The holidays are upon us!  Hopefully that means you’ve already set aside plenty of cash to cover all the gifts, wrapping paper, egg nog, and other expenses that come up this time of year.

What?  You haven’t saved a dime for the holidays??   You mean you never got around to setting up an ING savings account for all of your Christmas expenses?  You haven’t been squirreling away a little out of each paycheck throughout the year?

Well don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Lots of people are in the boat as you.  But there is still a little time to scramble around and come up with some extra cash in time for the holidays.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Get a part time job

Time is short for this one and you’d better get a move on because you need to make sure you have time to collect a few paychecks in time to use them for Christmas gifts and other expenses.   True, the job market is not exactly on fire and even part time jobs can be difficult to find.  But many retailers expand their staff with seasonal jobs this time of year to help out with the insane holiday shopping rush.  And as a bonus, if you get a job at a store that you like to shop at you can use your employee discount to save money on all the gifts you will be buying!

Sell some stuff

If you’re like most people your house is probably stuffed with all sorts of stuff that you don’t really need.  I’m guilty of this too and if you peeked inside my garage you’d see exactly what I mean.  There’s so much clutter in there that it’s next to impossible to find something when you actually need it.  If you’re in the same boat as me you might want to think about turning some of that unnecessary “stuff” into some extra cash.  If it’s not too cold yet you can hold a big yard sale to unload a bunch of items at once.  Or you can try to sell some of it through a local consignment shop.  If neither of those options will work there is always the internet.  Ebay and Craigslist are both great ways to make a few bucks selling stuff you no longer need.

Cut back on holiday spending

If all else fails, you can always level with your family and friends and let them know that you just can’t afford to spend money on gifts this year.  They might be disappointed or annoyed with you, but you have to do what’s best for you and your family.  That means not going deeper and deeper into debt just to exchange gifts.  You might even be surprised to learn that they don’t want to exchange gifts with you either.  After all, you’re not the only one who is struggling to make ends meet.  Perhaps you can come to an agreement to spend only a token amount on a gift, or make something homemade instead.  Remember it is the thought that counts, not how much you spend.