The holidays are just around the corner and I know you may be brainstorming about how to earn extra cash for Christmas. We're in October now, so there is still some time!
Below, I've created a list of the best 25 ways I could think of to earn some extra money now. And when I say “extra money,” that is exactly what I mean. These ideas likely won't replace your day job if you have one, but they should be easy side earners to fit into your daily schedule.
If you are in need of an actual work from home job before the holidays, you should check the work from home job leads page to see what companies are needing help right now. I've also created a list of 13 companies that are currently needing work at home help for the holiday season.
25 Ways to Earn Extra Cash For Christmas
#1 – Rewards Sites That Pay Fast
Rewards sites are very popular online right now because they make it super easy to earn a little extra. Most of them will give you redeemable points or cash for doing things like short tasks, printing coupons, searching the web, playing games, offers, surveys, and any number of other things.
Here are a few that pay fast:
- Swagbucks – Pays usually within 10 days, often sooner. The Penny Hoarder has a great post you can check out with more info on how Swagbucks works.
- Prize Rebel – Pays within 24 hours in most cases. You can redeem for cash, Paypal, and various gift cards.
- InstaGC – If you redeem for an Amazon (or any other type) of gift card, you can get it as soon as you redeem it. Absolutely no waiting at all.
#2 – Survey Panels That Pay Fast
Survey panels are also good for scraping up occasional extra money. After you've registered with the below panels, you should get occasional survey invitations to your email.
The panels below are known for paying quickly and they have low cash-out thresholds. This is ideal if you are trying to earn extra cash for Christmas.
- Opinion Outpost – Most of the time you only have to wait a few minutes to get your rewards from Opinion Outpost once you redeem. Also, the cash out is just $5 for Amazon codes and $10 for Paypal.
- Pinecone Research – This one is a very reputable company that's been around for years. However, they can be pretty picky on who they accept and are not always open to all demographics. They pay $3 per survey and you get paid typically within a few days after you take a survey.
- Mindfield – This one pays in cash, not points. If you opt for Paypal payments, you can expect to receive them with 5 to 10 business days after you redeem.
I wrote an eBook based on my seven years of experience taking paid surveys if you want to learn more about it and have access to a list of 50 more legitimate panels to join.
#3 – Rate Music and Get Paid
You can use Slice the Pie to earn extra cash for rating and writing short reviews for new music. It's easy, but take care to make sure your reviews are very detailed and well-written. You can redeem as long as you have $10 earned, and pay outs are made on Tuesdays and Fridays with Paypal.
#4 – Install Qmee On Your Browser
Install Qmee in your Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, or Opera browser, and then just sit back and use the internet as you normally would. When you search for things on Google, Bing, Amazon, Qmee will occasionally pop up in your sidebar with some sponsored links. And every time you visit a sponsor, you'll earn anywhere from two to fifteen cents (most seem to pay around eight cents).
Qmee pays instantly when you cash out with no minimum required for redeeming.
#5 – Start Doing Usability Tests
You can get paid quickly for doing short, 15-minute usability tests for companies that need their websites evaluated. This involves speaking into a microphone from your computer and navigating around the websites you're assigned, stating what you like/don't like about the usability of the sites you test. Most of these tests pay you around $10 to $12 each, and you'll have to watch your email for invites to do them.
Some sites to sign up with for this are User Testing, Userlytics, and What Users Do. Want to join even more user testings sites? I have a full list of website testing companies you can check out for more.
#6 – Get Cash Back On Your Grocery Shopping
If you have a smartphone, you can download the Ibotta app and begin earning cash back on many grocery purchases. Simply check to see what the featured products for the week are and how much they pay if you buy them. You'll probably also have to answer a short survey or watch a video about the product.
Then, scan your grocery store receipt proving that you bought the item(s) and Ibotta will pay you cash. You can redeem your earnings at just $5, and the money goes instantly into Paypal. Trust me that this adds up if you use it every time you shop.
#7 – Start Turking
Use Amazon mTurk to get paid for doing short tasks. They have all kinds of little odd jobs posted, including data entry, surveys, transcription, and more. You only need $1 to request payment to your bank account or you can just use the money to shop at Amazon. Another reputable site for short tasks is OneSpace.
#8 – Complete Tasks With Your Smartphone
There are some easy to use apps out now that you can download and get paid for doing little odd jobs around your town. Example – taking pics of displays in stores, answering surveys, evaluating your experience at various businesses. Kind of like mystery shopping. Also, many of these apps will pay within just a day or two after your tasks have been approved.
#9 – Trade Stuff In at Amazon
Did you know that you can trade in your electronics, books, movies, video games, music, and iPhones to Amazon? And you don't have to have purchased the item from Amazon originally to trade it in. Amazon will tell you the amount they'll give for your stuff after you submit it. Then, once you've shipped it to them (free), they will send you an Amazon gift card for that amount. Go here to submit your items or read our review of Amazon's trade-in program.
#10 – Sell Your Crafts & Handmade Items
If you are crafty and you can make stuff that will sell, you can easily sell it online at Etsy. The great thing about Etsy is that, as soon as your item sells, you get paid to Paypal. There is no waiting on your money. Etsy does charge a very small listing fee per item.
#11 – Sell Your Smartphone Photos
Smartphones are getting so advanced that many of them are actually capable of taking decent quality photos. So good in fact, that there are sites that will buy them from you! If you're a good smartphone photographer, you can post some of your pics up for sale at Foap, Scoopshot, and Clashot to name a few.
#12 – Have a Virtual Yard Sale on Facebook
Most cities have a virtual yard sale group or page on Facebook where you can buy, trade, and sell items with people in your local area. This is a way to earn extra cash for Christmas if you have a lot of stuff you want to unload quickly. Just do a search on Facebook for “(name of your town) online yard sale.” If nothing comes up, try the name of neighboring town or even the name of your county.
#13 – Help Others Learn English
If you know English, you can earn money chatting online with others who are trying to learn it through a site called Cambly. You don't need any teaching experience, and you can work whenever you want. You will need either a computer with a webcam or a smartphone with recording capabilities to do this. They pay .17 per minute of talk time, and you can get paid twice a month with Paypal.
If you have some experience in teaching or tutoring and a degree, VIPKid is another option that I'm hearing good things about from readers.
#14 – Do Some Ghostwriting
If you have at least average writing skills, there are a few sites you can apply with online and get paid to do ghostwriting. If you're not familiar with what ghostwriting is, it's basically getting paid to write content for people who need it. You get paid, but you don't get credit for writing.
One popular sites like this that tends to have lots of work and pays weekly is Textbroker.
#15 – Use the Swagbucks TV app
Swagbucks (mentioned above under rewards sites) happens to have a very lucrative little app called Swagbucks TV that you can download and watch videos on. It's possible to earn up to 50 Swagbucks a day watching videos via their app, and then you can earn an additional 150 Swagbucks per day watching videos via Swagbucks on your desktop. That's 200 Swagbucks per day just for watching videos, and it only takes 450 to get a $5 Amazon card — so do the math. It should be possible to get at least $20 in Amazon codes per month just watching videos.
#16 – Get Paid For Doing Research
There are a couple of sites that regularly need researchers to work at home. And while this is just extra money for most people, it's not shift-based work. You're an independent contractor and you can work anytime you want, which makes it ideal for building up cash for the holidays.
#17 – Sell Your Textbooks
If you have any used textbooks laying around that you don't need, there are several sites that will pay you pretty quickly if they can use them. The books will need to be in excellent or good/gently used condition to be accepted. Some good options for this include Cash4Books, and eCampus. Note that Cash4Books may also accept other types of books — not just textbooks.
#18 – Sell Your Old Phones
You can sell your old iPhone — or any phone — and earn some money whether it's in working condition or not! There are many sites that will pay you for your outdated phones and they don't all pay the same. I recommend using Gazelle.
#19 – Take Video Surveys
Mindswarms is a reputable site that pays $50 if you qualify for and complete their mobile video surveys. I believe that most of the time they send payment via Paypal within 24 hours after you've done a survey for them. I have not used this site myself, but many of my readers have and claim to have been paid. There's no guarantee how often you'd get in on a study, but it's a quick and easy $50 if you do get in on any between now and Christmas.
#20 – Give People Rides In Your Spare Time
Ride-sharing apps are HUGE right now. Everyone is catching rides with services like Lyft and Uber. You can actually sign up to work for Lyft and/or Uber and earn money in your spare time giving rides to people in your local area that request them via the app. This is a great idea for Christmas cash because you can work whenever you want to.
#21 – Do Some Mystery Shopping
Want to earn extra cash for Christmas and don't mind leaving your house to do it? You can also earn some extra money doing some in-person mystery shopping. You'll most likely get invited to do more shops if you live in an area where there are lots of stores, so if you live in a very rural area, making money with this will require some travel that may or may not be worth it depending on the price of gas.
#22 – Sell Your Unwanted Makeup and Skincare Items
It happens to many of us — you get the wrong color by mistake, or a product just doesn't work for you as well as you thought it would. If that's the case, you can use sites like Glambot or MUABS to unload them and earn money. We have more info on where to go to sell your makeup if you're interested.
#23 – Deliver Food On Your Own Schedule
There are a lot of people out there these days who are taking advantage of various apps that allow you to place restaurant/fast food orders from businesses in your town and get them delivered straight to your door. As a result, these apps need delivery drivers, and that's where you can come in! Sign up to deliver for services like UberEATS, DoorDash, and Instacart and work whenever you want, getting paid daily or weekly for delivering food and groceries to people who request it via the app.
#24 – Clean Out Your Kid's Closet
If you're like me, most of your kid's outgrown clothes get sent straight to the goodwill store. However, if you have any that are in good or very gently used condition, you could send them to ThredUp and get paid for them instead. The way it works is you have to order a bag from them, stuff it with the clothes you want to sell, ship it to ThredUp (the shipping is pre-paid) and then wait for them to appraise your items. Once they have, you can get in cash the amount they think your clothes are worth.
#25 – Share Your Expertise and Get Paid For It
You don't have to have a teaching degree to get paid for sharing your skills with others. The internet is also filled with ways to do this. One way is to spend time creating an online course that you can sell over and over again at Udemy. You just create the course, and they provide the platform and tools to help you get it sold. This is a great way to earn extra cash for Christmas.
More “Extra Money” Resources
First off, my sister has a blog called Extra Cash & Rewards where there are many reviews and lists posted for things like survey panels, smartphone apps that pay, product testing sites, and more. That site has been around since 2011. There are a lot of posts, so you may find some more ideas there.
Second, I have found a little gem in the “Beer Money” sub-Reddit on Reddit. This is a very active community filled with people who are looking for extra money. These people have not only great ideas for getting it, but also strategies for making those great ideas work. Many apps and sites I listed above are mentioned there, along with tips for making the most of them. Definitely check it out.
I genuinely hope this post has given you some ideas to earn extra cash for Christmas! Every little bit you can earn will help!
This post was originally published on 10/8/2014. Updated and re-published on 10/3/2018.