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The Best Seasonal Jobs That Can Make You Extra Money

Published May 20, 2021

8 minute read

David Ning

By David Ning

Whether you’re a college student looking to earn a little extra money or an older citizen simply trying to top your budget, there are plenty of seasonal employment opportunities. Some jobs are constantly rolling in and out of popularity, as the months roll by. Even thought the word “seasonal” implies the jobs are only temporary, that’s not entirely true. After all, there are four different seasons every year. That means different industries thrive in different times of the year. If you’re looking to make a bit of extra money, grabbing a short-term seasonal job is often a great way. Here are some obvious (and not so obvious) seasonal jobs to look out for.

Retail Sales

This is possibly the most obvious place to start looking for a seasonal job. Major retailers hire thousands of seasonal employees every holiday shopping season. This can be a great opportunity to not only earn some extra cash, but also to do some Christmas shopping at a discount. Most retails offer generous markdowns or discounts to employees. In addition, you might be able to make overtime (or double-time) by working on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day.

The pandemic put a bit of a damper on the retail shopping sector in 2020. However, things like they will be back in full swing for the 2021 shopping season. If you want a spot in the holiday chaos, you should start applying well before Thanksgiving. The seasonal retail rosters will be set long before that holiday rolls around.

Delivery

Another common seasonal opportunity is working for a delivery company. UPS hired 100,000 seasonal workers for the 2020 holiday season. And that’s just one delivery company. There’s also FedEx, Purolator, DHL, and dozens of smaller subtractors who deliver millions of Amazon packages everyday. Someone has to log those miles and drop off those packages. Might as well be you!

These jobs are great for anyone who needs a flexible schedule. They offer shifts pretty much around the clock. Delivery jobs are also great for the introverts, since it’s typically a solo job. No need to make small talk with your office co-workers! You do need a full driver’s license and a clean driving record, though. In some rare cases, you might even need access to your own vehicle.

Restaurant Work

As global lockdowns end, the average American family is expected to celebrate by eating out a bit more often. After all, it’s been over a year since most of us were freely able to enjoy dining out with friends and family. This will probably be truth of both fast food chains and casual dining establishments. While these jobs are often available all year round, you can bet that demand will skyrocket as economies open back up and pandemic rules are lifted.

There’s already a shortage of workers in the restaurant industry right now. You can spot the “Help Wanted” signs all over town. No matter where you sit on the “minimum wage pays less than unemployment” issue, there are plenty of opportunities available. As an added bonus, working in a restaurant during the holiday season can mean discounted food or increased tips. That will certainly help your holiday budget.

Another place that hires an abundant of seasonal restaurant works is the fast-food options during seasonal expos. For example, there’s a fair ground close to where I live. They hold a three-week long exhibition every year that attracts thousands of tourists, ready to spend. When I was younger, I worked in a Fish n’ Chip’s booth one year and it was a racket. Sure, it was hard work for a few weeks. But it was also temporary and fun. I also got free halibuts and onion rings all day!

Hotel and Hospitality Jobs

Different areas will have different demands for hospitality jobs during the year. For example, ski resorts will obviously be busy during the winter. Other world renown tourist spots will be popular during the summer break or around major holidays. For most other hotels, all those in-laws traveling for the holidays have to stay somewhere — many will end up at the local hotel or motel.

This industry will need workers for reception, cleaning, restaurant, and kitchen staff. As business travel slowly becomes more prevalent again, the hotel industry will likely see a spike in demand. They will need staffing to accommodate it. For a slightly more glamorous take on the same industry, check if your local ski resort or luxury hotel is hiring. 

Ski Instructors

Speaking of ski resorts, there are plenty of openings for ski instructors every year, since the turnover is high. Industry insiders will tell you that the pay is low and that they do it for fun instead of riches. However, if you love being on the slopes, you might as well get paid while doing it. The wages can still be decent enough for an extra seasonal job.

If you’re really good (and a bit lucky), you might be able to provide private lessons to certain clients. They can come with generous tips. (Think about the bank accounts of those most likely to take ski vacations). Some student instructors at high end resort can receive tips upwards of $1,000!

If you don’t ski, maybe you can apply this logic to another skill you’re good at. Maybe you can be a surfing instructor or a yoga teacher. Perhaps you can parlay your math skills into being a tutor for high schoolers. Believe it or not, there’s even a blossoming industry of video game coaching. So if you’re great at Rocket League, Fortnite, or FIFA 2021, you might be able to provide lessons for an hourly rate.

Snow Removal and Other Yard Work

Time to put your physical labor skills to use! Whether you apply for work with a traditional landscaping company or simply put out your own flyers, yardwork or snow removal can be a great way to both keep your wallet fat and your physique trim. Working for yourself will allow you to take on as much as you can handle, depending on the time of year.

This is the type of job that you can do with something as simple as a lawnmower or a snow shovel. Or you could dive in deep, buying an array of snow blowers and yardwork tools. You could also extend this into helping homeowners remove algae from their fountains or maintain their swimming pools and hot tubs. In some communities, fountain algae is a major problem every summer. If you can figure out how to maintain a simple decorative fountain, you’ll have a few months of easy work every year.

Package Sorter

The recent surge in online shopping means someone has to sort and prepare all those packages. While Amazon (and others) do use automatic robots to handle most of the work, there’s still a huge need for human workers to handle the things that the robots cannot. Much like delivery driving, the need for these workers intensifies as prime shopping season approaches.

These jobs aren’t particularly glamourous or lucrative. The one big advantage is that they are often shift work, meaning you could squeeze in the some shifts in the evening (or even overnight), as your schedule allows. Since turnover is particularly high, you won’t need to worry about quitting after a few months. They are used to it. Just apply, sort some boxes, cash your extra checks, and leave when you’re ready.

Dog and House Sitting

For those who want a very flexible seasonal job, you can probably take advantage of holiday or summer travel trends. Simply offer your sitting services. Plenty of travelers seek out responsible folks to watch over their house and/or pets while they travel. Generally, house sitting can net you about $25 per day. Pet sitting is worth even more, plus the added advantage of having a four-legged friend to play with for a week or two.

Sometimes you can combine the two — living in a vacant house (with the pets) while the owners are gone. Plus you get paid for your trouble. For pet lovers, this might be the perfect way to make some extra bucks. If you do a good job, you’ll almost certainly see your opportunities grow as your clients tell their friends how impressed they were. Not to mention the repeat business you’ll certainly get, once you’ve proven your worth.

Tax Preparer

This takes a little bit of training, but is totally worth the effort. Once you learn the ins and outs, you have seasonal work for life. After all, taxes are unavoidable. Our tax code will only get more and more complex as years go by, so plenty of people seek expert help every spring. As an added bonus, knowing the tax code well will also help you with your own finances. You’ll likely be able to save yourself some extra money on your own tax return, in addition to the extra money you can make assisting others.

Start by going to the IRS website to learn how you can get a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). The process takes about 15 minutes and cost $39.95, which needs to be renewed yearly. After that, start small. Try to reach out to family and friends about preparing their taxes, just to get your feet wet. Once you’re confident, you can post local ads online.

Seasonal Tour Guides

If you live near a place that attract tourists, put your status as a “local” to good use. From city tours to providing information on historic sites, these jobs are abundant in many vacation spots. Do you know a great deal of history? Or simply know the town like the back of your hand? These local tour guide jobs are the perfect way to flex your knowledge — and get paid for it.

Even if you’re not a local expert, most tour companies will offer you enough basic education to get started. All you really need is an enthusiastic and outgoing personality. Once you’re able to successfully engage a crowd of tourists with a good joke and a smile, leading the tour will be a breeze.

Fishing Boat Crew

Okay, this one is pretty specific. If you don’t live near water, it’s probably out of the question. However, my cousin’s dream job used to be to own a boat to conduct fishing tours. It’s a great seasonal job, whenever the weather allows. When he was younger, he would take odd jobs helping out on fishing tours. He would help customers bait their hooks, reel in the their catch, and clean the fish for eating (or mounting).

Personally, I can’t do this one. I get sea sick too easily. However, my cousin loves to fish. He would probably hang out on fishing tour boats even if he wasn’t getting paid. If you live near a fishing industry and enjoy it, try to land a job as a crewmember. Maybe someday you can buy your own fishing boat and run the entire business yourself!

Gift Wrapper

If I’m being honest, there’s almost no chance I would ever pay someone else to wrap gifts for me. But maybe I’m just too frugal for my own good sometimes. Every year when I cruise the shopping malls before Christmas, I see dozens of workers turning gifts into beautifully wrapped packages. It temporarily reminds me why some people are willing to pay for these services.

For most people, it’s just a matter of convenience. Wrapping presents for the whole family can be a time-consuming process. For those with the financial means, it can be a big relief to just drop your gifts off in the morning and pick them back up in a few hours — all gorgeously wrapped and ready to go. It’s also great for those last-second gift buys. Whatever the case, gift wrapping is a high demand job every holiday season. With a bit of practice (and training), anyone can become a proficient gift wrapper.

The Bottom Line

Most seasonal jobs aren’t enough to survive by themselves. However, they are a great way to help the bottom line if you have spare time to devote to them. If you can string multiple seasonal jobs together as the months change, you could even carve out a comfortable living. (And a very diverse one.)

Some of these jobs are even on my radar, should I ever decide to retire early. I may want to do something that’s fairly easy and stress-free, but still supplements my retirement income a little bit. The great thing about season jobs is that they actually pretty easy to find. Most of them have a low barrier of entry too, meaning they accept almost anyone for the positions. Just start looking in your area, and you’ll almost certainly find a good way to make some extra money.

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David Ning

Experienced Finance Writer

David is a published author, entrepreneur and a proud dad. He firmly believes that anyone can build a solid financial foundation as long as they are willing to learn. He runs MoneyNing.com, where he discusses every day money issues to encourage the masses to think about their finances more often.

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