Creating a Cushion: How to Earn Extra Income for the Holidays & Beyond

December 10, 2014

During the holiday season, it’s easy to have second (and third) helpings at meals and it’s even easier to spend more money than we planned on gifts and other expenses. If that sounds familiar, there are ways to earn additional income without getting a second job or babysitting the neighbor’s kids. Here are a few ideas for the entrepreneur-minded individual.

Offer a taxi service

Ride-sharing programs, namely Lyft and Uber, are becoming more popular and well-known by the day. If you have a car and don’t mind picking up strangers and carting them to their destination, then these are an excellent way to make additional money.

Rent your home out

Do you go ever out of town and wish someone would pay you to watch your house? Do you enjoy people you don’t know living in your house temporarily? Do you like cleaning up after said people? If you answered yes to some or all of the questions, consider putting your house, room or apartment  on Airbnb. Instead of staying in a suburban hotel, your guests will love walking to a coffee shop from your cute Denver Square in Cap Hill, or grabbing dinner near your loft in LoDo -- all while you get paid.

Make YouTube videos

Did you know it’s now easier than ever to have people listen to your opinions, watch you make a fool of yourself, or teach a valuable skill online and get paid serious cash? Steps: Make a video of you doing one of the above. Post it on YouTube. If it’s viewed thousands of times, make another one. Rinse and repeat. The big YouTube celebrities earn millions of dollars a year, and at one time they were just like you and me.

Blog

Very similar to being a YouTube sensation, but generally more informative. Steps: Pick a topic you understand, or want to understand well. Begin writing your experience with said topic. Post new information every day or so. If you’re one of the lucky few who have thousands or more people view their blog, you can begin selling your articles to other blogs and news outlets, or just watch the money roll in from the advertisements.

Freelance online

If you are a writer, graphic designer, or want to create smartphone apps on the side, sites like eLance, Freelancer and oDesk give you the opportunity to be paid for your work. With some luck and determination, online freelancing can be lucrative. Be wary of scams though.

Sell at a farmers’ market

Can you knit a killer set of dog mittens? Does your grandmother’s apple butter invoke envy at the local bridge club? You could sell these items to the throngs of people that hit up farmers’ markets weekly in Denver. Many markets will require you to rent your space for the whole season, so it does take a commitment in showing up weekly in most cases. If sitting outside and selling your wares every weekend sounds like a winner, apply for a booth at one of the many farmers’ markets in the area.

Go back to the basics

No list on how to earn additional money would be complete without Craigslist. Go through your closet, storage locker, kitchen or garage, and find items you haven’t used for a year or more. Take a few pictures, write up a nice blurb, and you’ll have money in your pocket in no time. If you want to donate instead, you can give your belongings to various non-profits and use it as a deduction on your taxes. If you’re more interested in selling handmade goods, consider setting up a store on Etsy. It’s easy to get started, costs pennies to maintain, and can be a painless way to see if entrepreneurship is for you.