Ideas On Scraping Up Extra Cash For The Holidays

Money always seems to be tight when you need it the most during the holiday rush. You can try to cut costs, but you may need to scrounge up some extra cash to make ends meet.

Alpha Consumer suggests some ways to earn more funds in short order:

* Decide what you’d do for $5. The site Fiverr lets you hock wacky services, such as doing sketches or constructing personalized crafts, in exchange for $5.

* Sell stuff. Knock out two tasks at the same time by relieving yourself of stuff you don’t need anymore and making money by selling it at a garage sale or online. You may be able to donate stuff you can’t sell to charities, netting tax deductions.

* Become a photographer. Most photographers will tell you that persistence is at least as important as skill in creating great work. If you know people who are looking to take portraits or holding a social function, offer to shoot it for free and sell them the pictures if they like them.

Earn an Extra $500 for the Holidays [Alpha Consumer]


Edit Your Comment

  1. OSAM says:



    • kalaratri says:

      Seriously. There is more to being a good photographer than being able to hold a camera with the lens pointing forward. Owning an expensive camera doesn’t automatically make you a good photographer either.

      • r-nice says:

        Ditto. They make the statement as if it’s as easy as tying your shoe.

        • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

          On the whole, people who sit around all day thinking up ideas have no concept about how to make those ideas an actuality. If something really were as easy as just being told to do it, people wouldn’t be sharing that information.

      • hoi-polloi says:

        Lens forward. Lens forward. Damn, that’s hard to remember. Thanks for the tip!

    • Tim says:

      Yeah … I’m not a photographer, but I’d imagine that if I were one, the idea of telling people to just “become” one for the holidays wouldn’t quite rub me right.

    • Rachacha says:

      I was going to say…2 weeks before Christmas, and the only camera I own is a point and shoot. I need $400 for extra gifts, let me go out, earn $1000+ for a nice camera, and then take enough pictures to get really good at it, and then earn $400 for the gifts that I wanted so I can buy my gifts…yeah, that sounds like a FOOLPROOF plan!

      • touayang says:

        A good camera and lens these days cost well over $3000. Still waiting for the day I can afford a Canon 5D Mark II and a 24-70mm L lens so I can start becoming a photographer.

        • El_Fez says:

          Not that I’m trying to convince people to follow that bad advice, but you could get yourself a film body, a really good lens and a great scanner for – oh, probably about 600-700 bucks. That’ll be more than enough to get you going on some great looking shots.

          Besides, it’s not the gear that makes the photo, it’s the eye behind the lens that makes the photo.

          • Senator says:

            Don’t fool yourself. The gear is just as important as the person. The whole package is only as good as its weakest link.

          • tiz says:

            at $25-35 per roll (including the purchase of the film) to actually get your images developed, provided you can find somewhere that does it, i don’t see how that’s a better investment than just buying an older model DSLR, where images are infinite.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      This. There are so many shitty to average photographers out there marketing themselves as photographers. I’m a better than average amateur in that I have a good eye and I’m creative, but I don’t have the equipment OR the technical expertise to produce anything approaching professional quality. I’m a better photographer than most people I know but I would still never even attempt to sell my services as a photographer.

      There are real professionals out there who would do a far better job than I would and who have much better equipment, technical know-how, creativity, and talent that I simply do not have.

      “Become a photographer.” HA! Slap in the face to the real professionals out there who have invested thousands in equipment and whose talent is not even in question.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      I actually went to the linked article and didn’t read anything about becoming a photographer, did Consumerist just throw that in there? For the record it’s a terrible idea no matter who suggested it.

    • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

      Become a Consumerist blogger. Most Consumerist bloggers will tell you that persistence is at least as important as skill in creating great work. If you know people who are looking to create web content, offer to write it for free and sell it to them if they like it.

    • Riroon13 says:

      I worked for a small newspaper with two AP-award winnng photographers; I learned by watching as these guys — masters of their art — and developed a deep appreciation for photography. The weren’t getting paid nearly what they were worth.

      In contrast, my wife’s cousin — with no training to speak of — bought a DSLR on a whim, and then procured a not-so-legal edition of photoshop. Everybody in our small town went all ‘ohh, shiny’ when they saw her camera (her parents are established business people in our town). Now she makes $700-$1000 a pop for grad and wedding photos, takes pics for the local dance studio, playground, etc. because of her parents; connections, while my photography friends at the paper are struggling, making about $10-$15 an hour.

      BTW, her attempts at photoshop are on par with a three-legged boar attempting brain surgery.


      • Jane_Gage says:

        In fairness it seems to have turned out well for her.

      • Kate says:

        Perhaps the major part of making money off art is marketing yourself.

      • 40ozOE says:

        Sometimes it’s not even a matter of having the equipment and the talent. I’ve done some sports photography, gotten paid for it, and had some photos printed in major publications. Based on that, I would still blush at being consider a “semi-professional” photographer. People know this and know I have some fancy equipment, and then inquire about shooting their weddings or big events. I have trouble with that and frequently turn them down – I’m skilled in sports, not weddings – you have to account for lighting in the church, wedding protocol, other guests rushing in front of you to take the same photo, the little flower girl fidgeting, mother of the bride getting impatient – and if you mess up these once-in-a-lifetime shots, that’s on you.

    • alisha.hime says:

      I cannot tell you how many sob stories I have heard of people hiring ‘photographers’ for their weddings, and then getting blurry, out of focus photos in a cute little album. Its disastrous and a bad idea all around. Plus, it hurts people who have spent a greater part of their life on investing in learning and buying gear to be a photographer.

      • tinmanx says:

        My friend hired a wedding photography shop that sent 2 guys that could barely focus the camera to his wedding. They acted professional, but most photos came out like crap.

        I was lucky, the people I hired weren’t great photographers, but they had everything pre-planned and the photos turned out pretty good. Only problem is our photos were like exact copies of the sample photos we saw, it’s like they photoshopped our heads into some stock photos.

    • El_Fez says:

      Quoted for more truth than can possibly be quoted for! A photographer for years and I’ve made – probably 75 bucks all this time. You wont be rolling in dough any time soon!

    • qbubbles says:

      AHHH!!!!!!!! THIS!!!!!!!!

    • Chaluapman says:

      Yes, do NOT become a photographer!

  2. Wonderweasel says:

    “Decide what you’d do for $5.”

    -Whore myself out to fat chicks
    – Punch people in the face and run away
    -Singing telegram

    And I will whore myself out to a fat chick while punching her and singing for 10 bucks. Thats all 3 for 10 bucks! 5 dollar savings!

  3. Labratt21 says:

    For those living in college towns, tutoring around finals time can bring in some decent extra cash.

  4. CosmosHuman says:

    Right now, I’ll do anything for 5k, anything!

  5. oloranya says:

    What you’re suggesting people do to “become a photographer” is called spec work and it is NOT OKAY in the creative industry.

  6. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    You know… I’d happily pay you four dollars to thrash around on a vinyl tarp covered in melted butter while I throw oranges at you.

  7. RandomHookup says:

    I think the best moneymaking idea for Xmas time involves a “sexy elf” costume and a lot of mistletoe.

  8. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    How about only buying what you can afford??? When I was growing up, some Christmases were much leaner than others and my parents would warn me ahead of time. I understood. My mom made sure we had plenty of other great traditions. And, she was imaginative with her shopping. She could get me some really great gifts for very little money (puzzles that I would spend hours putting together, Play Doh sets that I would play with for days on end, a fun game we could play together.)

  9. PunditGuy says:

    I think someone needs to point this out:

  10. CosmosHuman says:

    I was hoping to buy snow boots for my daughter for Hanukkah. She said she would rather have rechargable batteries (AAA and AA) and a charger instead. She said her boots from last year will be OK. She knows my current situation. Now, I am crying.

    • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

      I sure hope those are tears of joy from the realization that you raised a daughter who has a decent head on her shoulders. Too many kids these days (even grown ones) are nothing but me-me-me, want-want-want, gimme-gimme.

      • CosmosHuman says:

        I just have to figure out where to get the best price on batteries and a charger. I am still serious about doing anything for 5k. If I had 5k, I could pay all my debt off and not have to worry about becoming (evicted) homeless. I do have some skills.

        • Cat says:

          If you have a Harbor Freight, try them. Get their best Nickel – Metal Hydride batteries (AA batteries should be over 2000 a/h), they are currently on sale, and use the 20% off coupon they always have in the mail / online / in the newspaper. You can only use one coupon per day according to the terms. They work as well as my pricey Duracell batteries, maybe better.

          They sell chargers too. (and, yes, use a 20% off coupon for that, too.)

          • CosmosHuman says:

            I’ll have to check out the store. Thanks for the info. If they don’t have it I’ll go to Wal-Mart or sams, I still have a paid membership there.

            Never been to Harbor Frieght.

            • Labratt21 says:

              May I recommend Eneloop batteries. They might be a couple of dollars more than some of the other brands, but they last a really long time in the devices and they can be charged over 1000 times and still be useful. They usually have a bundle with the batteries and a charger on amazon.

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      Aw. Sounds like she’s on the right track. I’m glad you have a kid who makes things a little easier for you!

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Don’t be too upset, as Douchenstein (ha!) said it sounds like you’ve raised a thoughtful, intelligent child who can already prioritize needs vs wants and understands that money doesn’t grow on trees. Hell, she already sounds better than 90% of the children I’ve ever met! Good job!!

  11. richcreamerybutter says:

    I’m surprised the author didn’t also suggest baking. If you look at her byline, she comes from
    a finance background, which probably explains her ignorance.

    I wonder if she also thinks we should take up some part-time holiday online stockbroking for friends?

  12. Mad Helper Monkey (Not really mad but getting a bit put off) says:

    Become a blogger about consumer issues and invite readers to participate with ideas and comments and sell ad space and..and…uh..oh…never mind…

  13. crispyduck13 says:

    “Launch a coaching business. All you need is a blog and your first client, and you‚Äôre in business.”

    LOL, yeah, setting up a blog centered around your profound knowledge of some topic is sure to make you big bucks and fast too! There’s a huge, unsatisfied market out there for your high priced esoteric advice! Go get ’em!

    This is in my top 10 of worst Consumerist posts in the last 3 years I’ve been reading it.

  14. May contain snark says:

    Become a photographer? Really? Because anyone can just pick up a camera and “become a photographer.

    Why don’t I just pick up a plunger and “become a plumber”.

  15. 10,000 Hours says:

    I’m very glad JavaScript, HTML, etc., got more and more complicated, because for a while there in the late 90s/early 2000s, if you knew basic HTML or could navigate Geocities, BAM! you were a website designer and could “make money” offering your services. Those were some bad years on the Internet…

    • tinmanx says:

      And now no one wants websites anymore, it’s all social media this social media that. Everyone on the ‘Net is a social media consultant.

  16. tkates says:

    1. Do stuff for $5: Only works if you have something awesome to offer and if a million people aren’t offering something better. I have never, ever had success with Fiverr, no matter the value of what I was offering.

    2. Yes. Yes yes. This is a great idea. Just be sure not to overvalue your stuff, or it won’t move.

    3. No. No no. For all of the reasons everyone else is saying.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      Try CL. I make 300-500 extra a month tutoring. Mentioning that you’re local will help separate you from spammers. (I also used to do pen and ink drawings and got a lot of interest but the labor to income ratio was really poor and I burned out on it pretty fast). I don’t know where it was mentioned, but some woman made a lot of money offering organic cleaning services, she just had to spend more time scrubbing.

  17. Chaluapman says:

    Install WordPress and become a blogger!

  18. SporadicBlah says:

    If you have a camera become a photographer?!?
    Buy a hammer and become an independent contractor.
    Buy a calculator and become an accountant.
    Buy a bag of Popsicle sticks and become a general practitioner. (most bang for your buck!)
    Buy a pencil and become a writer.

    8 years of art school with photo concentration, 2 years working in a lab, 2 years working for a paper, 5 years with a national chain, and 15 years as an independent I cant earn a decent living in photography because everyone with a camera is suddenly a photographer and there is a studio on every corner. For years I restored antique photos by hand drawing in the missing parts. Wal-Mart does it now for $29.95. When I chose this career in the 80s I had no way of knowing technology would render me obsolete in 25 years. Now I just paint, draw and starve. :)

  19. speaky2k says:

    Do what I did last Friday. I found all my change buckets from the past few years and put them all in a Coinstar machine for an Amazon gift card. I had 30lbs of change and got $212 to spend online at Amazon. I got all of my shopping done for my friends and some of my family with that gift card. I only had my Dad & some other things for my girlfriend to buy after that.
    Everyone has a change jar/bucket/pile so trade it in, it’s like free money.

  20. brinks says:

    People with actual talent and skills should be the ones taking professional photographs, designing t-shirts, and coaching people. If just anyone could do it, why the eff would someone pay YOUR unskilled butt to do it?

  21. kimmie says:

    Why does everyone think it’s so easy to be a photographer? Especially for portraits. Learning how to light is very important, as well as having the correct tools. And a million other reasons I’m too tired to list. This also leads to real photographers not being able to appropriately charge for their time, because people think anyone can do it. Come on Consumerist, you know better…

  22. torgeaux says:

    Actually, the article linked to does not suggest, “Become a photographer.” Rather, a freelance photographer in the article basically relies more on her photography for money during the holidays.

    After reading this, I suggest the apparently brainless, easy way to make money is to become a Consumerist writer. There appear to be no qualifications necessary.