5 ways to make extra money during the Christmas period

Does the sound of sleigh bells strike fear into your heart? When you're on a budget, the mounting financial pressures of Christmas can be too much to handle. From expensive presents to travel costs and indulgent food, this time of year can be a drain on your bank account. While you should create a reasonable budget (and stick to it), you might want to look at sneaky ways to boost your cash flow this season to help ease the burden on your wallet. Here are five ideas to do just that.

1. Sell last year's unwanted gifts

Stuck with a load of unwanted gifts from last Christmas? If you've not opened the socks from your granny or that bath set from your mother-in-law, it could be time to put them to good use. Unused items can fetch a pretty penny online, especially in the lead-up to the festive period. With that in mind, why not try selling these items online?

Gather together all your old gifts and get selling. You can use Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or Gumtree to advertise your wares for free. As you do so, remember that a picture is worth a thousand words; take the time to perfect your product photography before advertising your items. You should also get creative when it comes to your description. You might even want to mention that the item you're selling makes the "perfect Christmas gift."

Note: Take care when selling items online as you could be at risk of certain scams. Always take payments up front and charge a delivery fee.

2. Make money on your trips

Are you planning to travel to see your family this Christmas? Long drives can be costly. However, there are a couple of simple ways you can make money when taking trips. If you're willing to take an extra passenger with you along the way, try using BlaBlaCar. The carpooling app allows you to advertise your trips online and charge passengers a fee to join you on the ride. This handy hack could mean that you save as you travel.

Don't fancy having an extra person in your car? There's another option. Why not make like Santa and deliver some packages? Simply input your chosen route on the Nimber site to find key deliveries you can make along the way. When you've found a package, you can make an offer (i.e. how much you charge) to pick it up and bring it to its destination.

3. Offer a pet-sitting service

If you're planning to stay home over Christmas, there's an important service you could offer. Since many people travel to see their loved ones over the festive season, you might want to give pet-sitting a whirl. This money-making trick is ideal for animal lovers. Plus, the need for pet-sitters soars during the Christmas period, which means you could make some real cash.

How do you get started? You can sign up and offer your services on websites like House Sitters UK and Tailster. When you've passed the application stage, you can begin looking for pet- and house-sitting gigs in your area. It may also be worth looking at other agencies or sites local to your area. Alternatively, try the old-fashioned route and ask around to see if you know anybody who needs help with their animals this season.

4. Try your hand at freelancing

Do you have a hidden talent that could make you extra money? More than 200,000 Britons use freelance work and gigs to supplement their main income, according to statistics from The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed. Put simply, selling your skills online could help you to stretch your festive budget this year.

First things first, you need to determine what skills you have. Popular choices include proofreading, editing, photography, and design. When you've decided what services you would like to offer, get out there and start advertising. If you're completely new to the world of freelancing, a site can help you get started. Set up a profile on platforms like People Per Hour and Freelancer and start bidding for gigs.

Don't forget ‒ you need to declare any extra earnings you make to HMRC. Sign up to the self-assessment portal online before you start making supplementary income.

5. Start a festive side hustle

While making money online is one approach, you may prefer a more hands-on tactic. Over the Christmas period, there's a higher demand for bespoke services. For example, you may be able to make money wrapping gifts, catering events, or offering entertainment. Take some time to think about what skills you have that are applicable here.

When you've decided what festive services you'd like to offer, you should determine a fair rate for them. Next, get the word out there. Start by telling your friends and family about your offering; then promote yourself in local community centres, post adverts on shop notice boards, and reach out to people via social media. Before you know it, you could have orders coming in and more cash in your bank.

You can also help your job search without spending a penny. TopCV will give you expert feedback on your CV for free. Learn more here.

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