3 Things You Can Do to Scrounge Up More Holiday Cash

by Maurie Backman | Published on Oct. 16, 2021

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Two smiling women dressed in warm clothes window shopping for holiday gifts.

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Don't let the holidays land you in debt. Here's how to boost your cash reserves in time for the upcoming season.

As much as many of us love the holidays, let's face it -- they can also be stressful. From family feuds to the logistics of holiday travel and taking time off of work, there's a downside to that stretch of time between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

Worse yet, if you're low on cash going into the holidays, you may be more likely to end the season deep in debt, or with a giant hole in your savings account. If you'd rather avoid that fate, here are a few tips for boosting your cash reserves in a hurry.

1. Cut back on non-essential spending

Many of us have expenses we spend money on that we can technically do without. For example, it's not unreasonable to meet friends out for dinner one or two nights a week or splurge on store-bought coffee every other morning if it helps you get through your workday.

But if you're low on funds for the holidays, cutting back on those purchases for just a few months could spell the difference between covering your expenses and racking up debt.

Take a look at your monthly budget and find a couple of bills to spend less on. That could even mean trying to spend less at the grocery store. (To be clear, this doesn't mean you shouldn't eat. But maybe buy cheaper cuts of meat or generic brands for a month or so if you usually buy higher-end items.)

2. Sell unused holiday gifts from last year

Sometimes, people give us gifts that are well-intentioned, but the items in question don't suit our taste. You may be sitting on a nice piece of jewelry from your grandmother or a cozy sweater from your aunt that you really have no plans to wear anytime soon. If that's the case, why not sell those items for cash?

Granted, in that scenario, you'll need to weigh potential hurt feelings against the upside of boosting your cash reserves. If the people who gave you the gifts you're selling are likely to follow up on them and get insulted if they don't see you utilizing them, then unloading them for cash may not be worth it. But if your loved ones are the type to give and let go, then this is a route worth pursuing.

3. Get yourself a side job

You may not want to give up on any of the small luxuries you enjoy, and you may not have unwanted gifts from last year's holiday season lying around. If that's the case, a side hustle could be your ticket to a nice influx of cash right in time for the upcoming holidays.

Many retail stores are desperate for extra hands on deck in the months leading up to the holidays (this year especially, since many are still grappling with labor shortages), so you can contact local businesses and see about picking up some evening or weekend shifts. And if you need a more flexible gig, sign up to drive for a ride-hailing service or walk dogs when you can work it into your schedule. These are just a few examples, but the point is that there are side jobs that don't require a preset schedule.

Going into debt during the holidays isn't a great way to close out the year. Before you resign yourself to that fate, explore your options for getting your hands on more money so you can enjoy the upcoming season with less stress.

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