We need to talk about Christmas.
There, I said it.
I know the kids are only just going back to school, that the dust has barely settled on the summer holidays, and that the last thing that you want to think about is planning the festivities, but right about now is the ideal time to consider how you’ll cover your Christmas spending.
According to debt advice charity National Debtline, 37% of Brits put last Christmas on a credit card. That’s a whole load of people going into a new year with a financial hangover, and a ridiculous amount of pressure piled up on families come January.
If you’re determined that this won’t happen to you this year, then the good news is that there are plenty of genuine ways to earn some extra money and give your finances the boost they need.
Here are four options that you might want to consider…
1. Have a good old clear out and sell your unloved clutter
You know those dresses that sit in the back or your wardrobe, long since forgotten about? And the toys that your kids have abandoned? And the old electrical items that are just gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere? They could be worth more than you think.
Set aside a few hours of your time, and get them listed on eBay or even local selling groups on Facebook. Take some decent photos from plenty of angles, be as descriptive as possible with your listings, and be sure to calculate your postage costs and fees correctly so you don’t run the risk of eating into your profits with unexpected spending.
I’d dare bet that most people are sitting on at least a couple of hundred quid, without even realising it. Of course, the added benefit of this one is that you’ll free up a load of space in your home. Think of it as a side hustle and an autumn clean, all rolled into one.
2. Sell your services as a freelancer
The world of work is changing. The gig economy is on the rise and though it gets its fair share of bad press, it’s also presented us with a load of genuine opportunities to make some extra money on the side.
Whatever skills you have – from writing to transcribing to graphic design or anything in between – you can offer services to business owners who want to leverage a more flexible talent pool.
There are so many different ways to find paying clients, but I’m a big fan of taking the path of least resistance, and that’s why I recommend checking out freelance job boards like People Per Hour and ProBlogger. You can search through hundreds of projects to find something that’s suitable, and you can send a proposal directly to potential clients.
3. Beat the bookies with matched betting
Matched betting is an entirely legal way to create profits from the welcome offers that bookmakers run to attract new punters to their sites. If you’ve never heard of it before then you’d be forgiven for thinking that it all sounds a little bit dodgy and too good to be true, but it’s actually totally legit.
As long as you follow the system then your own cash is not at risk, and your earnings are also tax-free. It takes a little bit of time to get your head round things and understand the process, but once it’s clicked, it’s fairly simple and straightforward.
My quick caveat on this one is that if you think you may be tempted to start gambling, give it a wide berth. It’s not for everyone, and you need to know that you’ll have the discipline to walk away from the temptation to have a flutter with your hard-earned cash.
4. Hit car boot sales and charity shops to find items to resell
Love selling on eBay but ran out of clutter? Reselling is one of the oldest and simplest business models in the book, and it involves picking up items for cheap in places like car boot sales and charity shops, and then selling them on for a profit.
I’ve personally been reselling for over a year now, and it pockets me a decent chunk of cash each month, as well as giving me a totally genuine excuse to go shopping. What’s not to love here?
You can resell practically anything that you think of. It’s worthwhile to pick a niche though, so you can get a feel for the kind of items that you should be looking out for, and where you’ll be able to create the biggest margins. A great place to get started is to take a look at completed listings on eBay and see how much various items are selling for.
The things that we’ve looked at here are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ways to earn yourself some extra money in time for Christmas.
My best advice is to pick just one or two things that float your boat, and work on getting stuck into them. Even if you’ve got just a couple of spare hours to dedicate each week, you could have made massive progress come December.
Which of these will you be trying first? And how much will you be aiming to earn to help you with the cost of Christmas?
Ruth has been self-employed for eight years, and blogs about genuine ways to make money online at RuthMakesMoney.com. She’s a freelance writer, eBay reseller, and matched bettor, and is passionate about helping people to create their own income streams, entirely on their own terms. You can find Ruth on Twitter and Instagram.
Christmas debt stats source