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Shortcuts: How to make extra Christmas cash

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(CNN) -- 'Tis the season to be jolly broke, so here are a few ways you can earn some extra cash, without having to get something as inconvenient as a second job.

Shop and get paid: It sounds too good to be true, but mystery shopping is a service that offers you the chance to assess a business' performance and get paid for doing it. Acting undercover you might be sent out to give a shop or restaurant the once over or even be sent on holiday to judge what a travel company is like. Mystery Shoppers, based in Britain, is one such company, although they maintain it's not all about treating yourself to goodies or flouncing off on holiday. Those wanting to take part are matched to assignments according to their field of expertise. Best not to say you're a plumber, as you might be given the less glamorous assignments such as testing local councils for basic services like unblocking toilets. Likewise who knows what will make you qualify to be a mystery shoplifter or review the pole-dancing skills in a strip club.

Give the gift of life: Half of you can skip to the next money-making scheme, but for blokes, how about donating sperm? If you're someone who doesn't ponder the consequences of their actions this could be a quick and easy way to make a bit of extra cash -- and you'll also be giving the gift of life this Christmas. A recent change in British legislation has meant that offspring from donated sperm have the right to trace their biological father leading to a nationwide shortage. However this only applies to frozen donations. Clinics that take donations straight to, er, clients do still protect the biological father's anonymity. Fertility 4 Life is one clinic in the UK to do this, paying around $80 for each donation, which is a bit like being on the same hourly rate as a merchant banker.

Sell everything you own on eBay: Bit more inclusive this one. Join the ranks of millions currently selling all their personal tat to other people via the Internet. It's easy to do as our previous shortcut will tell you and you'll be amazed, but there will be someone out there who wants that tea cozy shaped like an amusing chicken. It could also be a good way to get rid of those unwanted Christmas presents that have been hanging around since last year. A bit devious perhaps, selling old presents to fund the purchase of new ones, but there's something quite neat about it.

Life modeling: Another easy one, as long as you aren't a congenital fidget or are worried about absolute strangers seeing you naked. Lounging about starkers in the name of art won't make you the big bucks, but then you are being paid to do nothing. If you do decide to strip off make sure the person you will be modeling for is a genuine artist and not just a pervert -- joining a register of artist's models such as www.modelreg.comexternal link is a good place to start.

Take to the great outdoors: If you've got a bit of musical talent and know a few seasonal tunes why not try busking. Most places require you to have a licence, which might be tricky to get hold of with just over a week to go before the big day, but once that hurdle is cleared, the streets are paved with gold. Maybe. Being ignored or baited by kids might be the other reaction, and the competition in town centers around this time of year is fierce. Try and give the public something they haven't heard before to stand out form the crowd -- a cappella version's of Slade's perennial hit "Merry Xmas Everybody" performed in the style of Noel Coward or Berlioz' Christmas work, "L'enfance du Christ" played on a penny whistle might do it. If you'd rather not abuse the spirit of Christmas and the public's generosity, you could always try dog walking -- a year-round pursuit that serves the canine-rich, time-poor dog owners. Join a registered dog-walking company and be the leader of the pack.


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Make an exhibition of yourself. Life modeling could bring in some extra festive funds.

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