Christmas side hustles: popular ways to make a few extra rands over the silly season

Petsitting while you housesit is a great way to make extra money
Petsitting while you housesit is a great way to make extra money

Additionally, we have an influx of tourists with money to spend, and holiday makers looking for a good time, so why not take advantage of this opportunity to bump up your bank account?

Just be aware that you’re not the only one looking for a simple way to pad your income right now, so research and confirm that all job offers are legit first. One big red flag is if a potential job asks for money up front, and another is if they ask you to fax your details to an 0800 number. 

READ MORE: Visit these markets during the festive season

Rather apply to well known organisations, and do some online research before you start spending your potential earnings. 

House sitting: R250 per day 

Many people leave home for the holidays, visiting far flung family or heading for the coast, but they still want their homes to be cared for while they’re gone. This is where house sitters come in. 

To successfully apply for a house sitter position at any of the several websites that offer this service nationally, you must be must be over 22 or 23 years old, be a non-smoker and have your own transport and valid driver’s license. 

You’ll need to get yourself a police clearance certificate too, and an in-person interview is usually conducted before you’ll be assigned an official position. It helps if you are available to house sit through December and into January, or if you can work remotely, using your own device and internet connection. 

During peak season, a house sitter can earn as much as R370 a night, but even outside of the holidays, you could earn around R210 a night. 

READ MORE: "I'm a second year student going home this Christmas 5 months pregnant and I haven't told my parents yet, help!"

Seasonal sales assistant / Christmas contractor: upwards of R17 per hour 

Many local retailers look for young, energetic sale assistants to join them over the holidays, as shoppers flock to the malls for Christmas deals. These temporary positions are common between mid-November and mid-January 2019 and anyone willing to work on the public holidays, like Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, will be in demand. 

You’ll need to be a people person, and ideally have some retail experience but training is often provided.

Rates can differ, but are generally much higher for Sundays and public holidays, and sometimes retailers offer employee discounts on products, making this quite an attractive option for those who enjoy meeting new people and helping others to shop. 

Retailers advertise on online job portals, instore and on their own websites. Pandora, Cotton On and Edgars are just some of the retailers that are hiring now, so tidy up your CV and go get hired for the holidays. 

READ MORE: 5 things to do on Christmas day if you’re spending it alone

Dog walking /Pet sitting: R250 per day

If you’re an animal person, then this is the job for you. Successful pet sitters are those who volunteer at animal shelters, have good general knowledge of pet care and first aid, and can be trusted to treat the pets as if they were their own. 

The job is not unlike house sitting, in that you are responsible for the client’s home while they are away, but this comes with the added responsibility of caring for their pets too. Pets are not limited to cats and dogs, but include tropical fish, rodents and reptiles, so be prepared for anything.  

Browse for reputable pet sitting sites in your area and apply online.

There is usually an interview and accreditation process that must be completed before you’ll be accepted as a sitter. You’ll need to have proven record of experience with pets and housesitting, and a clean criminal record. You may also be asked to interview with the pet and home owners before being assigned the job.

Earnings vary, with average rates around R99 for a short dog walking session and as much as R330 for one night of pet sitting that falls on a public holiday. 

Babysitting: From R60 per hour 

Looking after children is a little more intense than watching homes or pets, but for those who love kids it’s an easy way to make some extra cash.

The December holidays are long and parents often still have to work, as well as attend Christmas functions and events that do not welcome children. 

You could advertise your services privately, but it’s better to join a respected babysitting company, as you’ll be guided in all the right legalities such as First Aid certificates and police clearances, and you’ll have trusted backing to get you dependable jobs.

Besides First Aid, and a police clearance, you’ll need some child care experience and good references, as well as your own transport and a valid drivers license. 

Rates start from around R60 an hour, but can go much higher, especially over public holidays and can also be based on your experience. 

READ MORE: 4 ways to make the most of your bonus money

Mystery shopping: R70 per hour 

If you like the idea of being a secret agent, then you’ll love this job. As a mystery shopper you’ll be tasked with a specific goal, provided with all the tools and sent into the field to gather information. 

You’ll also have to complete surveys, and be able to provide clear, relevant feedback according to the survey’s requirements, while following instructions provided. 

If you’re already planning to spend a lot of time out and about, in the mall and shopping, then you can make extra income by providing brands with feedback on their products, promotions and customer service at the same time. 

Look for local companies offering customer experience consultancy and consumer insight research reports, they most often hire mystery shoppers. While some pay per hour, others don’t offer payment as such, and instead provide access and money to certain experiences.

There is generally a budget and once you have completed the task you are reimbursed, which means you enjoy a day of shopping, a meal in a restaurant or a tourist experience at no cost. 

Use your own skills: Priceless

If all these sound too time consuming for you, then consider offering to use your existing skills by providing a service that people need. 

If you’re an accountant, offer to help a freelancing friend with their tax return, if you’re a writer then proofread a student friend’s thesis, if you’re in management suggest helping that uncle to write up a business plan. 

Whatever you choose, we wish you a lucrative festive season! 

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