Here’s How to Stay Jolly and Make Money if You’re Alone for the Holidays
Back when I was a struggling 22-year-old, I had a job working the night shift. Since I had the least seniority, I also had to work weekends and holidays.
Christmas was a drag that year, and don’t even get me started on New Year’s Eve.
I basically spent the holidays alone.
This was in the days before the internet, so all there was to do during my off hours was read, watch TV and build tiny snowmen on the window ledge of my second-floor apartment.
If you’re flying solo this holiday season, you’ve got a lot more options than I did, and you can even make some cash while you’re at it.
Here are some of our favorite ways to make extra money if you’re alone on Christmas.
Drive People Around
Demand for ride-sharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.
Thanks to Lyft’s Prime Time program, drivers have the opportunity to make an extra percentage on top of the base ride amount during the holidays, when there are fewer drivers and more riders.
For context, drivers earned an average of $556.22 a week this past November.* And if you sign up before Dec. 31, you could earn a $500 bonus.
* This opportunity with Uber is for an independent contractor. Stated trip earnings of $556.22 per week are based on 40 hours of driving per week using the net median national earnings of partners from November 2017. Median earnings in your specific location may be lower than the national figure. Actual earnings vary depending on number of rides accepted and taken, time of day, location and other factors.
Rent Your Spare Room
The holidays are peak travel time, and that means people need a place to stay. Why not list your spare room, or even your couch, to travelers who need a place to crash?
If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.
And there’s no reason you can’t be creative. We even found a guy who earns $1,380 a month renting out a backyard tent on Airbnb.
Get to Know Your Neighborhood
The holidays are a great time to learn more about your neighborhood and pick up a little money at the same time.
Download the Dosh app to make some passive income while you’re wandering around town checking out local shops, parks and attractions.
This cash-back app rewards you for making purchases on everyday items, including at places like Wendy’s and Starbucks.
You won’t even have to scan bar codes or take photos of your receipts when you stop to grab a snack or coffee.
There are plenty of local restaurants, breweries and coffee shops with available offers, too.
If you’re working on dropping a few pounds and will be walking around anyway, be sure to sign up with HealthyWage before you head out the door. You could win up to $10,000 just for meeting your weight loss goals.
Lend a Hand
If you’re alone on Christmas, but want to spend time around other people during the holidays, get the word out that you’re available to help lend an extra hand this time of year.
- Some families hire senior concierges to drive seniors to doctor appointments and errands, assist with minor housework or simply keep them company during the hectic holiday season.
- For parents dealing with school breaks, last-minute holiday shopping and grown-ups-only year-end parties, babysitting services are in high demand during the holidays.
- Pet-sitters and house-sitters are invaluable to people traveling or away from home for long stretches.
For an easy way to find and arrange these types of gigs, check out Care.com, a nationwide company that connects family members to independent home-care providers.
Browse the site to read notifications from families seeking a caregiver to provide one or more home-based services, including:
- Child care
- Adult and senior care
- Errands and odd jobs
- Pet care
- Special-needs provider
- Home care
Create a profile outlining your skills and qualifications, then search for jobs in your area of interest. Families review applicants, check references, interview candidates and hire caregivers right through the platform.
Whatever the reason you’re on your own over the holidays, take it from me: Getting out of the house and making some extra cash beats idly building tiny snowmen on a window ledge to pass the time.
Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Building little snowmen was easy; finding tiny top hats for them was the hard part.