5 fun and cool ways to make extra money for the holidays

(BPT) – Brace yourself – the holidays are coming, and so are post-holiday bills. How will you cope with yours?

Last year, Americans spent an average of more than $800 per person on holiday shopping, according to the National Retail Federation. In 2016, nearly 700,000 people will take seasonal retail jobs during the end-of-year holidays, the NRF reports. It’s probably safe to say a lot of them will do so in order to have some extra money for holiday shopping.

However, working in retail isn’t for everyone – the tasks might not stimulate you, the hours might be inconvenient, and the net pay may be less than you hoped for. Making extra money before the holidays doesn’t have to be a chore; in fact, the right job choice can net you cash and some holiday cheer at the same time.

Here are five cool ways to make some extra money before the holidays.

1. Parlay your love of pets into holiday cash.

Pet sitting services and boarding facilities see a spike in business during the holidays, when many people will be away from home. If you’ll be around for the holidays, love pets and have experience caring for them, you can make some extra money pet-sitting for an organization like DogVacay.

The online service connects pet parents with pet caregivers, and hosts are in high demand during the holidays. It’s free to apply as a host, and after a short vetting process, including a free background check, you can begin watching pets in your home or a pet owner’s home. You decide how much to charge, what breed or size animal you’ll host, and your available times. DogVacay takes care of the less fun aspects of pet sitting, like collecting payment, having pet insurance and doing paperwork. Log on to DogVacay.com to learn more.

2. Tweet your way to extra money.

In addition to increasing their retail staff, many companies step up their marketing efforts during the holidays – and that includes their social media marketing. If you have expertise in social media use and know at least a little bit about marketing, you could get a seasonal job as a social media marketing assistant. You’ll use your knowledge of social media to convey the company’s holiday marketing messages.

3. Become a wrap star.

Anyone remember when every retail store used to offer gift-wrapping services? The trend died off for a while but has made a comeback in recent years. Check with stores for openings in their gift-wrap department. Or, you can post an ad on an online marketplace offering your gift-wrapping services directly to busy holiday shoppers.

4. Deck the halls for extra fa-la-la-la-la.

Lots of people would love to deck their homes in holiday decor that would make the Griswalds proud, but they just don’t have the time – or stamina – to decorate. Assemble your holiday decorating tools, including an extra-tall ladder, and advertise your services locally. Bring your creativity and sense of fun, and use your spare time to spread holiday cheer while making a few bucks.

5. Make holiday dough by making holiday dough.

Baking is another holiday activity many people love but just don’t have time or the skill to do. If you’re a good baker, offer your services providing homemade cookies to time-pressed holiday hosts. Sure, they could go buy something in the grocery store, but there’s something really special about holiday cookies baked in a home. You can offer pre-made dough that buyers simply bake when they need cookies, or you can bake full cookie orders during your own holiday baking time.

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