The holidays can be expensive — and this year, Americans may be spending more than usual. The National Retail Federation is forecasting that holiday sales will increase by a solid 3.7% in 2015 — significantly higher than the 10-year average increase of 2.5% and bringing total spending in November and December to $630.5 billion. The figures are encouraging — they indicate more consumers feel financially able to open their wallets a little wider this year.
Still, no matter what state your finances are in, it’s never a good idea to overspend on the festivities. High credit card balances in January could do serious damage to your wallet and hurt your credit score. (To see where your credit currently stands, you can view your free credit report summary on Credit.com.) Fortunately, whether you’re still feeling cash-strapped, looking to keep your annual budget intact, or simply want to drive more dollars into your savings account, there are some things you can do to secure extra money for holiday shopping.
1. Look for Seasonal Work
To accommodate higher November and December sales, the NRF is also predicting an uptick in seasonal employment this year. As such, you may want to consider applying for a part-time job at busy local retailers or big-box stores to earn some additional cash. And, yes, there’s still time to score a position: Hiring is ramping up right around now and there also tends to be a short window after the first mad shopping rush in which positions become available as some employees decide retail really isn’t for them. You can find out how to get a holiday job in this Credit.com article.
2. Get a Gig
If you’re looking for more flexibility in terms of hours and workload, you can look into getting a side gig. Rideshare companies, like Lyft or Uber, for instance, enable car owners to earn some extra cash by giving someone else a ride. Writers and artists can pick up some freelance work on sites like Fiverr or Freelancer and good cooks may also be able to sell meals to neighbors via online marketplaces like Josephine. There are also platforms for picking up baby- or pet-sitting jobs. Just be sure to vet your side gig (or the company overseeing it) properly. You don’t want to inadvertently fall for a scam or sign up for a pyramid scheme.
3. Cut an Unnecessary Expense
Sometimes making what seems like a small budget adjustment can significantly improve your cash flow. For instance, cutting out your daily $5 morning latte between now and Christmas week would net you around an extra $100, and nixing that $40 manicure-pedicure each week would yield even more savings. You could also hold off on reincorporating these items back into your spending habits come January if you do overspend and need to pay off credit card debt quickly.
More Money-Saving Reads:
Image: Blend Images