Today in the 7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money, let’s talk about earning money by taking odd jobs. We are talking about jobs that are typically a one-time only deal or fairly infrequent.
Getting a part time job to cover presents is also a great idea, but not always a reality for many of us with a tight schedule or young children to care for. (Or both.)
Here are some ideas for finding odd jobs.
Before we dive in, let me reiterate what you probably already know. There are many bad guys out there trying to take advantage of people who are looking for honest ways to make money. Always be wary of a company that is new to you. Never, ever, ever pay money up front to any company! (Unless you’ve really done your homework and are confident that it’s a legitimate opportunity.)
There are many real companies that will compensate your time and efforts with money without strange stipulations.
Try to check with sites like the Better Business Bureau when in doubt.
Market Research Studies
This one is probably my favorite. I enjoy doing research studies whenever I can, because they pay well for a small amount of your time. Plus, the topics are usually pretty interesting. You get to see items that are still in the behind the scenes stage of production (you’ll usually sign a non-disclosure agreement so you won’t really be able to talk about them with others). And it’s the perfect opportunity to get your opinion heard by major companies.
Most people will need to live near a city in order to find market research panels. I sometimes drive for nearly an hour to get to study locations, which means that when gas leaps to $4 per gallon it is often not worth it. If you live far away from the study location, be sure that the pay will be worth your time before you agree to do the study.
If there is a major company in your closest city such as Kimberly Clark, P&G, Johnson & Johnson, or others, there is likely at least one market research company that helps them with their products.
There are a couple of ways to find market research companies in your area.
Google is Your Friend
You can do a search for “market research studies in [your city name]”. Always, always make sure you do your research on any company names that you are interested in. It would be easy for someone to take advantage of people looking for research studies. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If there are market research companies in your area, chances are that many of the people (particularly women) you know are participating in them. Put out a question on Facebook or ask around at the next school function if anyone has participated in market research sessions or focus groups. You might be surprised at how much information you get from a conversation.
One company that I have worked with in the past that has focus groups open in various locations across the country is L&E Research. However, many companies run very local businesses, so it’s difficult to find nationwide companies. Thus the need for you to do some homework.
Mystery Shopping is another fun way to earn money. You won’t earn a lot per shop, but if you are headed out to run errands anyway, this can be a way to get some free food and earn a couple of dollars at the same time. Sometimes you are required to buy small things that you will be reimbursed for. This could be a way to pick up stocking stuffers or small gift exchange presents from your list for free.
Here is a list of mystery shopping sites that I personally use and know to be legit:
You should know that these companies will require you to give them your social security number in order to pay you. If you aren’t comfortable doing that, then don’t spend time signing up! Many also require you to have a Paypal account in order to get paid.
Shops include oil changes, food, hardware stores, and more. So if you need an oil change and are able to find a shop that works for you, you can shuffle the money you would have spent on the oil change into your Christmas present fund.
Craigslist ETC Jobs
This one makes me a little nervous to mention. So lets get this out of the way…if a title in this section says something like:
*** WEBCAM MODELS WANTED *** MAKE $500 – $5,000 A WEEK!!! (Work From Home) [x]
Don’t click it. In fact, don’t mouse over it. Don’t even look at it! Turn your eyes and fingers far away from this line!!
I know, I know… you’re smarter than that. You can spot an obvious scam. Ok then.
Hidden, very well hidden, among the obvious scams, weird medical studies, and other strange requests are random odd jobs that are legitimate.
Sometimes market research companies will advertise here. Again, do some major homework before accepting these jobs. But yes, some of them are real jobs!
Sometimes people need a job done for just a weekend or a particular event, and those jobs might be listed here.
Also, seasonal jobs can be found here. It’s very hit or miss, and you have to be very wary of meeting up with strangers. Use a lot of sense. If you already know of a major event and the details sound correct and the person is willing to meet you at a real store that you have shopped at before, then you are probably safe to try this.
If any part of it makes you at all nervous, then do not do it!
You probably have a skill that you can utilize to make a few dollars. Maybe you wouldn’t want to do extra work on a regular basis, but the great part about being your own boss is that you can work as much or as little as you like!
There is always a demand for services, especially at the busy holiday season. Some ideas that you might be able to do a few times to make Christmas present money include:
- house or office cleaning
- occasional babysitting
- tutoring or giving lessons
- painting or doing small odd jobs for others
Spread the word by telling your friends and loved ones. You can often hang flyers in local businesses advertising yourself (so long as you aren’t competing with those companies!).
Doing odd jobs can really accumulate enough money to meet your gift giving goals in a way that doesn’t take up all of your time like a part time or full time job would. And it can be fun to do something out of the ordinary, especially if you know that it’s only for a limited time!
I’d love to hear about the odd jobs you have done to make money! Be sure to share your story below.