Five side jobs that can erase your holiday-season debt

Dollar bills
If you went into debt for holiday gifts, consider these side jobs that are in high demand.
(John Lund / Getty Images)

The world has been popping champagne to celebrate the end of 2020, but the specter of COVID-19 isn’t the only hangover that has carried into the new year. Roughly one-third of Americans borrowed to buy things this holiday season, leaving them with an average of $1,381 in debt, according to a survey by MagnifyMoney.

Want to get rid of that bit of 2020’s economic pain?

There are hundreds of side hustles that could relieve a debt hangover, but we’ve chosen a few that are in high demand and present relatively little risk. Most pay upward of $15 per hour.


Whether you’re skilled in music, art or academics, you can earn good money tutoring.

Online tutoring platforms have been going gangbusters throughout the pandemic and are likely to remain popular through 2021. That’s partly because distance learning has been a challenge for many students. Tutors are desperately needed to help those kids catch up.


Where can you sign up to be a tutor? There are plenty of choices.

Wyzant encourages tutors in any topic to sign up and set their own rates. The site takes a 25% commission on each booking. Varsity Tutors, another all-purpose tutoring site, pays between $15 and $40 per hour. Chelsea International Education is a premium tutoring site where tutors can earn far more. But Chelsea requires its tutors to be credentialed teachers with experience.

Music tutors are best served by listing on Lessonface. The site allows tutors to set their own rates, and it charges a modest 4% to 15% fee for helping them advertise and collect payment from clients.

If you’re a whiz at math, English or coding, we recommend Juni Learning. What makes Juni a little different is that it hires its part-time tutors as employees. Juni’s tutors earn at least $20 per hour.

Walk dogs or pet sit

If you’re an animal lover, signing up with Rover can feel more like a hobby than a profession. You get to walk dogs or watch people’s pets overnight while they’re away. If you pet sit, you decide whether to watch animals in your own home or whether you’re willing to stay with the pet at the owner’s place.

Rover allows you to set your own rates and pay the platform a 20% commission for listing your services and collecting payment from customers. Freelancers say they can earn $500 to $1,000 per month by watching or walking dogs just a few hours a day.

Stock shelves

With everybody eating and working at home, supermarkets and warehouse stores have been scrambling to keep their shelves stocked. Companies such as Wonolo, Shiftgig and Bluecrew help the markets by connecting them with freelancers who are willing to do warehouse work.


The pay isn’t anything to brag about: usually minimum wage or slightly more. However, jobs are plentiful. Also helpful for those juggling 9-to-5 jobs, many shelf-stocking positions are after normal working hours.


Got opinions? You can get paid to express them.

Product Tube enlists freelancers to create product reviews on video. The reviews are generally two to four minutes long and filmed on your smartphone. Assignments might involve going to a grocery store and filming what you see when you walk down the cracker aisle, for instance. Or the site might ask you to taste-test a couple of cereals. Each review pays $5 to $35.

IVueIt asks freelancers to evaluate maintenance and status of commercial construction projects, taking photos and filling out a short questionnaire. Each project takes 10 to 15 minutes (not counting travel to and from the construction site) and pays $5 to $30.

Both sites pay freelancers within days of the assignment’s completion.

Put ads on your car

There have been plenty of delivery jobs throughout the pandemic, and demand for delivery drivers shows no sign of slowing. Another way to make driving pay is to sign up with car advertising firms such as Carvertise and Wrapify. These companies pay you to emblazon your vehicle with ads and then just drive as usual.

What can you earn? Wrapify estimates that each campaign pays $175 to $450 per month; Carvertise, which specifically courts Uber, Lyft and Grubhub drivers, pays $100 to $300 per month.

Kristof is the editor of, an independent site that reviews hundreds of money-making opportunities in the gig economy.