Looking for a few good side hustles to pay off holiday debt? If you’re like most Americans, that’s no easy task. The average person ran up $1,325 in debt this holiday season, up 8% from this time last year, according to a survey by MagnifyMoney.

On the bright side, if you can devote a few hours a week to a side hustle, you can pay off that debt in a few months and, possibly, set up a savings account to handle next-year’s holiday spending. What are the best side hustles to pay off holiday debt?

Wedding planning

About 40 percent of all engagements occur during the two-month period that starts on Christmas Eve and goes until Valentine’s Day. That leaves a lot of prospective brides wondering what to do next. If you have the skills to step in as a wedding planner, you could pay off holiday debt with just one wedding. (The average full-service wedding planner charges more than $3,200 per wedding, according to The Wedding Planner’s Handbook.)

There is no formal training required to be a wedding planner. However, it helps to be organized, businesslike and artistic. Having experience planning weddings — your own or someone else’s — is also advisable.

Wedding planners earn between $25 and $150 per hour, when they charge by the hour. But some seasoned planners charge a flat rate or a percentage of the total wedding budget. Your approach should depend on your experience and the services you offer.

Although sites like WeddingWire and TheKnot can be used to advertise wedding services, their advertising rates are high and the benefit for new planners is likely to be modest. (There’s simply too much competition from people with years of experience and reams of positive reviews.) However, friend-and-family referrals on Facebook, Instagram and Nextdoor are inexpensive and effective.

Virtual assisting

If you’ve never planned a wedding, but are great a keeping trains running on time, you may want to offer yourself out as a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants do everything from scheduling meetings and executive travel to managing social media accounts. They are likely to be in high demand in January and February when many executives are trying to catch up after the holidays, and get budgets and planning set for the new year.

Virtual assistants charge between $15 and $100 per hour, depending on the complexity of services and level of experience.

There are numerous websites that specialize in connecting virtual assistants with the clients who need them. Some of the better sites include BelayBoldly and Time Etc. For more on what this job entails and how to market yourself as a VA, see our blog post: Virtual Assistant, a vague title for a high-paying, work-at-home job.

Valentine meals

Romantics everywhere start searching for unique Valentine’s Day ideas at this time of year. If you a good cook and like to entertain, a number of sites will help you advertise your availability to host.

Among the best of these is EatWith, an international site that offers dinners with local hosts all over the world. Hosts determine the menu, schedule and price. EatWith adds a 13% service fee for the site’s services. However, to qualify as an EatWith host, you will need to get a food-handler’s license and be willing to have your kitchen inspected for cleanliness and whether it’s an appropriate venue.

Another option for great cooks is to host an event or cooking class through CozyMeal. This site connects chefs with corporate customers wishing to host events and with people who want to attend cooking classes. Like the chefs who work with EatWith, you set up the menu, schedule and price. CozyMeal takes a portion of the proceeds to market your events.

Sell excess stuff

Of course another great way to pay off holiday debt is to simply sell the many things that you have in your house that you no longer use. Whether it’s nice clothing, lightly-used books, sporting goods or furniture, there’s a good chance that someone else would be willing to pay for your used items that are in good condition. The challenge is figuring out which website might attract the best buyer.

Some suggestions:

If you’re selling designer clothing or shoes, consider Amazon or Poshmark.

Those getting rid of valuable sporting equipment, your best bets are likely to be eBay, GearTrade or SidelineSwap.

For formal clothing and/or wedding wear, consider selling it via PreOwnedWeddingDresses, StillWhite or OnceWed.

Furniture and more heavily-used items (that were never expensive) are best sold through free sites like CraigsList or OfferUp.

The best site to sell used cell phones and nice electronics is Swappa, if you’re willing to negotiate with buyers yourself. Otherwise, consider ItsWorthMore and TheWhizCells.

For expensive designer furniture, heavy equipment and tools, we’d recommend eBay.

Updated 2/21/2023

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