How to make $1,000 before Christmas

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Woman saving money for Christmas with Santa hat on
Image Credit: Dreamstime

The countdown to Christmas is on! We all like to play Santa to friends and family in our lives, but doing so requires a little extra cash flow in the form of money for Christmas.

In this article, we’ll take a look at ways to pad your coffers before the holiday season gets here. That way, you don’t have to go into debt to make merry during the holidays.

7 ways to make extra money for Christmas

Last year, consumers planned to spend an average of $1,007 for the winter holidays including Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas, according to the National Retail Federation.

The list of expenses included all the usual suspects that go along with the holiday season:

  • Candy
  • Decorations
  • Gifts
  • Other purchases for self and family

Of course, all that purchasing can put you in the red if you haven’t planned for it. So the goal of this article is to help you come up with a strategy to fully fund your Christmas shopping — before you even get started shopping.

Table of contents

  1. Seasonal hiring opportunities
  2. Pet sitting
  3. Uber/Lyft
  4. Shipt/Instacart
  5. Plasma donation
  6. Focus groups
  7. Selling stuff online

Seasonal hiring opportunities

Potential earnings: $15/hour (Amazon remote work)

Around this time of year, many retailers and other companies start to staff up ahead of the holidays.

For example, leading arts and crafts store Michaels just announced that it’s going to add 15,000 people to the payroll this year during the holiday season. But that’s dwarfed by Target, which recently announced plans to hire more than 130,000 seasonal workers.

Meanwhile, both FedEx and UPS routinely doing major hiring blitzes ahead of Christmas. Last year, FedEx hired 55,000 workers and UPS brought on 100,000 new employees as part of their annual seasonal hiring drive.

UPS has announced it will again hire some 100,000 new people for full- and part-time positions at thousands of locations across the country this year. Visit UPSJobs.com to apply.

FedEx is expected to announce its seasonal hiring needs in the coming weeks.

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But the beauty of today’s economy is that you don’t even need to leave your home to get a job. Amazon often staffs up with at-home customer service representatives right before the holidays. You can monitor their remote job openings at Amazon.jobs.

We also have a list of other jobs from a dozen companies that routinely hire for work-at-home positions here.

Pet sitting

Potential earnings: $16/hour

People always need help with their pets — particularly as the holidays come and they go out of town! A variety of apps including Rover and Wag allow you to do on-demand pet-sitting and dog walking in your spare time.

Qualifying for these kinds of side hustles is easy. You just need to:

  • Demonstrate that you have prior experience with animals
  • Display competency at using collars and harnesses
  • Show that you can control unpredictable situations involving dogs

Glassdoor lists the average hourly salary for a dog walker with Rover as $16. However, you can easily exceed that estimate by taking multiple pets out for a walk at a time.

Uber/Lyft

Potential earnings: $15 to $16 an hour

Along with the holiday season comes holiday parties — and the need for guests to be able to celebrate and enjoy themselves while getting home safely.

That’s why ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are indispensable this time of year. If you’ve never been a ride-share driver before, you can expect to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 to $16 an hour, according to Glassdoor.

Money expert Clark Howard tried out driving for both services a few years ago. You can read about his experience here.

Shipt/Instacart

Potential earnings: $16 to $22 an hour

Nothing says the holidays like a family get-together. And when you need that one last ingredient to turn your holiday preparations into a magic meal, who you gonna call?

Answer: Probably either Shipt and Instacart!

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These on-demand grocery delivery services let you receive orders over your smartphone. Then you shop for what’s on the list and deliver it to the customer’s home.

Getting started is easy and just requires you to:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Have a smartphone
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Have auto insurance
  • Have access to a reliable vehicle
  • Be able to lift about 40 pounds

Plasma donation

Potential earnings: Up to $400 in the first month

Want to make a lot of extra money for Christmas with the least amount of effort? Then plasma donation may be the answer for you.

If you’ve ever donated blood before, you pretty much know what to expect with plasma donation. Except instead of just drawing blood, the plasma donation companies will take your blood, separate the plasma from the whole blood and then return the remaining blood to your body.

The plasma that’s harvested from you and other donors is used to create life-saving medications. Most of the big plasma donation chains offer to pay new donors up to $400/month for the first month of donations.

Try these companies to see which one has a center located conveniently near you:

Focus groups

Potential earnings: $75 to $275 per focus group

Focus groups give you the opportunity to get paid to give your thoughts on new products or services. They typically only take an hour or two and the compensation is pretty sizeable for such a small investment of time.

While doing research for this article, we saw several high-paying opportunities open in the metro Atlanta area:

Topic Target demo Pay
Social issues Fulton County residents ages 20-69 $275
Shopping Ages 18-50 $100
Sports Men ages 25-59 $100

The opportunities listed above were found on FocusGroup.com.

Selling your stuff online

Potential earnings: Varies

The Christmas season means gift giving and gift getting. So to prepare for all the gifts you’re likely to get, why not take a moment and declutter your home by selling things online that you no longer need?

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There are always the old standbys of eBay and Craiglist when you want to sell stuff online. But the marketplace has come so much further in recent years thanks to an influx of new competitors:

Sell most anything

Sell your old electronics

Sell your old clothes 

BONUS: Find missing money!

Here’s a quick and easy way to pick up what could be low-hanging fruit when you want to get money for Christmas!

Start out by going to MissingMoney.com. There you can punch in your name to do a database search of available unclaimed funds across all states.

If you live in a state that doesn’t participate with this free site, there’s one more option for you: Unclaimed.org. This website is a clearinghouse for the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

Final thought

Making extra money for Christmas doesn’t have to be difficult. The earlier you start in the lead up to the holidays, the easier it will be to save. Make it your goal to fully fund your Christmas shopping this year so you don’t have to go into debt!

More money-making stories on Clark.com

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