6 ways to make and save money after the holidays
FARGO — When the holidays finally come to an end, many are left with new treasures, full bellies and, unfortunately, debt that reflects the exciting holiday season had by all.
Often people either don't save for the season or overspend their budgets, leaving their bank accounts to suffer come Jan. 1.
"A lot of it is the pressure of our surroundings and the culture that we live in," says Joe Larson, a financial advisor at Waddell & Reed in Fargo. "For a lot of families, they really get wrapped up in the seasonal trends. There's a lot of expectations out there that you have to have the tree filled with gifts."
Many families attend special events or agree to experiences they typically wouldn't because the holiday only happens once a year. They can justify it in the moment, only to suffer with the consequences later.
"I have a lot of experience, unfortunately, with the mindset of 'spend now, deal with it later,' " Larson says.
Still others overcompensate because they missed out on similar experiences as a child and want their children to have a more full-fledged holiday experience.
And sometimes, giving just feels good.
"It's one thing to feel good from giving when we have the money versus when you're giving with credit card money and realizing you have to pay for it later," Larson says. "Unfortunately, in our society, a lot of people have become accustomed to carrying debt and living with that stress. But until that great desire and that hatred for debt is there, typically people aren't going to take those next steps to be creative. It's just a coping mechanism to get to the next purchase in most cases."
For those feeling regret about money spent during the holiday season, here are six money-making ideas to help you get back on the right foot for the new year.
Sell clothing and crafts
In addition to local secondhand stores, several social media sites, including Facebook, have created groups where locals can buy, sell and swap items online.
Other apps, like Poshmark.com, are also dedicated to secondhand sales where users can easily list and sell their clothing.
"There's a lot of people that have found great success and pleasure in downsizing in a lifetime of accumulating," Larson says.
Drive for Uber
Uber — a location-based app that allows users to request rides — officially made its mark in the Fargo-Moorhead area in May 2015.
Drivers are able to set their hours and work as little or as much as they'd like, making $19 per hour, on average.
Visit Uber.com to learn about the qualifications of being a driver.
Some of the latest buzz comes from a site called Fiverr, which launched in 2010. The site allows users to buy and sell services — transforming freelance into e-lance — starting at just $5.
Fiverr provides an outlet for endless services, including graphic design, online marketing, writing and translation, video and animation, music and audio, programming and tech, advertising, business and more.
Both Biolife Plasma Services and Talecris Plasma Resources offer new donor incentives and referral bo
nuses. Typically, the compensation is between $20 to $50 per donation, depending on demand. Seasonal bonuses are also awarded based on the number of donations given over a set period of time.
Larson says some people find it helpful to donate throughout the year, letting the money accumulate on their card to use for the holidays, trips or other large expenses.
Participate in a research study
The Fargo-Moorhead area is home to three research centers: Novum, Axis Clinicals and Algorithme Pharma Participants — all which offer compensation for participation in their studies.
Studies last anywhere from one day to several sessions and pay from $300 to nearly $2500.
Larson says sometimes part of the equation involves planning for next year.
"To simply go and pay off bills is great — and we encourage you to do that," he says. "But moreover, it's about sitting down and coming up with a realistic budget to say not only do I want to pay off my debt, but I also want to establish a workable savings account for next year."
People should challenge themselves to determine the highest dollar amount they can save per month.
"It should be a little bit painful, but it'll force you to live within your budget," Larson says.
Several bigger banks, including Chase and Citibank, offer incentives up to $350 to open checking or savings accounts.
Larson suggests opening a savings account at a different bank across town — one that's harder to access. From there, people can auto-draft a set amount of money from their paycheck to that savings account.
"It's an account that if you needed it, it's there, but it takes a lot of work to get at it," Larson says. "Some people find success in putting up safety measures for themselves."
Unfortunately, overspending or failing to save for the holiday season is common for most of society — no matter how much money they make. Larson says the real problem lies in the meaning of the holiday season.
"We've lost that sense of that family atmosphere of giving a few gifts and being excited to be with each other," he says. "It's now become this war of who can get the most."
But for those willing to change their ways, it's possible to save and buy gifts for the holidays without carrying that debt into the new year.
"It can be done," he says. "And it starts with the mindset."