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Earn Extra Holiday Money with a Seasonal Side Hustle

There's a chill in the air, festive music on the radio, cheerful lights and decorations everywhere you look. That can only mean one thing…the holidays are here!

This time of year is full of excitement, but it can also come with extra expenses. If you're looking for a way to boost your income this holiday season, a seasonal side hustle could be a great way to earn some spare money in your free time.  

Are you ready to “hustle" your way through the holiday season? Here are a few things to consider before starting a seasonal side gig:

Choose something you like to do

There are tons of ways to earn money outside of your primary job. You could drive for a ridesharing service, deliver food or groceries, sell handmade crafts online, walk dogs, pet sit (or house sit) or even shovel snow during the winter months! Try to pick a side hustle that matches your interests and skills. When you look forward to your side job, it won't feel like work at all! 

Keep track of new expenses

A side hustle can help you earn extra income, but there might be unexpected costs involved. For example, if you're making handmade crafts, you'll need to account for supplies, packaging materials, label printing and shipping costs. That's in addition to the time it takes you to communicate with customers and make your products! If you drive for a rideshare company or deliver food or groceries, you'll have to factor in the extra gas and wear and tear on your car.

Be sure you're keeping track of all your business expenses and including them in your budget. Check out Wright-Patt Credit Union's (WPCU) free budgeting worksheets and spreadsheets to help you get started. 

Save money for taxes

When you have a side hustle, you still need to pay attention to taxes. If you don't, you could be surprised by a big tax bill when you file your return! Talk to a tax professional to make a plan based on your earnings. Depending on your situation, it may be a smart idea to start setting aside money for state and federal taxes in a separate savings account. By saving early and keeping good records of your earnings and business expenses, you can be prepared by the time tax season rolls around. 

Steer clear of scams

While many side gigs are legitimate, beware of sneaky scams targeting job-seekers online. Especially during the holidays, scammers will use fake or untruthful job postings to trick people out of their hard-earned money or personal and financial information. Help protect your hard-earned money and watch out for these red flags:

    • Poor spelling and grammar. Look for errors and unusual sentence structure in the job posting.
    • Job offers from strangers. If you haven't applied for the job or interviewed, it's probably a scam.
    • Opportunities that promise you'll “get rich quick" for little to no effort. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
    • Jobs that require you to pay upfront for supplies or training. You should be getting paid for your work, not the other way around!
    • Employers who ask you to deposit money into your personal checking account and transfer it to someone else. This is called a “money mule" scam because it involves moving and hiding stolen funds. If you participate, you could get into serious trouble.

Before putting your time and effort into a new side hustle, carefully research the options to find the right fit. Happy hustling! 

Are you looking for more money-saving tips, tools and resources? Explore our online Education Center for helpful worksheets, videos and short, interactive learning modules on a variety of financial education topics.