Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s…what do all of these holidays have in common? They all cost money. Even if you choose to not exchange gifts, there is the cost of preparing additional food, entertaining guests, and decorating the house. These additional activities can quickly eat a hole in your wallet.
Luckily, there are some quick and easy ways for you to make extra money from the comfort of your (space heater warmed) home. You can make the extra cash almost immediately, and certainly before you need it come holiday time. Here are 10 different work-at-home jobs you can do now:
1. Sell stuff on Ebay.
Selling on Ebay is fairly simple and easy; it can also be quite lucrative if you have unnecessary items lying about your home and collecting dust. If you’re going to sell bulky items that can’t be easily assessed on weight, buying a scale is highly recommended; otherwise, you may underestimate the weight of your items and pay out-of-pocket for shipping charges.
If you have no items to sell, don’t worry. You can also set up an affiliate Ebay store and help sell other people’s auction items. Programs that help you out in this regard include Build a Niche Store or BANS. This is a useful tool for making extra cash even if you also offer your own items.
2. Freelance yourself.
Speaking from personal experience, the holidays are one of the best times for you to score new freelance clients. With employees taking off on holiday vacations, companies are strapped for time and diminishing human resources. You can query these potential clients through sites like LinkedIn and probably win some great contracts.
If you’re just looking for a little side money, then sign up with sites like oDesk, Freelancer and Elance. These sites allow you to quickly list your freelance services and get gigs paying from $50 to $500- or even more.
3. Test websites and mobile apps.
Sites like UserTesting, uTest, Userlytics, Userfeel and TryMyUI are always looking for individuals to test websites and apps for usability issues and bugs. The sites typically pay $10 and $15 for each successfully reviewed website and mobile app, respectively.
While the work isn’t too steady and is handed out on a first-come-first-served basis, you could earn even $100/day by signing up with and tracking different user interface sites for review gigs. In some cases, a connected microphone and/or webcam are required.
4. Sell crafts online.
If you like making your own candles, soaps or even homemade deodorant, you can make money by selling your goods on Etsy. This site is well-known for being the Ebay of crafts. Unlike Ebay, however, Etsy charges significantly lower fees and commissions for item listings.
There are several alternative sites to Etsy, including eCrater and Bonanza. Neither one of these sites charges listing fees; eCrater actually charges no fees whatsoever. Big Cartel charges no commission and has a tiered monthly fee.
If you’re looking to expand your market base, there are also several U.K.-based craft shops, including Artfire, NotOnTheHighStreet, Folksy, DaWanda and GroovyCart.
5. Play with dogs.
If you already have a fenced-in backyard or just need an excuse to get outside and start walking/running, you may be interested in dog sitting for people who are traveling or otherwise indisposed during the holidays. In some cases, you will be dog sitting at local homes and apartments- but you can also request that clients drop off their pooches with you at your place of residence.
Most dog sitters charge roughly $25 per day for their services. You can start small by asking your neighbors or friends if they need dog sitting over the holidays. If you want to target your entire town, city or county, there are sites like Rover, Dog Vacay and Pet Sitters International that you can sign up with.
6. Rent out your home.
You can list your home, apartment or even your office online and make money when people rent out your space. Sites like Airbnb, Desktime, HomeAway, HouseTrip, FlipKey and Wimdu will help you vet guests and protect yourself legally should anything unforeseen occur. If you’re also traveling over the holidays, having guests stay at your living quarters also helps protect your property from potential burglars.
While prices vary depending on geographic location, you can easily make about $40/day or $250/week for renting out your house to vacationers and/or business travelers. Office space rental earns anywhere from $10/visit to $500/month.
7. Tutor and teach people.
There is always a demand for scholastic tutoring, though never so much as right now, when many students face year-end exams. If you have at least a bachelor’s degree, you can sign up immediately and qualify to tutor on sites like Tutor.com or Smarthinking. Pay rates range from $10-$14/hour depending on your subject matter expertise.
Alternately, if you are an educator just finishing up a semester at school, you may be able to sell your lesson plans, lab activities, etc. through Teachers Pay Teachers, a site that offers all kinds of teaching materials.
8. Take surveys.
Arguably, one of the fastest ways you can earn a few bucks is by taking online surveys. MySurvey and Opinion Outpost are just two examples of survey sites that will pay you $1-$5 for each completed survey. With SurveySavvy, you can actually earn $50-$75/week or about $200/month just by keeping a complete profile and referring others.
As noted in the section on testing websites and apps, you’ll earn more and faster if you sign up with several websites and respond quickly to incoming emails.
9. Provide answers.
If you are a Trivial Pursuit whiz or just good with the Googler, you can make easy money by answering questions posted online. Sites like JustAnswer, HelpMe, IMShopping and Experts123 will pay you from $0.50-$20 per correct (and timely) answer. If you sign up and do well at a site like Smallbiz Advice, you could even make thousands of dollars for your finance, accounting, or other business know-how.
10. Complete microjobs.
Can you quickly create a caricature of a person or animal, or generate unique logos, or do fantastic voice impressions of a celebrity? If so, you can score some money from your quirky and unique talents at microjob sites like Fiverr, Fourerr and Jobs4Ten. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is another place you can earn a few dollars for so-called human intelligence tasks like retweeting posts or reviewing website content.