Make Extra Money While Everyone Else is Black Friday Shopping

Updated November 21, 2016
by Dana Sitar
Staff Writer
black friday shopping

During the Black Friday frenzy, smart shoppers scavenge for great deals. Everyone wants to save money on electronics, appliances, treats and holiday gifts.

But even when you’re getting a good deal … you’re still spending money.

Why not get a leg up, take advantage of the excitement and make money this year?

Here are 25 ways you can do just that, including helping shoppers prep for the big day, ways to make money while you shop, and what to do if you don’t want to jump on the shopping bandwagon at all.

Make Money Preparing for Black Friday

Even though it’s just (historically) one day of excitement, plenty of preparation goes into Black Friday — for both shoppers and sellers.

You’ll find ample opportunity to make money helping people organize their budgets and finances to prepare for their holiday shopping.

1. Sell Gift Cards

bath & body works
Samantha Dunscombe – The Penny Hoarder

Did you know billions of dollars in gift cards go unredeemed each year? You might have some and not even know it.

Savvy shoppers buy up unwanted gift cards before Black Friday at a discount on sites like Raise. Year-round, the practice can help you save hundreds of dollars each month.

Take advantage of the opportunity. Dig through your wallet, forgotten boxes and desk drawers to find old gift cards you’re not using. List them with a gift card buyer and turn them into cash you can use.

(And no, it’s not too late — Raise told us 98% of gift cards sell within two days, and lots sell within just a few hours!)

2. Drive With Uber

Get holiday shoppers to the stores and back home!

With public transit uncertain and parking scarce, expect to see boosts in Uber use. If some drivers take time off for the holiday, you could keep busy all day.

High Uber traffic means surge pricing, and the company sometimes offers guaranteed hourly rates for high traffic days (though we can’t confirm whether or where this will happen on Black Friday.)

Here’s one more tip: Many shoppers might be using Uber for the first time. Offer them a free ride using your driver promo code to earn a bonus $5 – or your rider promo code to earn a free ride (usually up to $20).

3. Be a Personal Assistant

If you haven’t done it before, you could offer personal assistant services just for the holiday season. If you’re already in the field, just amp up or specify your services.

Help make this crazy shopping day run smoothly for busy parents and professionals. Prepare them for Black Friday: Aggregate deals, organize coupons, manage their shopping list, create their schedule and compare prices.

You can also help out on Black Friday by corralling children, retrieving food and hauling purchases from the store. Offer your service as a personal driver, and relieve your client(s) of the headaches of driving in traffic and finding parking.

4. Get Paid to Stand in Line

waiting in line
Infusionsoft Sales & Marketing Software under Creative Commons

New products, popular concerts and great deals attract infamous lines, but Black Friday waits take the cake. Shoppers must weigh how much they want a deal with the amount of time, hassle or danger they’re willing to tolerate.

In some cases, people are willing to pay to get the best of both worlds – and you can reap the benefits. Get familiar with sought-after doorbusters, and offer your services as a professional line sitter to nab those precious spots for other shoppers.

How much can you make? Same Ole Line Dudes (SOLD) charges a minimum of $45 to wait in line for its New York City clients, with higher payouts for popular items – $60-65 for cronuts, anyone?

5. Run a Private-Labeling Business

With some hard work, you can make hundreds of extra dollars per month selling private-label products on Amazon.

You’ll want to get started ASAP to prep for Black Friday, so you can be up and running and ready to promote your deals on Amazon. (Or at least get things in motion so you can be making money during the rest of the holiday rush.)

Research products that sell well on Amazon this time of year, and connect with a generic supplier. Design your own logo and market your branded products for holiday shoppers. Read our full guide to selling private-label products for more information.

Make Money While You Shop

You may still want to hit some stores or shop online to nab some Black Friday deals. If you do, get creative to earn money in the process.

6. Buy Items You Can Resell

Add your business to your holiday shopping list this year!

If you can’t launch a private-label business before holiday shopping season, take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to stock up.

Find deals on popular items like toys and clothes, and resell them in the following weeks through Fullfillment by Amazon for late-season shoppers.

7. Use Acorns to Invest Your Digital Change

Remember emptying your pockets to squirrel away spare change in a jar? You can do that online, too!

When you’re shopping with a credit or debit card (and I bet you are for the holidays), link it to Acorns, a smartphone app that saves your digital change.

Once you’re linked, Acorns rounds up your purchases to the next dollar, saving your digital change in your Acorns account.

If you just want the savings, withdraw it into your checking account. Or, turn your spare change into earnings by automatically or manually investing it into one of Acorns’ idiot-proof investment portfolios.

8. Be a Mystery Shopper

You can mystery shop everything from liquor stores to Ikea. Earn $8-$25 from each stop, plus get reimbursed for your purchases.

Companies like Market Force and BestMark connect you with businesses who use mystery shoppers to ensure a quality customer experience in their stores.

9. Take Stock Photos

black friday shopping

Have you seen blogs, news stories and social media during the holidays? They’re full of photos of people shopping, and those images are usually from stock photo sites.

Do double duty during your Black Friday shopping by photographing the crowds, lines and excitement at stores.

Note: Store owners or managers reserve the right to ask you not to take photos on their property. Otherwise, snap away, and make sure you understand whether your intended use of the photograph will require a model or property release.

10. Use Nielsen Homescan

The company that tracks TV ratings has expanded its horizons. Now, they’ll pay you to share shopping data.

Once you sign up to become a Nielsen Homescan family, you’ll either receive a free scanner or use your smartphone.

When you’re shopping, scan the barcodes on each product you buy to share your data. This tool helps influence the decisions retailers make, like which products and brands to carry.

Nielsen pays in gift points you can use to redeem for different types of merchandise. Share your Black Friday buys for points you can put toward electronics, jewelry, household items or toys for the holidays.

11. Get Paid to Search for Your Wish List Items

Sign up for Swagbucks and Bing Rewards to make the most of your holiday shopping and planning.

When you search for items you want to buy through their search engines, you’ll earn credits you can cash in for gift cards to popular retailers.

12. Shop Online Through Cash-Back Sites

If you do Black Friday – or any – shopping online, do it through a cash-back site that rewards you for things you’re already doing.

Stretch your dollars with Swagbucks, Ibotta or Ebates to get up to 70% back in cash or rewards, like gift cards.

Then, use those gift cards for more holiday shopping — or save them up and treat yourself when you’ve checked everyone off your list!

13. Use Rebate Apps

If you’re shopping in stores, get cash back through a rebate app when you get home.

Scan your items and receipts into Ibotta or Checkout 51 to find items eligible for rebates.

14. Maximize Your Waiting Time

While some see them as the ultimate time-sucker, savvy shoppers can use a smartphone to virtually eliminate the concept of “wasted time.”

How? Dozens of apps offer to pay you for completing small tasks online.

With the crowds and lines in department stores, Black Friday is filled with time spent waiting. Idle hours or even minutes give you ample opportunity to earn points for watching a YouTube video, completing a survey, downloading a new app or sharing something on social media.

It beats trying to navigate another conversation with that extroverted toddler waiting in an adjacent stroller while his mother double-checks her shopping list.

Make Money While Everyone is Shopping

Maybe the most frugal way to participate in Black Friday is to not shop. Hop on the bandwagon by making money from everybody else’s shopping fever.

15. Work on Your Passion Project

Though it’s not an official U.S. holiday, many schools, government offices and private companies will be closed the day after Thanksgiving. Even if you work for yourself, you’ll probably find many of your colleagues taking the day off.

When you have no deadlines and your inbox is stagnant, maximize the quiet time.

Pick a project off the back burner. Work on a novel. Put the finishing touches on a painting. Format an ebook.

Making progress during days off can help propel you toward a dream job or self-employment.

16. Work on Your Side Hustle

While workers around the U.S. may take the day off, most of our international peers are still working. Acknowledge them!

If you run a U.S.-based side hustle that offers coaching or consulting calls, webinars, online events or courses, you’ve probably dealt with frustrated international customers or clients whose time zones prevent them from connecting with you.

Adjust your work hours on Black Friday to schedule a group coaching call, webinar or online meetup to accommodate tricky time zones.You can even offer a Black Friday discount to entice new clients!

17. Organize Coupons

Even on Black Friday, you can make in-store and online deals even sweeter with coupons!

But couponing can be overwhelming for a lot of shoppers. That’s where you come in.

Offer your services as a Black Friday coupon organizer. Scour websites for discounts, clip ads and figure out how to stack coupons and rebates with existing sales to help shoppers get the best deals.

Keep it simple, and only offer your services to people in your community for the holidays. Or, use this busy shopping season to launch a side hustle managing coupons year-round!

18. Make Holiday Gifts

Are you crafty? This hobby is a great way to earn extra money for the holidays! It can also help you get into the Christmas spirit on Black Friday without venturing into the mall.

Create holiday crafts, cards, jewelry or dinner party decor in your free time over the holiday weekend.

Do just a little, and sell items around your neighborhood – or make a lot, and list the crafts in your Etsy shop for Cyber Monday.

Speaking of Cyber Monday…

19. Prepare for Cyber Monday

If you run an Etsy shop, online business or a reselling side hustle, Cyber Monday is going to be a killer opportunity to get attention and increase sales. Make sure you’re ready!

Use free time on Black Friday to prepare your products, sales copy, website, emails and promotional content for the huge online shopping event.

20. Babysit

Make holiday shopping easier for family and friends by offering to watch the little ones while they go out.

You’ll get to make $20 to $40, skip the crowds and help usher a family into the holiday season!

21. Take Care of Pets

Pick up pet-sitting or dog-walking work to relieve busy shoppers from the need to stop home between stores. Just stopping by to feed or walk a dog could earn you $40 an hour.

If you can’t find pet-sitting gigs in your network, hop on DogVacay to connect with pet owners in your area.

22. Be a Gift Wrapper or Elf

The shopping surge during November and December means retail stores and malls need a lot of extra short-term help. Meet the demand with one of these seasonal jobs.

Take a seasonal retail position to help fill the need, or score a unique, holiday-specific position like gift wrapper, department store elf, Santa or photographer. You’ll still be in the Black Friday madness, but you’ll get paid!

23. Get the Best Gigs

If you haven’t, sign up for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and create an account with TaskRabbit.

The work differs quite a bit between these sites, but the strategy for earning money is similar: Find gigs you can complete quickly that pay well for the amount of time you put in.

With a lot of Taskers and Turkers likely taking the day off, this is a great opportunity to get some of the best gigs.

24. Deliver Food

Sign up as a freelance food delivery driver with a company like Dapper Deliveries to meet the demand of those who prefer to shop from home — or just don’t want to venture out into the madness for a meal.

Similar to other contract services in the sharing economy, your driver pay depends on how many deliveries you take and how fast you work.

The average pay per delivery, which includes a surcharge and potential tips from customers, is $8. Take two to five deliveries each hour, and you could pocket a bit of cash for the holidays.

25. Deliver Gifts or Purchases

If you’re in one of its 30+ cities, look for a job as an Amazon Flex driver and help shoppers skip the Black Friday rush with Prime Now, Amazon’s one-hour delivery service.

Boost Your Income

Many of these money-making ventures aren’t just good for Black Friday. If you’re already earning money with any of these options, jump on the holiday rush to boost your business.

If not, you could use the push from Black Friday to launch a new side hustle and enjoy the extra income year-round.

Your Turn: Will you try some of these tricks to make money this Black Friday?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. We would have shared them with you anyway, but a true “penny hoarder” would be a fool not to take the company’s money. :)

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Writer’s Digest and more. She’ll probably spend Black Friday working on an elusive essay and eating ALL the leftover green bean casserole.

by Dana Sitar
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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