It’s easy to overspend in December — you have to buy presents, holiday meal ingredients, and decorations… not to mention shelling out for exorbitant travel expenses, if you’re not hosting a celebration in your own home this year. Come January, we’re betting a few extra dollars to help you pay off holiday expenses would come in handy. So, if you’re looking for some quick and easy ways to score post-holiday cash, look no further than these tips.
Redeem rewards points.
If you’re like most of us and used credit cards over the holidays, chances are, you’ve accumulated lots of rewards points. That’s good news for you since many credit card issuers (including Capital One and U.S. Bank) offer you the option of converting the points into cash, either in the form of a check or via direct deposit to your bank account. Simply go online or into your card’s app to redeem them. Have a cash-back app or browser plug-in (such as Bing Shopping or PayPal Honey) that you used during the holidays? You’ve likely got a rebate waiting for you there too! Just log in to your account and check your balance, then request your cash back, which you can usually get via check or a free transfer to your bank or PayPal account.
Sell your boxes.
Sure, you already know to sell unwanted gifts at consignment stores or on resale sites like eBay.com and OfferUp.com. But a surprise holiday leftover that can earn you cash right away? Boxes! A shortage in paper and cardboard has led to higher prices for moving boxes, which means folks in your area who are packing up to head to a new home are willing to pay for used boxes to save cash. You can get as much as $10 to $50 for a batch of sturdy shipping boxes, depending on the number and size. Got a flat-screen TV, air fryer or laptop as a gift? The unique-sized boxes they come in sell at retailers for as much as $45 each, which means you can earn about $20 to $35 per box when listing them on BoxCycle.com, Facebook.com/marketplace or Nextdoor.com. Received specialty gift boxes, such as a ring box, for the holidays? Gift-givers want to buy them for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions, so list those too.
Trade in gift cards.
A new survey from CreditCards.com found that nearly half of us have unused gift cards for stores and restaurants we don’t plan to visit, totaling an average of $175. If this includes you, there’s an easy way to transform unwanted gift cards into cash without putting yourself at risk of fraud, which can happen when selling them online: Visit in-person retailers who’ll give you money on the spot! You’ll typically be offered 70 percent to 85 percent of your card’s value. In most cases, the gift card can even be partially used. To find gift card–buying locations, visit GiftCardBin.com/store_location.php, your local supermarket’s customer service desk, or check-cashing stores.
Fill an empty basement.
Now that folks have a whole bunch of new items from the holidays, many are looking for storage units to hold their old stuff. Unfortunately, the recent high demand has led to a surge in prices — each unit costing around $200 to $500 a month to rent. This is where you come in! If you’ve got an empty closet, spare room, garage, shed, or other space that would fit someone’s belongings, you could earn a monthly income by renting it out. Simply list your available space on peer-to-peer storage rental sites, like Neighbor.com (which deducts 4.9 percent plus a 30-cent processing fee to each monthly payout) and StoreAtMyHouse.com (free to post and rent). You’ll get contacted by renters who want to pay for your space.
Still have the receipt for a gift you didn’t end up giving or for a present you received but can’t use? One reason to take it back to the store ASAP: The longer you wait to return a gift, the less likely you probably are to bring it back, because it becomes easy to forget or misplace it before the return window expires. Another reason? Thanks to deep post-holiday discounts, the refund you get from one item likely means you can buy two or more in its place!
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.