20 ways to make money in your spare time
If money is tight, sticking to a budget and finding ways to cut back are advisable, but with a little imagination and effort you could find there are ways you can actually make money too.
Below are Moneywise top 20 ways to make money - some are easier than others but all of them could see you make some extra cash.
- Get your money back
- Make money online
- Rent your stuff for money
- Get into showbusiness
- Sell your unwanted items
- Sell yourself
1. Track down old accounts
According to the British Bankers’ Association, there are 150 million bank and building society accounts in the UK and anywhere up to half a million lost accounts – with up to £1bn in dormant accounts at any given time.
The good news is that tracing lost funds has become easier with Mylostaccount.org.uk – a free online service that covers all UK bank and building society accounts. All you need to do is to go to the website and type in your details. The service has so far reunited people with £300m stashed in bank and building society accounts.
2. Claim tax credits
It’s always worth checking that you are receiving all the benefits and tax credits you are entitled to. Entitledto.co.uk says government statistics indicate that people across the UK are collectively missing out on benefits and tax credits worth around £16 billion a year. Visit the entitledto.co.uk website to find out how much you could claim.
3. Sort your savings
Another easy way to make money is to make sure your savings are working as hard as they can.
If you’ve had the same savings account for a while it might be worth shopping around because new customers tend to get the most competitive rates. Good rates come and go, but if you've had a savings account for more than a year the chances are the interest you are earning is not the best out there.
If you have a lump sum that you are prepared to lock away for 12 months or longer, then a fixed-rate account might be best. This type of deal will also protect you from interest rate cuts.
If you want to start a savings habit then a regular savings account is a good way to ensure you put a set amount of money away each month. But if you want to make deposits as and when, an instant access deal could be the one for you.
However, if you haven't yet used your ISA allowance for the current tax year then this sort of account should be the first home for any savings. You can save up to £15,240 each tax year as cash in an ISA and this will not be taxed.
4. Use cashback credit cards
If you pay off your credit bill in full each month, a cashback credit card could be the way to go. These offer you money back on purchases in certain shops or on goods such as petrol.
“Cashback credit cards are a great way to reward savvy spenders,” says Andrew Hagger, from Moneynet.co.uk, a price comparison website. “You can earn extra cash without even having to change your shopping habits.”
See the best cashback credit cards with Moneywise Best Buys.
5. Cashback sites
You can earn even more money from shopping online. Cashback websites will automatically pay you every time you buy a product or a service from selected retailers, from your weekly groceries to switching your utility provider.
Featured cashback website
6. Paid for surveys
The web also offers a wealth of balance-boosting opportunities. Survey websites such as Yougov.com, Panelbase.net and Toluna.com will all reward you for your opinions, either through cash or gift vouchers.
Once you’ve registered on the website, you’ll be sent surveys to complete, with each one worth a certain amount in rewards. Panelbase, for example, usually pays between 25p to £10 per survey.
Featured website for paid surveys
7. Earn from web research
Any Question Answered (aqa.63336.com), is often on the lookout for internet researchers. Once a customer asks a question through their mobile phone, it’s the researcher’s job to hunt out the answer and reply online.
You can choose your own hours and the questions you answer, and can earn 25p for every question you answer correctly. The contact email to find out about vacancies is email@example.com.
8. Review music
Slicethepie.com claims to be the largest paid review site on the internet. It typically pays between five and 50 cents per review review you leave and if you refer friends or family to the service you can earn bonus payments of about 10% of anything your referral earns. It’s free to sign up and you can review as much or as little as you like.
Payments are calculated in dollars but payments are processed through PayPal, which will convert your earnings into sterling.
9. Take in a lodger
While most of us pay a fortune for our homes, it’s possible to make your home make money for you.
Under the government’s ‘rent a room’ scheme, you don’t need to pay tax on the first £7,500 you receive either, which means you could charge up to £625 a month without being lumbered with a tax bill.
The average amount you can earn for renting out a room to a lodger is £5,088/year in the UK, including bills, and £8,496 in London, according to SpareRoom.co.uk.
10. Rent out a parking space
If you live close to a city centre, train station or football stadium and don’t use your parking space or garage, you’re sitting on a proverbial goldmine. Renting an empty parking place to a commuter or football fan could see you rake in the pounds.
JustPark.com is a website where you can advertise your space free of charge and let frustrated drivers get in touch. Users make £500/year on average. But in areas of high demand you can make more like £1,000-£3,000 per year.
11. Rent your home
Airbnb.co.uk is a popular site for holidaymakers to advertise their homes for short-term rent on when they’re away for holidaymakers visiting the area to stay in. The site takes 3% of what you make.
12. Be a Film extra
If you fancy seeing yourself on screen, film and TV companies are always on the hunt for extras. You could make about £100 a day and get the chance to meet some famous actors. However, you will need to join an agency first so research, which are reputable.
13. Model your child
While every parent thinks their child is a star, model agencies could think so too. If you think your little one has what it takes, the first step is to contact an agency to ask about their requirements. You will be asked to send in a head and shoulders photo of your child, either by post or email.
If your child stands out, you may be invited for an interview, to assess if your child is right for TV, photo or film. Depending on the child’s age, shoots pay about £50 an hour, but bear in mind that agencies will likely charge an upfront fee to join or take commission of around 25% to 37.5%.
We’re all guilty of hoarding items that "could come in handy one day". But one man’s rubbish could be another man’s treasure, which is why online auction website eBay.co.uk is so successful.
For more valuable items, it could be worth going to an auction. Jonty Hearnden, antiques expert and presenter of BBC 1's Cash in the Attic, says you should contact a local auctioneer if you think an item could be valuable.
"You could be asked to email across a digital photo, which the auctioneer will assess for free, or the auctioneer might visit you at no extra cost to take a closer look - especially if it is a large item," he explains.
15. Car boot sales
If you’d prefer money in your palm instantly, a car boot sale is the place to go. Thousands of people flock to car boot sales every weekend, with pitches costing about £10 a day. To find out where to flog your booty, check out Carbootjunction.com.
16. Recycle your old mobile
Many of us have an old mobile phone gathering dust in a drawer somewhere, but you could easily turn it into cash, even if it is slightly damaged. Website Mobilevaluer.com tells you how much your phone is worth. An iPhone 6 16GB, for example, could fetch around £260.
17. Mystery shopper
If you're longing for some retail therapy but can’t afford to hit the shops, why not earn a few pounds as a mystery shopper? Websites such as MarketForce.com employ mystery shoppers to drop in unannounced in shops and restaurants and rate their experience.
After you send in your feedback, you’ll be paid for your time and reimbursed for any purchases you made. Assignments typically pay £5 and there’s no limit on how many you can do. One a week could make you £260 a year.
18. Sell your skills
We all have skills and talents so why not use these to make a few extra quid.
“If you spent years of your life being marched to piano lessons, put the experience to good use in adulthood by advertising your services in the local newspaper as a music teacher, says financial journalist Laura Howard.
"Just three hour-long lessons a week could see you up to £60 better off, not to mention the sense of satisfaction you will get. The same applies for languages."
If you’re good at knitting, painting, making jewellery or other arts and crafts, you could also sell your wares at local craft fairs and markets or on craft websites, such as Etsy.co.uk and Folksy.com.
Just ensure the cost of making goods doesn’t outweigh the amount you sell them for and check if there is a fee to sell your items – Etsy and Folksy both charge listing fees and take a percentage of the sale.
19. Get paid for keeping fit
Earn points for fitness related tasks, such as going to the gym and even just walking, via free-to-join website and app Bounts. You can then redeem points for gift vouchers at highstreet retailers. Bounts says users can earn at least £15-£20 per year.
20. Sell your services
Free-to-join website, Taskrabbit, enables you to list services you’d undertake from cleaning, to picking up parcels, to waiting in queues at popular restaurants, at an hourly rate.
It takes 30% from the first task and 15% thereafter. It claims the earning potential of full-time Taskrabbit user is £48k/year.
Invidivual Savings Accounts were introduced on 6 April 1999 to replace personal equity plans (PEPs) and tax-exempt special savings accounts (TESSAs) with one plan that covered both stockmarket and savings products, the returns from which are tax-exempt. The ISA is not in itself an investment product. Rather, it’s a tax-free “wrapper” in which you place investments and savings up to a specified annual allowance where the returns (capital growth, dividends, interest) are tax-exempt (you don’t have to declare ISAs and their contents on your tax return). However, any dividends are taxed within the investment, and that can’t be reclaimed.
There are limits to how much you can invest in any tax year. For 2011/12, the limit is £10,680. Of that, the maximum you can invest in cash is £5,340 and the balance of £5,340 can be invested in shares (individual company shares or investment funds). If you don’t take the cash ISA allowance, you can invest up to £10,680 into a stocks and shares ISA.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.
Rather than shopping online directly with a retailer, if you go to the retailer via a cashback website (you have to register as a member), when you make a purchase the cashback site gets a commission and rebates some – or all – of this back to you. The cash being paid back to you will vary wildly from site to site and even from product to product, so check you’re getting the best deal before you buy.
Cashback credit cards
These reward you with a small percentage of cash back on your total spend on the card, either each month or annually. Cashback cards carry high APRs and ONLY work if you pay your balance off in full every month. If you miss payments and have existing credit card debts, leave these well alone.
This is a mutual organisation owned by its members and not by shareholders. These societies offer a range of financial services but have historically concentrated on taking deposits from savers and lending the money to borrowers as mortgages, hence the name. In the mid-1990s many societies “demutualised” and became banks. One academic study (Heffernan, 2003) found demutualised societies’ pricing on deposits and mortgages was more favourable to shareholders than to customers, with the remaining mutual building societies offering consistently better rates. In 1900, there were 2,286 building societies in the UK; in 2011, there are just 51.