundreds more for parties, food, beverages, travel and holiday decorations, and pretty soon, as the saying goes, we're starting to talk about real money.
To make that money, you can try the conventional route, like waiting tables, working a part-time seasonal job at a big box store or borrowing the cash (definitely not a good idea.) But to really make some progress on the cash-generating front, go online and watch the dollars flow this holiday season. Here are some fresh, cyber-based ideas...
- Try pet-sitting: Through web sites like DogVacay.com, you can earn decent money by watching someone's pet for cash. According to DogVacay, anyone can sign up for free to go through the vetting process. Once you're approved, you can set your own schedule and rates, then get paid up to hundreds of dollars to spend time with cute dogs (and cats) whenever you're free. Plus, you can even take care of pups while working on other things from home, the company says. Other sites, like Rover.com, which connects pet parents with locals who are willing to provide in-home care for pups while their owners are away, offer similar benefits.
- Become a YouTube video star: Here's how it works, according to FameBit.com, which offered this tip to MainStreet readers. Sign up on YouTube and post videos of anything you want -- your style, your pets, funny skits or just you talking about your day. Use your social media networking know-how to get 1,000 subscribers, then sign up for FameBit. Brands like L'Oreal, Adidas and Marvel use the site to find YouTubers like you, who submit ideas for videos incorporating their products. Once you partner with a brand and create a video, you can get paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars, FameBit estimates. If you have 1,000 or more followers on Instagram, Vine or Twitter, you can connect those profiles for more opportunities.
- Sell old clothes online: If you have clothes or accessories lying around that you no longer wear, put a "for sale" sig on them on Tradesy, an online and mobile marketplace where millions of women buy and sell fashion. Just take a photo, upload it, list a price and start fielding offers.
- Become a private tutor: Pete Abilla, founder and CEO at FindTutorsnearMe.com, one of the largest online tutoring marketplaces with over 80,000 registered private tutors, says selling your smarts online can lead to a good paycheck. "I can tell you that becoming a private tutor either in-person or online via Skype is one of the quickest and easiest ways of earning extra money," he says. "The barriers to entry to become a private tutor are low, and the payoff is big." Tutors charge an average of $45 per hour and depending on city and subject, can be as high as $300 per hour. "I have several tutors on my platform that work as tutors full-time and left their day jobs to do so," Abilla adds. "It can be a great way to make quick money and can also be a sustainable business."
- Sell arts and crafts online: Robert Farrington, founder of TheCollegeInvestor.com, says selling crafts online can earn you a few bucks. "If you're creative, you could open a shop on Etsy.com and sell your crafts to others who are looking for unique products," he says. "You could sell paper goods like cards and invitations, or even home decor products themed around the holidays." Also, use sites like InboxDollars, a leading online rewards club that pays members cash for their online and mobile activities. Members are rewarded for everyday activities such as reading emails, taking surveys, playing games and signing up for offers and more. Advertisers and marketers pay for the results and members receive cash, not points for their activities. $40 million has been paid out to members since 2006, the company reports. Then there's Poshmark, which allows you to sell items you own. List one for sale in 60 seconds on an app like Poshmark.
There's no shortage of creative ways to make extra cash, especially around the holidays. Going online, or via mobile, will increase your profit-making opportunities.