11 Ways to Make Money Instead of Shopping on Black Friday This Year

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What are you planning to do on Black Friday? Will you wake up at 4 a.m. to fight your way through crowds? Stand in line for hours only to discover that this year’s hottest toys are sold out?

That doesn’t exactly sound like fun. And no, leaving Thanksgiving dinner to visit the mall on Thursday night isn’t the answer, either.

Instead of battling the Black Friday crowds, put your time to better use.

Here are 11 smart strategies to make the most of your time on Black Friday — and most will leave you with extra money in your pocket.

1. Sign Up for Free Money

Yes, you read that right. Take advantage of bank account promotions to earn free money from several banks. While chasing sign-up bonuses isn’t always worth your time, these could earn you a pretty penny.

2. Find a Seasonal Job

While many people think it’s too late, there’s still time to pick up a seasonal job for the holidays. Some businesses will have finished their hiring already, but you might luck out — especially if you hustle early this week.

Try Snagajob, which specializes in hourly work, as well as good old-fashioned walk-ins — though you probably don’t want to try that on Black Friday itself.

3. Get Your Kids a Job

No, not at the mall. Signing your kids up to be toy testers is a fun way to help Santa save a little cash on presents.

Companies like Fisher-Price and Step 2 need feedback on new toys, including whether they’re engaging and how they hold up to the wear and tear of playing. The best people to share their feedback are kids and their parents.

Curious? Learn more about how to land toy-testing jobs in this post.

4. Plan a New Small Business

Whether you’re ready to hit the ground running or you’re researching your options for the new year, start planning a way to earn money on the side. Figure out a way your skills and experience could help people, and capitalize on it.

Good with words? Try making money as a writer. Work in tech? Do a little freelance web development.

Love dogs? Think about leading dog adventures or planning pet parties. Handy with tools? Consider becoming a handyman.

5. Get Creative

Let your inner artist run wild while everyone else is still in their turkey coma. Create something cool, like jewelry, walking sticks or other crafts, that you can give to friends and family for the holidays.

My biggest hit last year was a wine-tasting kit: I simply sewed four bottle-shaped fabric covers and painted a number on each to make it more fun to blind taste-test different bottles.

Want to earn some cash with your crafts? Consider setting up shop on Etsy or Handmade by Amazon.

6. Write an Ebook

Have you been talking about writing a book forever? Put your money where your mouth is, and write it already.

Not sure what to write about? Steve Scott, who has published more than 60 Kindle ebooks, recommends picking a niche market and then offering value by solving a problem for readers.

Once you’re ready to share your work with the world, here’s how to self-publish it online.

7. Go for a Walk or Hit the Gym

While you might not feel like being active after stuffing yourself with turkey (and stuffing), perhaps a little financial incentive would motivate you to get off the couch. What if you could earn money for your workout — or even a walk around the block?

That’s right, these sites and apps will pay you to exercise:

  • Healthy Wage: Bet on yourself losing a certain amount of weight in a given time period, and earn up to $10,000 if you’re successful.
  • Achievement: Get paid for being healthy by earning points for activities like walking and exercising, with additional points for tracking food, sleep, water intake and meditation.

8. Sell Your Blood Plasma

It takes about two hours and, yes, it involves a needle, but selling your plasma could earn you about $25 for your first visit. The process is simple, and you’re free to read or watch TV while a machine draws your blood and separates the plasma.

Interested? Search “plasma center + [your city]” for options, and ask your friends for referrals — many centers offer referral sign-up bonuses.

If you prefer just to donate blood — which the American Red Cross says is especially necessary between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day — look for a blood drive near you on its website or download its Blood App.

9. Plan to Give to Charity

If you’re going to make any charitable donations, you’ll want to make them before the end of the year so you can deduct them on your 2017 taxes.

Make sure to read the the IRS guidelines first — you’re only allowed to deduct donations to qualified organizations, not individuals or political campaigns, and donations of property or goods are different from cash.

10. Shop Online, Strategically

If you really need to get started on your holiday shopping, do it from the comfort of your own home and use these tricks to save extra cash and earn rewards.

For example, signing up for Ebates earns you cash back on purchases you’re going to make anyway — for example, 8% on TOMS shoes, 8% on Backcountry.com and 8% at Saks Fifth Avenue.

And when you buy your gifts, always use your rewards credit card to earn cash back or travel points. Your holiday gifts might as well give you something in return!

11. Spend Time With Family and Friends

OK, so this option won’t earn you any extra money.

But whether you’re traveling for Thanksgiving or enjoying a day off at home, take a little time to relax this week. After all, what’s the use in earning cash and rewards if you never enjoy them?

Chase Fine print:

Checking offer is not available to existing Chase checking customers, those with fiduciary accounts, or those whose accounts have been closed within 90 days or closed with a negative balance. To receive the $150 checking bonus: 1) Open a new Chase Total Checking account, which is subject to approval; 2) Deposit $25 or more at account opening; AND 3) Have your direct deposit made to this account within 60 days of account opening. Your direct deposit needs to be an electronic deposit of your paycheck, pension or government benefits (such as Social Security) from your employer or the government. After you have completed all the above requirements, we’ll deposit the bonus in your new account within 10 business days. You can only receive one new checking account-related bonus per calendar year. Bonus is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT.

**Account Closing: If your checking account is closed within six months after opening, we will deduct the bonus amount at closing.

Editorial Disclosure

This content is not provided by the bank advertiser. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank advertiser. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Program.

Heather van der Hoop is a freelance editor and a copyeditor at MEC. When she’s not reading, you can usually find her playing along with Jeopardy! or climbing rocks, mountains and trees.