By Cassie Fairy from My Thrifty Life by Cassie Fairy

Lead Photo by Andy Greenacre

It always feels a bit ‘too soon’ to think about Christmas in September, doesn’t it? But this is the perfect time to start thinking about the festive season. Starting to prepare right now allows you to plan your budget, spread the cost, and save money in advance. And finding extra money to save for the big day is exactly what we’re going to explore today. Here’s how to make some additional cash between now and Christmas so that you’re not caught short by December…

Sell excess stuff

Once all the Christmas gifts have been unwrapped on December 25th, you just know that your home will be over-flowing with stuff. So why not make room for the new by clearing out the old? Have a look around your home and gather together any items that you haven’t used over the past year. Things like board games, out-grown toys, upgraded tech, unworn clothing. These will probably the easiest to part with because if you haven’t used them this year, you probably won’t use them next year either! 

Once you’ve identified some belongings to declutter, you can advertise them for sale to make some extra cash for Christmas. Either take advantage of free listings on eBay to reach a nation-wide audience, or place adverts on Facebook marketplace or your local selling pages to attract buyers nearby. Gumtree and Preloved are good options for selling larger items in-person, such as furniture, appliances and garden tools. 

That nearly-new game your children no longer play with could be exactly the kind of gift someone else is looking to buy for their youngsters for Christmas. It’s a win-win! Just remember that every single pound you earn from selling your existing belongings now should go straight into your festive savings fund.

Share a skill

No matter what skills you have, they will be of value to someone else who may be willing to pay you for your time and expertise. If you’re an excellent cook why not teach cookery classes online via Zoom? Or if you’re fluent in a second language you could become a tutor for students. Just figure out what you can teach and do it in your spare time at the weekends or in the evenings so make extra income that you can save for Christmas. 

There are formal marketplaces such as Udemy where you can upload video classes, but these may take a while before you earn any royalties. However, you can drum up some interest in your virtual class through your own friendship group online. Ask your Facebook friends to share details of your Zoom lesson with their friends and hopefully you’ll get a group of people together who are happy to pay you via PayPal for your tuition. Likewise, you can offer one-to-one sessions if people need focussed coaching on a specific skill, such as learning to knit or building a website for their business. Whatever skills you have, there’ll be a way to make money from it by teaching others.

Or if you’re fluent in a second language you could become a tutor for students on reputable tutoring platforms like Wyzant, Preply English Tutors, or Chegg. Just figure out what you can teach and do it in your spare time at the weekends or in the evenings so make extra income that you can save for Christmas.

Cash-in unused items 

While this option is similar to selling your stuff, it’s a quick and easy way to get money for your books, music, DVDs and more, without having to package and post every single item to different buyers. You could use an app like WeBuyBooks.co.uk or Ziffit.com to sell books that you’ve only read once but are still in good condition. You simply enter the ISBN and are offered a price for the book. If you accept the value, it gets added to the parcel with all the other books you’re selling and is posted for free via a courier service. Newer releases will fetch higher cash-in prices so if you’ve bought and read new titles throughout the year, you can clear some space on your bookshelves, ready for all the new books that your family will be buying you for Christmas. 

Likewise, you can use similar selling services likes MusicMagpie to bulk-sell your DVDs, music and computer games. If you would prefer to cash-in your items in-person, you can take them to your local Cash Converters or CeX store. The process of trading in with CeX can be started online using their ‘Drop & Go’ service, to make it quick and easy to hand over your items in-store. You can choose between receiving a payment into your bank account or a gift voucher to spend on presents for the family.

Once you’ve made some extra month over the coming months, be sure to put every penny into your savings pot. That way, you’ll be able to crack open your piggy bank or look in your festive savings account in December and see just how much you’ve managed to accumulate for Christmas. Then you can enjoy buying lovely food, longed-for gifts and pretty decorations without worrying about busting your budget.