5 ways to find extra money during the holidays

(BPT) - The holidays are here again. It's that time of year when you get together with family and friends, take some time away from work and live out the definition of "it's better to give than receive." And, if you're like many Americans, this is also the season when you give a little too much and find yourself over budget on your holiday spending.

Research from MagnifyMoney shows Americans incur $986 in additional debt throughout the holiday season, money they are then forced to pay off during the new year. If you've had problems with holiday-induced debt in the past and you've tried - and failed - to stem your holiday spending, take a different route this year and see if you can generate extra money to cover those increased holiday expenses. You can do it in a short period of time, so here are a few tips to get you started.

Clean house. As you're picking up your house and getting ready for guests to come over, take a good look under the couch cushions for spare change, and don't forget all those things you're moving to the basement. Add up that spare change to put toward your holiday budget. And, could you move some of your possessions out the door instead? Craigslist, eBay and Facebook all make selling your old possessions easier than ever. And don't forgo the traditional garage sale - one successful Saturday could give you the money you need to enjoy the holidays without debt concerns.

More money than you think. The money beneath your couch cushions may be worth more than you think. Research from Coinstar shows Americans, on average, believe they have $41 in spare change on hand. However, Coinstar's own nationwide kiosk data indicates the amount of spare change consumers have on hand is even more than that. Bring your spare coins to a Coinstar kiosk today and trade them for cash or no-fee eGift cards to retailers such as Amazon, Nike and Best Buy. On average, people cash in $68 when they convert their coins to no-fee eGift cards. Whether you keep the cards for yourself or give them as gifts is up to you.

Take a seasonal job. If you want a little extra money and a short time commitment, seasonal employment during the holidays is a great idea. Retailers across the country are looking to bolster their staff for the holiday season and you can enter this environment with minimal training and hit the ground running - especially if you have prior retail experience. Choose a product you're passionate about and it's a win-win, just make sure you don't spend all of your earnings before you leave the store.

Cash in those unwanted gift cards. Nearly three in four consumers have unwanted gift cards lying around because they are for stores that are too far away, or places they've never shopped before. If you're one of them, turn those cards into cash you can use. Coinstar Exchange allows you to exchange those unwanted gift cards for cash so you can tackle that holiday shopping list without debt concerns.

Cash in your credit card points. When you're shopping for a new credit card, reward points are a big deal in your consideration. But how often do you use them? Research shows that Americans rake in $48 billion worth of credit card points each year, yet only $32 billion are redeemed. The holidays are the perfect time to redeem those points, so don't forget to use them and find that extra cash you've been missing.

The holiday season is a wonderful time of year and it's more enjoyable if it doesn't leave you with lingering debt. So start preparing your extra revenue streams today and give yourself the gift of a happy, debt-free holiday. To learn more about how Coinstar can provide you the extra income you need this holiday season, visit www.coinstar.com.

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