If you’re struggling to afford a plane ticket home for the holidays, a side hustle may be a great strategy. Check out side hustle ideas from blogger Shannon McNay and head home without taking on debt.
A few years ago, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of moving from my hometown in Ohio to New York City. While I loved my new life, there were times when I missed the familiar (and especially during the holidays).
My first Thanksgiving away is one I’ll never forget. I was too broke to buy a plane ticket home, so I ended up eating ramen and watching terrible chick flicks while my roommates were out. (At least I had control of the remote, for once.) Luckily, one of them snagged some extra turkey and pie for me to eat the next day, but suffice it to say going home would have been a lot better.
If this scenario sounds like one that could end up happening to you this year, you can avoid the same ramen and self-pity-filled night that I had.
Here are a few ways to earn some extra money in a hurry so you can buy that plane ticket home for your favorite holiday.
Petsit, Babysit, or Housesit
Since everyone’s busy, I’m all about finding ways to get paid extra for what I either like to do or what I would have had to do already. For me, that could mean petsitting, babysitting, or housesitting.
Sound like something you might enjoy? Check out sites like Care.com to look for clients or reach out to your personal network and see if anyone you know needs help. On the flip side, you could also use Airbnb to rent out your house or apartment. While this requires having a subletter-friendly lease and a place to go if someone comes to stay, it could also net the cost of one plane ticket in just one weekend. Not a bad turnaround!
Find a Way to Work for Tips
All through college, I worked for tips as a server. It was the best job for me at the time because I was able to earn more per hour on average than most part-time jobs. Later in life, I had friends who used this same skill to become baristas and bartenders on the side of their regular 9-to-5 jobs.
If you have the same stable schedule during the day and like to work with people, then this is a really great way to earn some extra money. Plus, that type of business picks up this time of year while a lot of people request off—thus increasing your odds of securing part-time work (even if you don’t plan on keeping the job after the holidays).
I make my living as a freelance writer now—but I wish I’d explored other freelance options when I was younger.
Even though freelance work used to be mainly for creatives, it’s not anymore. No matter what you do, there’s a good chance you have some sort of skill or knowledge that other people need. It can be as simple as resume or cover letter editing, interview prepping, or career coaching in your specific line of work. You managed to get this far—you can help others do the same!
Looking back at my 20s, I wish I had spent less time brunching and more time exploring options like these. It would have helped me earn more for flights home and pay off my credit card and student loan debt much faster. Luckily for me (and for all of us), it’s better late than never!
Shannon McNay loves to talk about the emotional side of personal finance. Her work has been published in Business Insider, DailyWorth, Huffington Post, Lifehacker, ReadyForZero, Yahoo! Finance, and more. You can follow her on Twitter.
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