Picking up a holiday job can be one a prime strategy in managing your financial health, whether your goal is to make extra spending money that will keeps credit card balances at bay, to score extra discounts on holiday gifts or find job opportunities in the wake of a lagging economy. Here's where to look when you're on the search for the best holiday jobs.

Parcel Carrier
Thanks in part to the increased popularity of online shopping, which eMarketer predicts will grow 16.8% this year, spending the holidays in the parcel business sorting, loading or delivering packages can be a great way to earn more than minimum wage, among other benefits. According to United Parcel Service (UPS), it "supports part-time employees with full-time benefits," including tuition assistance, training programs and promotion eligibility, in addition to flexible scheduling and manageable shifts that might entail just a three to four hour commitment, Monday through Friday. This year, UPS will hire about 55,000 seasonal workers; its competitor, Federal Express, plans to add about 20,000 seasonal workers to handle the bulk of holiday volume.

Toy Store Staff
Kids at heart can be surrounded with the joy of the season (not to mention a discount and insider knowledge of the hot sales) by taking a gig at a toy store. This year, Toys "R" Us will add 5,000 more seasonal helpers than it did in 2011. If you're looking for a holiday job that will extend past the season, approximately 15% of the Toys "R" Us holiday staffers retained their positions after the season last year, according to a company press release. Though the employee benefit of saving 10% on most items in the store won't completely reshuffle your holiday budget, every little bit can help when playing Santa for your family. If you're in search of a steeper discount, Build-A-Bear Workshop offers associates a 30% discount on all merchandise sold in stores beginning on the date of hire, in addition to access to its online corporate perks program, which includes discounts on phones, electronics, health and wellness, and financial services. Additionally, major medical, dental and vision benefits are offered to some part-time associates, as are potential college scholarships for eligible associates who are high school seniors, graduates or are enrolled at an accredited college or university.

Retail Associate
It may not appear that the economy has recovered much in the past few years, but experts at the National Retail Federation estimate that retailers will staff more than 600,000 holiday positions this season, including several thousand open positions at Target, Kohl's, Walmart, Macy's and JCPenney. For workers with little experience or who have been out of the workforce for some time, there's good news: According to research by the consulting firm Hay Group, 62% of retailers surveyed said the average experience level of seasonal workers is between zero and one years. Further, 43% of those retailers said they intend to retain more workers beyond the 2012 holiday season, making the holidays a prime opportunity to get your foot into the door of a company that might otherwise require more experience. If you're not interested in facing the front lines of mall madness, keep in mind that retailers have plenty of "back of house" needs, including inventory management that takes place in a stock room and merchandise replenishment that occurs before and after stores are open to the public. While retailers vary in their discount policies, choose with the bulk of your gift list in mind. Working at a retailer whose merchandise selection covers the bulk of your holiday gift list can be a great way to whittle holiday spending.

The Man With the Bag
If you've got the patience to be Santa, it can pay off in a major way. According to PayScale estimates, Santas can earn as much as $100. They can earn more on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when time and a half rates may come into play. Nevertheless, being Santa isn't for everyone. Not only is Santa never truly "off the clock," the role requires patience under pressure and a gift for smoothing over those emotionally charged situations that a visit to Santa often presents. Job calamities aside, however, being a Santa can amount to a lucrative holiday gig for those with the "stomach" for it.

The Bottom Line
Holiday hiring is a benefit to both retailers and job seekers. Economists say that increased demand for holiday help points to a retailer predictions for stronger holiday sales, and in turn, a strengthening economy. Whether you're a college student, retiree or simply looking to earn some extra cash, taking on a holiday job is a prime opportunity to stay out of debt and to position yourself for even more job opportunities once the season ends, provided you give a temporary role just as much commitment as you would a full-time one.

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Dish Network's Return on Equity (ROE) (DISH, TWC)

    Analyze Dish Network's return on equity (ROE), understand why it has vacillated so greatly in recent years and learn what factors are influencing it.
  2. Investing News

    U.S. Recession Without a Yield Curve Warning?

    The inverted yield curve has correctly predicted past recessions in the U.S. economy. However, that prediction model may fail in the current scenario.
  3. Retirement

    Best Mortgage Companies Friendly to Retirees

    If you’re no longer in the workforce and need a loan to buy a home, which companies are the most welcoming? Plus, good news about qualifying for a loan.
  4. Investing Basics

    Inside IPO Roadshows

    Understand more about IPO road shows. Learn the reasons why an IPO road show is important for the success of a company's public offering.
  5. Investing News

    5 Stocks to Buy Before Oil Rebounds

    Here are five oil related stocks that you might want to own before oil rebounds.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    5 Vanguard Fixed Income Fund Underperformers

    Learn about three Vanguard fixed income mutual funds that underperform compared to their benchmark indexes. Find out why low expense ratios are important.
  7. Stock Analysis

    JCPenney's Path To Profitability (JCP)

    Learn about what J.C. Penney's management team has been doing to profitably grow its business as the company recovers from years of revenue declines.
  8. Investing News

    Hillary Clinton's Liberal Orthodoxy

    Clinton's economic agenda laid out in July is divided into three broad groups: strong growth, fair growth and long-term growth. And her overarching goal is to "give working families a raise."
  9. Investing News

    Bernie Sanders: Socialist or Liberal?

    Sanders' pitch centers on economic inequality in the U.S., which is both more severe than it is in other developed countries and, if current trends continue, projected to worsen.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Top 5 Natixis Funds for Retirement Diversification in 2016

    Discover five mutual funds from Natixis Funds that provide high income, growth and preservation of capital while diversifying a retirement savings plan.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is arbitrage?

    Arbitrage is basically buying in one market and simultaneously selling in another, profiting from a temporary difference. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is Fibonacci retracement, and where do the ratios that are used come from?

    Fibonacci retracement is a very popular tool among technical traders and is based on the key numbers identified by mathematician ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is a derivative?

    A derivative is a contract between two or more parties whose value is based on an agreed-upon underlying financial asset, ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is finance?

    "Finance" is a broad term that describes two related activities: the study of how money is managed and the actual process ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What items are considered liquid assets?

    A liquid asset is cash on hand or an asset that can be readily converted to cash. An asset that can readily be converted ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is comparative advantage?

    Comparative advantage is an economic law that demonstrates the ways in which protectionism (mercantilism, at the time it ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  2. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  3. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  4. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  5. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  6. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
Trading Center