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Tag Archive: 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas: Sell Items on Etsy (Day 25)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next two months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest post from Amy of Gabriel’s Good Tidings

Many of us can walk through our homes and find items to sell on Amazon, Ebay, or Craigslist, and we’ve read some excellent posts about how to make extra money from such items. However, if you are creative or have an eye for vintage items, consider selling on Etsy.

What can I sell?

Although I didn’t truly start selling until 2010, I have been a member of the Etsy community since 2006. Etsy requires all items to fall into one of three categories: handmade, vintage, or supplies.

  • Handmade  = obviously any item handmade by you, but it can also include digital items such as printables, website enhancements, etc
  • Vintage = must be at least 20 years old. I’ve had good luck selling vintage clothing, fabric, sewing supplies, and books.
  • Supplies = anything you would use to make something. This includes fabric, paper crafting tools, patterns, beads, etc.

I have successfully sold items in all three of these categories, but primarily focus on the handmade items.

Let’s say you have a creative bone (or two!) in your body. Think about items you’ve made in the past. What have friends requested from you for birthdays, weddings, new babies, or holidays? Are family members asking you to make them a gift instead of purchasing one? Consider making several of these items and listing them on Etsy.

Perhaps you have an eye for vintage items. Maybe you love going to estate sales and finding vintage clothing. By replacing a button or repairing a frayed hem, you could list items on Etsy in the vintage section and see a large return on investment.

When my husband’s great-grandmother passed away, we inherited a house full of vintage goodies. While I kept some sentimental items for our family, many of the items were sold in the vintage section of my Etsy shop.

Or maybe, as you’ve been cleaning your home, you’ve found some crafting supplies that are no longer being used. List them on Etsy and pass them on to someone who will bring new life to the items.

How do I sell?

Once you’ve chosen a product to sell on Etsy, set up a shop. Etsy allows each seller to have their own shop name, which correlates with a web address that allows others to type in the search bar of their browser. For example, my shop name is Gabriel’s Good Tidings, and my Etsy address is gabrielsgoodtidings.etsy.com.

I highly recommended designing or purchasing a logo for your shop as this will help familiarize others with your brand, but it is not mandatory for selling on Etsy. I would also encourage a Facebook page for your Etsy shop, as many of your Facebook friends will be interested to learn about your shop. Having a Facebook page has increased my sales and traffic tremendously. Etsy’s seller handbook and help section are outstanding resources to both the new and experienced seller.

To list an item on Etsy, it will cost $0.20. When the item sells, Etsy will charge 3.5% of the selling price. Payments are accepted by PayPal or by direct checkout (selected shops only). Listing on Etsy is easy and quick — I find it much faster than Ebay.

Photos are essential, and each listing is allowed up to five photos. Quality photos will boost sales quickly, and will likely get your items featured in a Treasury or on Etsy’s home page. Make sure to minimize background items, have good lighting, and portray accurate colors.

In the item description, write freely as if you were in a store, describing this item to someone on the phone. Give as many details as possible. Help buyers understand why this item is useful to them. Share a story behind the item.

4 Tips to Increase Your Sales on Etsy

1. Think Seasonally

Make sure that your shop follows the seasons. Although Etsy purchases can be made worldwide, 90% of my purchases are in the USA. Therefore, my accessories and clothing items follow the North American seasons.

I list leg warmers in August when the weather starts to cool off (in some parts of the country!). I list reusable snack bags in July, when back-to-school season is in full swing. I make sure to always have enough items in October and November for the holidays.

2. Keep Your Store Stocked

The biggest lesson I have learned about Etsy is to keep your store filled. The more items you have, the more you will sell.

I try to keep my shop at 100 items, and when I do, I consistently sell 10 or so items per week. When I let my inventory drop below 50, I see a major drop in sales. When others ask me the secret to selling on Etsy, I respond with this tip: Stock equals sales.

3. Price Your Items Fairly and Competitively

Etsy sellers are growing by the day, so the competition is steep. Make sure your items are not only high quality, accurately described, and include clear photos; but also make your prices reasonable and competitive.

Research similar items and how they are selling. You don’t have to be the cheapest item in a category, but a sale will be more likely if you aren’t the priciest item. Make sure your customers know that they can purchase with confidence from your store because you will provide outstanding customer service and high quality items.

4. Add Personal Touches to Your Packages

When you shop at Target, you expect the cashier to put your items in a white plastic bag. In the same way, shoppers expect a handmade item to be packaged nicely.

I wrap items in glitter tissue paper and include a personal note with each order. I’ll say something like, “Thanks for purchasing this clutch, Suzy. I hope it makes your next evening on the town extra special.” 

I also always include two business cards — one to keep and one to share. Adding these personal touches help customers to connect with your shop, and makes them likely to purchase from you again!

How much will I make?

I can’t say that you will make a full-time income on Etsy, but I can’t say you won’t either. There are certainly sellers who have thousands of sales per year and support their families from Etsy alone.

But for most of us, it’s a nice supplemental income that helps to pay for Christmas or other savings goals. I was recently able to pay cash for a kitchen update thanks in part to my Etsy sales. I have also purchased a new sewing machine from Etsy sales.

While many readers of this blog get a “coupon high” when they see a receipt that shows 75% (or more!) savings, I get an “Etsy high” when my phone makes a “cha-ching” sound and I know that means another Etsy sale!

Between loads of laundry and dirty dishes, Amy can be found at her sewing machine creating items for her Etsy shop. She loves her husband, her two kids, being a nurse, and of course, selling on Etsy. Find her in the blogging world at Gabriel’s Good Tidings, or at her Etsy shop.

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas: Answer Questions Online (Day 24)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next two months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest post from Alaina of Telecommuting Mommies

Are you interested in getting paid to share your knowledge? There are sites that will pay you for your answers to user’s questions. You won’t get rich, but with the holidays right around the corner, you could earn some extra cash by signing up with these sites below.

Who Can Qualify For This?

Anyone can qualify to make money answering questions online — as long as you have a computer, an internet connection, and are at least 18. Some sites only hire within the U.S., others hire in other countries as well. A few of these sites have an application process, while others just ask that you fill out a profile and sign up.

If you are particularly knowledgeable in a subject such as car repairs, some of these sites can help you put that knowledge to work. Other sites don’t require that you be particularly knowledgeable about a subject if you can research it quickly online.

Finding answers to most questions is easy if you know which sources to trust online for reliable information and can then summarize that information quickly  for someone.

How Does This Work?

This varies depending on which site you decide to sign up with. Some sites have users post questions and they are then notified once answers are posted. This means that you can log on, check to see what questions interest you, and decide if you want to answer them.

Other sites such as ChaCha and KGB, where the answers are coming in from text messages, the questions must be answered right away. They do not require you to sign up for shifts, and you can hop on at any time.

What Companies Pay to Answer Questions?

1. Just Answer

This website hires experts in certain areas including law, home improvement, health, tech support and others. Check out the list of categories and see if you are an expert in one of these areas. Then, fill out an application, have your credentials verified, and start getting paid to answer questions.

Questions are not answered in real time but users post a question along with a price they are willing to pay for that answer. Questions may be priced from $5 to around $20. You only get 25% of the price being offered when you first start, but you can move up from there to 50%.

Once your answer is accepted, the money goes in to your account. The minimum payout threshold is $20 and they pay via Paypal.

2. Student of Fortune

This site is a combination of online tutoring and a question/answer site. Users post an academic or technical problem they need help with and how much they are willing to pay for that help. A preview of your tutorial will appear along with your price. When it is chosen, you get paid around 80% of what the user pays.

The downside is that you could write something, not be picked and not make any money. The upside is that once your tutorial us uploaded to the site, they keep it there and will show it for future questions. You have the ability to continue earning for a long time off of one tutorial.

3. ChaCha

ChaCha is a mobile texting service where users can text a question and ChaCha guides answer them (also via text message.) Guides are paid for every answer that is given. If you are 18 or over and eligible to work in the U.S. then you can apply to be a guide.

The pay is very minimal and has dropped significantly since they first started. Some might say it’s not worth the time, but if you are sitting on the couch watching TV and surfing the net, you could a little bit of money by answering a few questions now and then. Answers are given in real time so you have to attempt to find the answer as quickly as possible.

4. WebAnswers

This website is set up a little differently. Anyone can sign up and there is no application process — so you can sign up and start answering questions right away. You must answer 50 questions, however, before you become eligible to start earning anything. After that you are required to sign up for a Google Adsense account.

You can earn money several different ways. When your answer is chosen as the “Best Answer” you start earning advertising royalties on that question/answer thread. WebAnswers is also temporarily running a trial where it pays for you to ask questions as well. Your advertising is also displayed on other pages, not just on your questions and answers, and you earn on that as well.

5. KGB

KGB stands for “knowledge” — and it’s also the number you need to text message your questions to (KGBKGB = 542542). This service is very similar to ChaCha, and is also a two-way mobile texting service where users ask questions and agents provide the answers in real time. They pay $0.10  for each response that you answer and $0.05 for each response that you give where their database automatically populates the answer and you send it along.

You must pass a test to show your abilities to find an answer quickly online. Also, some of the content coming in through the text messages may be crude or inappropriate. Agents are not required to answer these questions but it is something to be aware of.

Have you worked for any of these question/answer sites before? If so, tell us about your experiences!

Alaina shares her twelve years of work-from-home experience at her blog Telecommuting Mommies. She also opens up her personal life as a homeschooling, blogging, work at home Mom of four at The Maestro Mom.

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas: oDesk (Day 22)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next two months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest post from Sara of Omaha Moms

As a single parent and work-from-home mom, I can definitely attest to the benefits of working freelance with outsourcing sites such as oDesk. When I first had my daughter and my then-husband and I were trying to work out finances after our business collapsed, I stumbled across several freelancing sites such as eLance.com, Guru.com, and oDesk.com.

After creating profiles on each, I snagged my first job on oDesk within 24 hours, and have never looked back!

What is oDesk?

oDesk is a site that allows companies and individuals to post a job listing for something that can be done through telecommuting. It could be the development of an iPhone app, a request for blog postings, or a desire to have someone transcribe a few audio files.

Then, contractors (the individuals wanting to work) are able to apply for these positions, interview for them, and complete them if hired for an agreed-upon amount of money. Some jobs are fixed price, while others are hourly.

oDesk gets a cut of the pay as their commission, and both contractor and employer have the ability to leave feedback — similar to that of eBay’s feedback system.

How can I get started with oDesk?

The key to getting started working on oDesk is to have a complete and enticing profile. When you’re just getting started, be sure to complete all of the information on your profile. Add an appropriate photo of yourself, fill out your employment history and work background, and upload a few samples of your past work.

There are so many avenues on oDesk that you can take. You can be a writer, a programmer, a desktop publisher, a graphic designer, or even voice talent. Providing samples of your work can give future employers a chance to view your work and determine if you have the abilities to handle their project or not. No one will want to hire someone that touts their amazing writing abilities but doesn’t have a single piece of work to prove it!

It is also a good idea to take several of their tests. These tests are taken online in your free time and can help qualify you for certain positions. They can also show future employers your abilities in a more “verified” way.

How much can I make with oDesk?

The possibilities with oDesk are unlimited. However, if you really want to be a top earner on oDesk, you have to start small. So many newcomers to oDesk flood the site forums with questions such as, “Why am I not getting hired?” These individuals oftentimes have incomplete profiles, no resumes or samples, and are attempting to earn $20 an hour.

The key to getting your first job is to be realistic. Until you have developed positive rapport with a few employers on oDesk, you won’t have any feedback to fall back on. And in order to justify having the rate of $20 an hour, you need to have the positive feedback and work history to prove you’re worth it.

When you’re first starting out with oDesk, pick up a few smaller, lower priced jobs to get started. Pick a job that will take you just an hour or two to complete, something that you can turn around on the same day. Also, understand that you are competing against those who work overseas and will often be hired for much less than the average American.

Know that you will be working for less than minimum wage on your first few projects. However, if you step up to the plate and provide quality work from the very beginning, you will quickly be able to readjust your contracting wage after just a few jobs.

When I first got started, I was doing audio files for about $4 an hour. My employer was impressed with my work, left extremely positive feedback, and I was snagging better paying jobs soon after that.

Can I do this full-time?

There is the potential to make full-time income. When you start earning that positive feedback and working your way up the income ladder, you will find that you will do less job searching on oDesk. Instead of finding jobs that you are interested in doing, you will find that employers will be inviting you to their job postings instead.

You may begin to notice a steady increase in employment opportunities without even searching the job listings regularly. This is because, once you really get going, your profile, resume, and feedback will begin to speak for itself, and assist you in standing out from the crowd. You may be content working for hire for companies that need short-term projects completed, while you may also find a steady source of income through just one employer on oDesk.

With oDesk, the possibilities are endless. I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to freelance and work from home, which has allowed me the opportunity to make my own schedule in order to spend as much time as possible with my daughter.

It can be an amazing chance for stay-at-home moms and other parents to supplement their family income–or make it the only source of income for their household! I definitely suggest taking a peek at what oDesk has to offer, and encourage you to take the plunge!

Sara Haley is a freelance writer and desktop publisher who works from home with her four-year-old daughter, April. As a single mom providing the sole income for her household, she has found that freelancing online through sites such as oDesk.com gives her the ability to provide for herself and her daughter while being an active participant in her child’s life. Sara is the manager and writer for Omaha Moms and Happy Apping.

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas: Usability Testing for Websites (Day 21)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next three months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest post from Anna of Real Ways to Earn Money Online

If you are interested in earning some extra cash from home, you might consider getting involved with website usability testing. This type of work typically involves the use of a microphone and/or a webcam depending on the company you do it for.

Companies are willing to pay good money to have their websites tested by people like you and me to better understand what improvements could be made.

The wonderful thing about usability testing, besides the fact you can do it remotely from home, is that the pay is usually very generous for the time spent. Most usability tests take no more than 15 to 20 minutes to complete and you will typically be paid anywhere from $8 to $14 per test. The rate of course will vary depending on the company. Most usability testing sites pay within a few days or sooner after each test is completed.

Can you depend on usability testing to pay all of your bills? The short answer is no. Most of the tests will come to you via email and are on a first come, first serve basis — so you have to be quick to grab the tests before someone else does. This is why testing websites is usually no more than extra money for most people.

If testing websites sounds intriguing to you, here is a list of several companies that are often recruiting for testers:

TryMyUI – This company pays $10 per test completed with each test taking around 10 minutes to do.

User Testing – You can earn $10 per test at User Testing, paid via Paypal.

Userlytics – Userlytics will pay you $10 per test. For this site you will need both a webcam and microphone.

What Users Do – This company pays $8 per test, but they are are open worldwide (many of these companies are only open to the US).

YouEye – YouEye pays $12 per test paid via Paypal. You’ll need both a webcam and a microphone to complete the tests.

Even though the work is on a first come, first serve basis, your chances of continually earning extra money through website testing will increase if you are registered with more than one company.

The more companies you’re involved with, the more invitations you should receive!

Anna researches various online money-earning opportunities and work at home jobs. Her findings are published via her website, Real Ways to Earn Money Online.

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas: Pet-Sitting (Day 20)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next two months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest post by Debby from Nutrition Concepts

A while back, I realized that many pet owners wanted at-home care for their pets instead of boarding them when they were on vacation or just gone at work all day long. And since I’m a huge animal lover, I started a pet sitting business in my community about 3 years ago — and it turned into a great way to make extra money!

I’m a dog owner and lover, so I mostly focused on catering to dog owners, but I also have a few cat owners as clients now. I give my clients the option of bringing their pet(s) to me or having me come into their home one to three times per day.

3 Things To Consider Before Setting Up a Pet-Sitting Business

1. Setting Rates

  • In deciding how I would set my rates, I surveyed what local boarding facilities were charging. (I looked at Petsmart, Petshotel, and a few other local kennels/boarding facilities).
  • Based on their rates, I decided on the following: $25 a day for one dog and $35 a day for two dogs (3 visits a day), $10 for a single visit and $15 a day for cats (single visit).

2. Creating Business Materials

  • I made my own Pet Sitting Business Cards using Avery business card stock. It cost me about $10 to buy the business card stock but you could also make up your own using regular 8 ½ x 11″ paper or card stock and cut them up to business card size.
  • I created a Pet Sitting Information Sheet to keep track of all of the information I need while caring for my clients’ pet. This makes it easy to know exactly how the client wants their pet fed, walked, etc.

3. Advertising

  • We have a community/HOA website that I advertised on at first, but all of my clients now come from word-of-mouth referrals.
  • I also keep business cards in my purse or pocket to hand out to people I meet when I’m out and about and also when I’m out walking my dog in the morning and evening.

Prospective Client Playdate

When I have a new/prospective client who wants their dog to stay at my house, I have them come over for a play date and complete the Pet Information Sheet. I’ve learned to ask good questions during the play date visit to find out what the animal’s behaviors and habits are really like. As with all relationships, communication and being clear about expectations will make it a good experience for both parties.

Keys to Success

The key to success in this business (and many other businesses) is great customer service – I regularly stay in contact with my clients to let them know how their pet is doing, and I send notes to new clients to thank them for their business.

Another key is to find clients as close to your home as possible so you don’t have to spend a lot of gas money driving to home visits.

Pet sitting is a great way to make a nice extra income. Plus, if you’re an animal lover, it’s also a lot of fun!

Debby is an ex-corporate executive turned small business owner and nutrition educator who has a passion for life and helping others. She writes about raising healthy children and eating healthfully on a budget at her site, Nutrition Concepts. You can also find her at her Facebook Page, Nutrition Concepts, Inc.

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas: Mom’s Mornings Out Services (Day 19)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next three months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest post from Lindsey of Faithful Homemaking

When I was trying to earn money to buy a DSLR camera, I came up with the idea of hosting a “home preschool” once a week so my friends could get a break from their kids. I feel that most of the moms I know are over-worked and under-paid and could use a morning off!

This option has a dual-purpose of earning some extra cash and blessing your friends at the same time. An added bonus is that you don’t have to leave your kids or your own home to do it!

I chose Friday mornings as the mornings I’d offer Mom’s Morning Out to other moms. This is what worked best for the friends I was marketing my services to. I just committed to do it for four weeks, since I was only aiming to earn enough for a short-term goal of buying a DSLR camera.

Fridays may work for you, or, with the holidays coming, there are other times that would be prime options for a kid’s group. Such as offering to:

  • Watch children on Black Friday so their moms can shop?
  • Watch children the day or two before Thanksgiving Day while many moms are cooking up a storm?
  • Host a Christmas-ornament-making party for kids on a Saturday in December so parents can wrap gifts at home?
  • Offer to care for several kids every other Friday night so all your friends can go out for Date Night with their spouse?

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in trying, here are some things you’ll want to decide upfront:

How many children will you accept?

First, decide how many kids you can handle without going crazy. My limit was 8.

If you want to partner with another mom or two and invite more kids, go for it! I typed up a flier explaining to my friends what I would be doing and said that only the first 8 kids to sign up for each session could come.

Some kids were able to come to all 4 playgroups and some were only able to come to 1 or 2.

How long will each session last?

Decide on a time limit that works for your schedule. I recommend between 2 and 4 hours for a Mom’s Morning Out.

If you are doing a special event, like watching a bunch of kids on Black Friday, it could be an all-day thing; just don’t wear yourself out!

What ages will you accept?

You can choose to offer your services to kids of all ages but it won’t be as successful if you have babies in the mix. If the kids are similar ages it will be easier to get them interested in the games and activities you have planned.

I catered my playgroup sessions towards preschoolers.

What will you do?

I chose four themes, one for each Friday, to make up a month’s worth of Mom’s Mornings Out. Some theme ideas that are always a big hit with the kids are: dinosaurs, baking, race cars, princesses, nature, books/reading, the solar system, cowboys and cowgirls, helping the needy, etc.

If you are doing one in the pre-Christmas season you may want to do a different Christmas craft with the kids each time. During one play session, I had the kids help me package hats and gloves for a shelter and make Christmas cards for the homeless.

Once you have your theme idea, begin to build on it. Choose a healthy and inexpensive snack that fits your theme. Find books at the library on the topic. Find a Bible lesson or character lesson that would go well with your theme. Plan a game or two.

It’s very important to plan ahead so you have lots of fun things to occupy the little ones. In addition, give the kids plenty of free-play time as well where they can play with blocks, legos, dress-ups, dolls, cars and one another.

What will you charge?

First of all, it’s probably best to go with a suggested donation instead of a fee, due to different laws regarding daycare regulations and childcare licensing. Bartering is a great way to go, too!

Do your friends have a skill that you need? Maybe one friend could take your Christmas photos for you, one could cut your hair, one could crochet some hats for you to give as gifts, or one could bake you some holiday goodies which you can share with your neighbors.

If you’d prefer getting money, ask around to see what the local daycares and preschools are charging per child per hour. Adjust your suggested donation for doing playgroups depending on what the parents can afford. Remember to add in the cost of craft supplies and snacks, too.

I did my Mom’s Morning Out playgroup for just one month (four Fridays total) and was able to earn around $150 towards my camera for about 15 hours of work (charging a fairly low rate to bless my friends). My kids and their friends had a lot of fun and my friends got a little time to themselves!

If one of my friends offered this service to me, I would definitely sign up at least one of my children for this!

Lindsey blogs at Faithful Homemaking. She loves planning theme birthday parties for her two girls and two boys that have included: ballerinas, tea parties, teddy bear picnics, cowboys, cowgirls, a wet n’ wild water party, monster trucks, motorcycles, and ponies.