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There’s no denying that the holiday period can be one of the most expensive times of the year. And as much as we may try to budget for it, finding ways to get free money for Christmas can definitely lessen the financial burden of the festive season.

There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of some of these offers to help increase your income over the holiday period. In fact, many of these also work year round, meaning they can be a great way to also supplement your earnings during other months!

Some of them will help you end up with an extra $10, some with an additional $100…and some could see you potentially get thousands.

Whichever you choose, if you need money for Christmas, these tips will definitely go a long way to helping reduce your stress this holiday period.

How can I get free money for Christmas?

Some of these ways to get free money for Christmas will take you barely any time at all. Some, on the other hand, may take a little bit more effort.

In most cases, however, they’re also the ones that will have more of a pay off. This means that the amount you think will help you out over the holidays can help you see which of these would be best for you.

1. Play games

If you ever find yourself procrastinating on your phone by playing games while on the couch or watching videos while waiting for your kids to finish whatever it is they’re doing, then you should definitely consider using this time to make money on your phone instead.

There are a bunch of apps out there that are perfect for this. Whether you’re looking for Christmas money help specifically or wouldn’t mind some extra cash year-round (…who wouldn’t!), then taking advantage of even a few minutes of free time with these apps can be great for this.

Swagbucks is one of our top picks for this. Whether you want to make money by watching videos, doing surveys, playing games or simply searching the web, you can earn money with this app by doing any of these.


Free sign-up bonus: $10

A great app for making extra money, including with cash back from online shopping, watching videos, playing games and more.

And given it’s paid out over $550 million through Amazon, Paypal and other gift cards, it’s 100% legit.

The app pays you in gift cards, including from Amazon and even PayPal, which is basically the same as getting straight up cash.

And you can start off with their amazing free $5 welcome bonus. Check out our Swagbucks review to find out more.

2. Get cash back on your groceries

One of the biggest expenses over the holidays is food. Whether you’re getting ready to have an army of people visiting or it’s going to be a smaller, tight knit group, all of those groceries can carve a serious hole in your budget.

This is why one of the easiest ways to get free money for Christmas is based on all these groceries you’re buying during the holidays.

In particular, Ibotta is one of the best cash back apps around. How it works is that when you shop for almost anything – whether it’s food, medicine, clothes and more – at any of its 300 partner retailers, the app will send you money back for the things you buy.

Ibotta app cash back example from shopping


Free sign-up bonus: $20

Ibotta is a completely free app that gives you cash back on what you’re buying already – groceries, medicine, clothes and more.

In fact, users make $150 per year on average – not including your free $20 welcome bonus – with over $682 million having been paid out, so you know Ibotta is definitely legit.

(And if these are things you’d be buying anyway, it’s perfect if you need money today for free!)

And given that it’s paid out over $682 million to its more than 35 million users, it’s definitely legit – starting with the absolutely free $20 sign-up bonus.

Find out more from our Ibotta review.

3. Take advantage of free sign up bonuses

If you’re looking to make an easy $100 in time for Christmas, there are some apps out there that can help you out with their great sign up bonuses.

That is, all you have to do to make money here is sign up for these apps. That’s it. From there, once you validate your email address, you’ll be automatically credited with the free welcome bonus that each of them have.

This means from just a few minutes of “work”, you can make a quick $50!

FYI: My pick for the best apps when it comes to sign up bonuses include:

4. Get paid for referring friends

…And as an extra gift under the tree, you can make even more money by having some of your friends sign up for these apps with the personal referral link you’ll be given after signing up for the apps yourself.

How this works is that in your profile in each app, you’ll have a unique link that you can send to your friends. If they also sign up for the app using that link (meaning they’ll also get the sign up bonus I just mentioned), you’ll also be paid an extra bonus.

In most cases, you can have as many friends sign up as you want – and in some cases, you’ll even continue to earn as they do!

Our favorites include:

  • Swagbucks: $5 welcome bonus + $3 for each referral + 10% of whatever your friend earns forever
  • Ibotta: $20 welcome bonus + $5 for each referral
  • Rakuten (another highly recommended app for getting cash back on your shopping): $10 welcome bonus + $25 for each referral

TOTAL: Sign up yourself + get two friends to sign up with your link = $101

(And that’s not even considering the 10% bonus forever offered by Ibotta!)

5. Do surveys

Some survey apps – rightly so – have a not-so-great reputation for only paying pennies. That’s why it’s important to focus only on those apps that only offer surveys that actually pay you real money, so you know you’re using your time as effectively as possible.

My personal favorite is Survey Junkie. It’s a market research community that’s mainly focused on having its members earn money by filling out surveys. The questions aren’t overly difficult, with most of them being on topics like sharing your online activities (such as the websites you visit or what you search for) or your recent shopping habits.

However, it also offers the chance for you to join paid focus groups online – and you’ll be paid up to $150 an hour just for answering some questions. All you have to do is sign up with Survey Junkie to immediately see which of these are available to you at the moment.

QUICK TIP: Given that Survey Junkie’s focus groups pay up to $150 an hour, it’s no surprise that they’re super popular. This is why it’s a good idea to select the option to be notified of these by email – that way, you can grab one as soon as it’s available and before it fills up.

And as signing up for Survey Junkie is completely free, this lets you keep an eye on what’s on offer at absolutely no cost to you.

Respondent is also another great option for this. It pays you to participate in research studies by providing your opinion on various things, to mainly help companies improve their products.

And given it pays an average of $140 an hour, these can be super lucrative opportunities to take advantage of.

6. Refinance your debt

If you’re carrying debt, those repayments are likely taking up a massive portion of your budget. This means that finding a way to make this debt more manageable by the time the holidays roll around is absolutely like getting free money for Christmas.

This is why using a website like Credible to consolidate your credit card debt can save you a ton of money. That’s because it gives you access to multiple lenders in one simple search (that won’t impact your credit score) who can offer lower interest rates than what you’re probably paying now.

This, in turn, will lower your repayments, saving you a ton of money over the long term – perfect if you need money for Christmas or, really, any time of the year. 

How much money can this save you exactly? Well, you can check out your number on Credible’s money saving calculator, with an example of this in the image below:

example of credible debt consolidation calculator

Take a look at Credible if you’re interested in getting almost (or more than!) $1,000 in free money for Christmas through taking advantage of better debt repayment terms.

7. Get a part time job for the holidays

There are plenty of jobs available over the holidays where you can make extra cash if you need Christmas money help. And as you’re not spending any money yourself to earn this cash, it’s technically free money…!

The trick here is to take advantage of the fact that some companies see a surge in customers leading up to Christmas, such as basically any business in retail. In those cases, they’ll often offer work on a part time basis just for the holiday period, starting around Black Friday.

These include:

  • Target and Walmart, for holiday shopping
  • Amazon warehouses, to handle their massive loads from increased online shopping
  • UPS and FedEX, for delivering presents
  • Any business involved in holiday parties, such as caterers, or those offering locations where parties are held, including hotels, restaurants or other popular places in your area

Related: 43 Amazing Under the Table Jobs that Pay Cash

8. Start a side hustle

Starting a side hustle is a great way to get free money for Christmas – and, really, any time of year.

It’s generally considered as something you do on the side rather than an “actual” job. But that definitely doesn’t mean that you can’t make great money from doing this.

You could even focus on some Christmas business ideas, like checking out these Christmas crafts to sell on sites like Etsy. After all, if you need money for Christmas, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of the money-making opportunities that the holiday offers.

Some other ideas include:

Whatever your interests or areas of expertise, it’s almost guaranteed that you can find a way to harness this to make some extra money over the holiday season – or all year round.

Related: Make $200 a Day Online: 17 Ways That Are Proven To Work

woman earning free money for christmas with a side hustle on her computer

9. Sell plasma

Plasma is extremely important for saving lives, however only a very small number of people actually participate in donating it. This is why plasma donations are considered so valuable – and why people are paid well for doing it.

While the exact amount will vary depending on which plasma center you go to (with some of the highest paying plasma donation centers listed at that link), as a general rule, you can make between $20 and $50 per donation. And noting that you can donate twice in every seven day period, this means that you can make up to $400 per month.

You can also use coupons to make even more money. For example, at the time of writing, this one gives you $10 extra for each donation.

There are some medical requirements you’ll have to meet but your donation center can fully advise you about these.

10. Exercise

It’s not uncommon for some of our healthier habits to go out the door during the holidays. This means that something that improves your health while helping you out if you need money for Christmas is a great double bonus.

Specifically, Healthywage is a site where you can bet how much weight you think you can lose in a certain period of time. The system will tell you how much you can win based on how much you want to lose and in how long. 

Then, if you reach your weight loss goal, it will pay you – with the reward often being thousands of dollars.

healthywage winners

Take a look at Healthywage’s calculator here to see how much you can win based on your weight loss goals.

Related: 17 Legit Ways to Get Paid to Walk

11. Switch your cell phone plan

Most of us sign up for cell phone plans with way more data than we ever use, especially given that WiFi is everywhere these days. This basically amounts to money down the drain.

So as an early Christmas gift to yourself, consider switching to a plan that’s more in line with your actual phone usage – and that is far, far cheaper because of it.

Republic Wireless is a great example of this. Its plans start at $15 per month or $150 per year for unlimited talk and text. Then, for every GB of data you need in a particular month, you pay $5 for it.

Plus there’s no ongoing commitment, so you can simply cancel for free at any time.

With many of us signing up for cell phone plans that are at least $50 per month for 24 months, this can easily save you more than $700 over the same two-year period.

republic wireless logo

Republic Wireless

Our pick: Best prepaid phone plans
  • Prepaid plans from $15/month with unlimited talk and text
  • Zero sign on or termination fees – and cancel whenever you want
  • Save over $1,000 compared to standard phone contracts

12. Get paid to advertise

Some of the best ways to make money are those where you don’t have to do anything different from what you’d be doing already. This includes when you use your car to make free money by getting paid to advertise.

Specifically, there are companies like Wrapify that pay you around $450 per month to put car wraps on your car to advertise other businesses. This is on the understanding that as you drive around, potential customers will see the ad.

And don’t worry, Wrapify is adamant that the stickers are completely removable, with no damage to the paint on your vehicle.

13. Take advantage of micro-investing

Micro-investing generally refers to apps that take a little bit of your money without you even noticing and invest it for you, so that you can make money from this without realizing.

This means that while the money the app saves for you isn’t exactly free money for Christmas, any increase in its value is. It’s also a great way to help you save money automatically when you may have been struggling to do so yourself.

For this, we always recommend Acorns. How it works is that the app rounds up your purchases and invests the spare change. For example, if your groceries cost $21.36, the app will take the extra $0.64 and add it to your account automatically.

Once that account reaches $5, the money is then transferred to an investment of your choosing.

This makes it perfect for anyone who’s been struggling to save money or even someone who’d like an easy introduction to the world of investing.

acorns example


Ideal for beginner investors

Want to start investing but always think that you don’t have enough money left over each month? Then Acorns is for you.

It automatically rounds up and invests your spare change, making it a great choice for starting to save and build wealth – without even noticing!

14. Sell things

If you need cash urgently, finding some things to sell that you already own can be a good way to make some quick money.

And this is especially true around Christmas if you can sell things that someone could use as a Christmas gift, such as toys or used clothes.

Websites such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace are some oft he most popular websites for selling stuff locally, but also check out any buy and sell Facebook groups specific to your local area, as you can also have a lot of luck selling quickly through there.

Related: 37 of the Highest Paying Online Jobs

15. Salvation Army

The Salvation Army provides assistance in a number of ways over the holidays. This includes helping families pay for their heat and electricity so they don’t need to stress about this during the Christmas season.

They also have their Angel Tree Program, which help to get free Christmas gifts to less privileged children. These gifts include free toys for kids, but can also be clothes and other things they may need.

teddy bear in baby's crib

How do I apply for the Angel Tree Program? 

The first step is to find your local Salvation Army on their website as you have to apply in person. Once you contact them, they will schedule an appointment for you to get the process started.

Keep in mind that you generally have to apply during the fall, with the exact application period usually being from early September until mid-to late October. This means that it’s a good idea to check with the Salvation Army near you as early as possible to ensure you make it in time.

16. US Marines

Various military organizations provide assistance to families during the holidays, one of the most well known of which is the Toys for Tots program run by the US Marine Corps Reserve.

It provides free toys for kids for Christmas, having distributed 584 million toys to date.

How do I apply for Toys for Tots?

To apply for Toys for Tots, click here to find the Local Marine Toys for Tots Campaign in your community. You can then visit their website for details on their specific application process.

17. Local religious groups

Whether or not you’re religious, groups of every faith provide invaluable assistance during the holiday season. This can include toys and clothes, but also often involves them sharing free Christmas food.

As such, if you find yourself struggling this season, take a look at the religious groups in your local community as you may find that one has the help that you’re looking for.

Final thoughts on getting free money for Christmas

Using one of these options to get free money for Christmas may be just what your family’s budget needs to reduce some of the stress that the festive season can bring.

While it can be hard to remember as we’re bombarded with holiday advertising and you feel like you need money for Christmas just to “do it right”, try to keep in mind that the holidays don’t have to be the hugely expensive event that we’re led to believe we have to do.

Instead, simply getting to sit down for a meal with any friends or loved ones who can make it – whatever that meal looks like – will easily be the most memorable part of the season.

So while it’s perfectly fine to ask for some Christmas money help, make sure you’re not pushing yourself beyond what your finances (and stress-levels) can manage. That’s the far more important message of the holiday period.

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