5 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money Before Christmas

by Miranda Marquit · 12 comments

Christmas woman with dollarsDuring the holiday shopping season, many of us find ourselves spending more than we expected. As a result, it’s common to look for ways to offset some of that spending by earning a little extra money at this time of year.

While you could get a seasonal job to work on top of your day job, or you could jump through hoops associated with getting a rebate, there are some easier ways to make extra money this holiday season.

Here are 5 easy ways to make extra money before Christmas:

1. Donate Plasma

My brother-in-law goes down to the blood bank and donates plasma twice a week. Depending on where you live, you can receive between $25 and $50 for each donation. You can go twice in a seven day period, as long as there are two days between each donation. This doesn’t take very long, and it can be a quick way to make a few dollars.

If you start now, you can get in about six donations between now and Christmas. That would equate to a total between $150 and $300, depending on what the local rate is. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be giving your karma a boost with the good deed!

2. Sell Some of Your Old Stuff

Go through your attic or basement and look for stuff you aren’t using anymore. We found some old Hallmark holiday ornaments we no longer care for, as well as a number of other items that we never use. You can sell your things on eBay, or you can sell it through the classifieds (local online classifieds work best). Or, if the weather isn’t too bad, you could even hold a yard sale. What you end up with depends on what you sell, but a neighbor recently brought in $350 by selling her unwanted items.

You can also consider selling some of your old jewelry. Just be careful of where you go to sell gold or silver, as you want the best possible price.

3. Fiverr

If you have a few minutes, you can perform relatively simple work for $5 a pop on the website Fiverr. The tasks aren’t too difficult, and it can be a good way to get a little extra cash. It’s not a ton, but it can start to add up if you get enough jobs. Just make sure that you don’t start spending too much of your precious time on these little tasks.

4. Yahoo! Voices

Do you write? While you can make money as a professional blogger, or off your own web site, it takes time to establish yourself and actually start making money. If you’re looking for some quick cash, consider Yahoo! Voices.

After signing up, you can submit your writing. If you submit for immediate payment, you can get between $5 and $25 (or more!) for your posts, depending on the timeliness and quality of your work. Plus, you receive extra payments based on pageviews — so, you could keep getting paid even after you stop writing articles.

5. Mystery Shopping

If you are careful, you can combine your love of shopping with your desire to earn money. My mom and my sister have both had success as mystery shoppers. If you make sure you’re working with a reputable company, and there is work in your area, this can be a good way to earn a couple hundred bucks before Christmas.

Do you have any other easy ways of earning extra money before Christmas?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandon Turner December 4, 2012 at 7:56 am

Ha! I spent all of my college years donating (er… selling) plasma for $50 per week. It was an excellent way to earn a little extra money to keep my gas tank going.

Good tips though!

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MoneyNing December 5, 2012 at 10:16 am

I love selling old stuff on eBay because a) I get some cash, and b) I won’t have to deal with that clutter anymore for the rest of my life.

Score! :)

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Cathie December 6, 2012 at 6:21 am

I’ve been a mystery shopper for several years. The turn around for getting paid is at least 30 days for virtually every company I’ve ever shopped for. Also, in order to make “several hundred dollars” you would have to do nothing but mystery shopping all day (and still wouldn’t see the rewards until the end of January.) It’s a great way to get a free meal, or an oil change but other than that it’s not that much. The biggest pay has been from Casino mystery shopping, and while that averages a little over $100 in pay, it involves a lot of “shopping,” and you are generally forbidden to do them back to back, except in cases where they can not get a shop covered, and need to relax the criteria. The higher paying shops usually have a lot of competition.

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lee December 6, 2012 at 10:56 am

I agree with what Cathie says regarding mystery shopping and here in the UK they are even getting so stingy that they don’t pay for the meal you sample and write report on, just offer a flat fee as a “contribution” to the meal and no fee for the report at all.

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Jaime December 8, 2012 at 8:10 am

Can you give me a referral to the company that you work for? I don’t know that I’ve ever found a website for a legit secret shopper company!

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Cathie December 10, 2012 at 6:27 am

Sorry it took me awhile to get back to you. Busy weekend.
The way to find legitimate shopping companies is to register with MSPA (Mystery Shoppers Providers of America, I believe.) You will take a short course, and a test, pay $15 and become “silver certified.” At that point, you will have access to lists of legit companies. According to legend, if you pay $100 for “Gold certification,” you have first crack at the higher paying mystery shops, but I never did that because I was broke. Once you decide which sites you would like to shop for, you will probably have to take a short course and a free test for their specific qualifications, and then you will start receiving emailed offers of shops. Most of the individual shopping companies do ask for your MSPA certification #. If you live in an area where there are a lot of mystery shoppers, it will be difficult to get a lot of jobs, and when you see one you’re interested in, you need to jump quickly. Like I mentioned, it’s a great way to get free meals and oil changes, but beyond that it’s a lot of work for a relatively small pay. Good luck to you.

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Shane December 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Interesting! I used to know someone who donated plasma and did ok doing it. And you are right you get some Karma points too.

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Brian December 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Donating plasma twice a week? Wow! Do you know how much extra money you can make per page view on yahoo voices?

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Bert December 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm

When I had my ID stolen a few years ago, I lost a great job because my credit score plummeted. As I have been working to correct that bogus record, I have turned to any alternative earning possibilities I could find. I have done all of the above, and basically agree with the comments so far, especially Cathie on mystery shopping. I give plasma in a college town, so that pay scale is at the lower end, and the time required is long, due to a seemingly endless supply of donors. I have also self published on Amazon Kindle, which is a painless process. If you go this route, it pays to sign up for the exclusive agreement, which places your product in their lending library. In my case, my compensation for loaning exceeds my commissions. However, my greatest successes have been earned at the flea market. I am fortunate to have a huge such place about 20 miles away, with 600 booths. This is my default base of operations. Otherwise, I look for special events, trade shows, church bazaars, even the state fair. One must grow a feel for this type of work.. More than once in the beginning, I did not make back my space rental. I sell some old, some new, always looking for anything unique. I peruse the garage sale classifieds, looking for the earliest starting times, and frequently I am able to double my money for turning finds over that same day. Hint: take your own yard sale to your local swap meet for added revenue. There are countless sources for new product out there. I always walk the entire area of where I may be set up, taking note of the various offerings of my competition. I have learned not to go head to head with another regular seller, as price wars are only good for the consumer. I will never stock an item that I know can be found elsewhere at the event I am attending. With that in mind, search for a product that you know will sell, and go for it. The trick, of course, is in the knowing. You will never learn unless you try. Also, be fluid in your inventory. If you stick to the same location, many items will only sell once per customer, so upon the first couple of turnovers, move on to newer merchandise. For example, I bought 6 gross of a small inexpensive pepper spray. at a great price. They moved for a month or so, then sales slid as they had sold to most of the usual customers walking through. I still will keep a dozen or so on hand, but will never see another sales surge as I experienced in the beginning. The same jobber that supplied the spray recently sold me a small stun gun assortment, which I am in the early stages with. It is looking promising. If I am ever able to erase the devastation left by the ID theft, given the chance, I have acquired enough knowledge now to make profitable use of an inventory loan. I am sure anyone with a little bit of ambition, is capable of the same.

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Harshit S. December 9, 2012 at 5:33 am

I have tried a few of them but Fiverr is pretty easy compared to the rest of them (if you have a handy skill that doesn’t require too much time to implement).

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JM @ NJFCU December 11, 2012 at 6:12 am

There’s still time, and these are all great ideas. While there’s quite a “competition” on Fiverr, this is a great way to earn a few extra cash. Thanks for sharing, Miranda. Cheers!

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Shane December 18, 2012 at 10:38 am

One thing I think that should be added, is gift wrapper, I know many people who make good money +tips doing it.

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