Here’s How to Stay Jolly and Make Money if You’re Alone for the Holidays

Young woman sitting on a couch with her dog during the holidays
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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.

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 listed a backyard tent on Airbnb as a joke back in 2015 and ended up earning $1,380 a month.

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 Shopkick app to make some passive income while you’re wandering around town checking out local shops, parks and attractions.

Once you sign up, the app pays you in “kicks” for walking into certain stores (including Walmart, Target, T.J.Maxx and more). You can redeem them for gift cards to a number of retailers, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora and Best Buy.

It pays you even more kicks for photos of receipts that include qualifying items you purchased in-store with a connected credit or debit card. You can also earn kicks for online purchases. You don’t have to do anything; your linked cards will automatically apply your kicks.

But don’t make the mistake of buying things you don’t need just for kicks. You know better than that.

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, learn how to market yourself as 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, baby-sitting 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.  

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