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How police officers can increase their income during the holidays without overtime

All too often, cops become reliant on overtime and yet we still feel like we’re living paycheck-to-paycheck

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Unless you’re a devout minimalist, you likely have things in your home you can easily part with for some easy cash.


I don’t want to alarm you, but Christmas is in December this year. I hope your family isn’t calling the paramedics right now because you’re choking on your turkey. I apologize if I freaked you out.

Just because you only have a short time before present-a-palooza kicks off, this does not have to be a financial stressor for you. This article will illustrate some quick ways to make some cash that doesn’t necessitate overtime.

All too often, cops become reliant on overtime and yet we still feel like we’re living paycheck-to-paycheck. This article won’t solve all your financial woes between now and Christmas, but it certainly will make a dent in the issue. Below are four ideas on how you can get some margin so you can spend more time with your family instead of pushing a patrol car around for 18-hour days.

1. Have a garage sale

Take a look around your home. Look at all the stuff you have. Did you look in that box in the garage you haven’t opened since you moved in three years ago? Unless you’re a devout minimalist, you likely have things in your home you can easily part with for some easy cash.

A well-organized garage sale can bring you a few hundred dollars in profit in one or two days. It costs you nothing to post your sale on social media or Craigslist. It may cost you a couple of dollars to buy some neon poster board and make some signs. The point is your investment is minor and your gain could be huge.

2. Leverage social media

Don’t like people in your garage? Are you tired of yelling at people to get off your lawn? Are you exhausted at the mere thought of wondering if the guy trying to buy your lava lamp is on parole? Perhaps the garage sale isn’t your cup of tea.

It’s likely that your neighborhood has a Facebook page designed specifically for people to list items for sale. Here’s how it generally works. The page is made up of people in your community. It is likely a closed group and you must be vouched for/vetted prior to approval.

You post your vintage Evel Knievel lunch box for sale for $20 (I have done zero research on the value of Mr. Knievel’s lunch box, so don’t hold me to it). Then some dude across town sees it and wants to buy it. You agree. You leave the lunch box on your porch. The dude comes over, takes the lunch box and leaves you a twenty spot under the doormat.

This is coined as magic money. Are there potential issues with this? Sure. Someone could steal the lunch box. Someone could steal the $20. If that’s your life perspective, this concept won’t work for you. What I can tell you, however, is that I’ve been doing this for years and have never had an issue.

3. Craigslist: the virtual garage sale

This is similar to the previous tip, but you determine where to meet someone to sell your items. I once sold a motorcycle for $6,000 and simply had the buyer meet me at the PD. He paid in cash (I used a counterfeit detector pen) and three uniformed cops loaded the bike in the back of his pickup. I had zero worries about his authenticity and the transaction went swimmingly. I have had my reservations about Craigslist, but after countless transactions, I’ve grown accustomed to it.

4. Nothing to sell? Try reducing

Look at your financial outflow. Where can you cut back with a quickness that will be a boost to your bottom line during the holidays? Here’s a brief list of possibilities:

  • Cable;
  • Gym;
  • Eating out;
  • Groceries (the single largest category in which most people overspend);
  • Subscriptions.

I’m not saying to cut these things forever, but it’s likely you’d be able to squeeze out a few hundred dollars simply by spending less in these areas. And who knows, if you keep up this kind of behavior and combine these new habits with a good budget, you may be able to cut out overtime altogether. I haven’t worked overtime out of necessity since the end of 2011, and I assure you this side of the fence feels amazing.

This article, originally published 11/16/2016, has been updated with current information

Jason Hoschouer is a law enforcement officer with an agency in the San Francisco Bay area in California. In addition to patrolling the streets as a motor officer, Hoschouer helps fellow LEOs with financial coaching through his company, GPS Financial Coaching. Hoschouer’s column on Police1 covers everything from motors to monies, from britches to budgets. Jason has been blogging under the pseudonym “Motorcop” at since 2008 and was also a columnist for American COP Magazine for several years.

You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact Jason Hoschouer