Stressed About the Holidays? Here Are 4 Ways to Scrounge Up Extra Cash

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on Nov. 6, 2019

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Don't rack up holiday debt or cause yourself needless anxiety. These tips will help you round up the money you need to tackle your incoming expenses.

Don't rack up holiday debt or cause yourself needless anxiety. These tips will help you round up the money you need to tackle your incoming expenses. 

Although it's too early to be wrapping presents and putting up decorative lights, before you know it, the holidays will be upon us. And if you're worried about affording them, you're no doubt in good company. Between gift-giving, entertaining, and travel, the holiday season can easily be the most expensive time of the year. If money is an issue, here are a few things you can do to acquire more of it in the coming months.

1. Look for a seasonal side gig

You may not have the time or patience to uphold a second job throughout the year -- but that doesn't mean you can't push yourself to hold one down temporarily. Working a side hustle for a couple of months could be just the thing to put enough extra cash in your pocket to cover your added holiday expenses and help you avoid nasty debt.

The good news? Many retailers need extra hands on deck during the holidays, which means there's a good chance you'll land a second gig with ease. But don't wait to apply for local seasonal positions, as business owners typically want them filled by late November at the latest.

Another thing: You don't have to sign up to work preset hours that mess with your schedule. Instead, you can start your own venture that you're able to do from home, like crafting, content writing, or web design.

2. Sell items you don't need

You probably have things sitting in your closets that you use infrequently, or never. If you're looking for cash to cover your holiday expenses, take inventory at home and round up any items that are likely to fetch a decent sum. A rarely worn pair of designer jeans or a lightly used cell phone could be somebody else's treasure.

3. Maximize last year's gift cards

Chances are that you're sitting on at least a few gift cards from the previous holiday season that you've yet to use. If that's the case, why not trade them in for cash? Sites like Cardpool allow you to swap cards for cash, albeit at a discount, so you won't quite get the full value of each gift card you unload. Still, it's a better bet than hanging onto gift cards you're not particularly eager to use.

Another option? Use your outstanding gift cards to shop for other people. That way, you retain the full value of each card.

4. Cut back on some bills

If you want to procure extra funds for the holidays, spending less is a good way to go. Take a look at your budget and figure out where there's wiggle room to cut expenses temporarily. That could mean dining out less frequently in the coming months, or doing home maintenance yourself rather than hiring a contractor. Freeing up even $20 or $30 a week between now and the holidays and sticking that money into savings could help keep you debt-free.

The last thing you want to do this holiday season is rack up a hefty credit card balance that stays with you for much of 2020 and costs you extra money in interest. If you need money for the holidays, find ways to raise some extra cash now. You should also pledge to keep your spending to a minimum. That could mean downgrading some of your gifts or attending fewer events -- but if it keeps you debt-free, it's a worthwhile sacrifice.

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