Make money from your sofa
And no, we don’t mean sticking your hand down the back of it to find any loose change – although perhaps that’s a good place to start! All you need is internet access, a comfortable seat and a cup of tea to hand.
Sell your old stuff
It’s as simple as it sounds – go online to sell unwanted items you no longer use.
MobileValuer.com tells you where you’ll get the most money for old mobiles, iPods, tablets and laptops – at the time of writing, you could get nearly £50 for a working iPhone 4S 8GB, for example. Meanwhile, sites such as MusicMagpie.co.uk will buy old CDs, DVDs and games.
Alternatively, sell anything from old clothes to children’s toys to furniture using eBay or Facebook. It’s completely free to sell on Facebook: just find a local sales group in your area and post details of what you’re selling on it. On eBay, you can list 20 items for free each month (35p an item afterwards), but the site does take 10% of any sale.
Read more on this in our article 'How to be a successful seller on eBay.'
Utilise your skills
Enjoy knitting, making jewellery or other arts and crafts? You could sell your wares 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. Also check if there is a fee to sell your items – Etsy, for example, charges 14p per item listed, takes 3.5% of the total sale price and additional charges may apply. Folksy, meanwhile, charges 15p plus VAT per item listed and takes 6% plus VAT in sales commissions.
Reap online rewards
Get paid to complete online surveys. YouGov, for example, pays 25 to 50 points per survey, which you can redeem for £50 once you’ve accrued 5,000 points – which works out as between 100 and 200 surveys. The company estimates most surveys take five to seven minutes to complete. At 25p to 50p a survey, this is a slow burner – but it could still add up to a meaningful amount over the year.
Whether you’re buying online - bet it clothes, flights, hotels or mobile phone contracts - once you’ve found the cheapest deal, check if you can earn cashback. Sites such as Topcashback.co.uk and Quidco.com are both free to join if you opt for their standard memberships.
Also consider taking up ‘comping’. Entering competitions online is one way you could bag big cash. Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’ll win, and you should only ever enter free competitions. As a start, sign up to the FreePostcodeLottery.com. It’s free to join – just enter your postcode, and if it comes up in the daily draw, you’ll win at least £150.
Read our article 'How mum-to-be made £28k online in a year.'
Get free cash for switching banks
There’s a current account switching war raging, with some banks giving away free cash if you switch over to them.
At the time of writing, M&S Bank was offering a £100 M&S gift card to new current account customers, plus a £10 monthly gift card for those who pay in at least £1,000 each month for the first year.
First Direct was giving switchers who deposit £1,000 in the first three months a £125 bonus. Halifax was paying switchers £100, plus an extra £5 a month if you deposit a minimum of £750 a month, pay out at least two different direct debits, and stay in credit. Clydesdale has also launched a £150 switching offer.
You can compare current accounts to find the one that suits you best using Moneywise's comparison tool.
Rent your home, car and even your parking space
Not got anything to sell? Consider renting instead. If you’re away for a week, you could rent your home and car. Websites such as Airbnb.co.uk let you list accommodation for holidaymakers – it takes 3% plus VAT of what you make – while easyCar Club lets you put your car up for rent, although it takes 10% plus VAT.
If you live near an airport, in the middle of a bustling town, or near key amenities or attractions, consider renting your car parking space on websites such as JustPark.com and Parkonmydrive. com. JustPark is free to list your space on, while Parkonmydrive charges £15 a year once your first booking has been made.
Don’t want to make money from your sofa? Go outside
If you’re not keen on making money via the internet, don’t fret – you can still boost your income in other ways.
Offload old or unwanted clothes, toys and trinkets at car boot sales. Carbootjunction.com lists sales in your local area and tells you if there’s a fee per car – usually between £5 and £10.
If you’re good at something, such as arts and crafts, make the most of your skills. See if you can sell your wares at local craft fairs and markets, for example.
Become a mystery shopper. MarketForce.com pays you to eat and shop for free in return for a review of a company’s services. It says assignments pay on average £5 to £10 along with additional reimbursement towards any purchases you have to make.
For more money making tips, see our 20 ways to make money in your spare time feature.
Do I need to declare earnings to the taxman?
Depending on how much money you earn in a tax year, and how you’ve done so, you may need to pay income tax or capital gains tax – you’ll only pay one or the other.
Income tax is paid if you earn more in a year than the standard personal allowance of £10,600 for this tax year.
Capital gains tax (CGT) is a tax on the profit you make when you sell something that has increased in value – a painting or jewellery, for example. In this tax year, you can make up to £11,100 in profit before you have to pay CGT.
Taxation can be complex, so if you’ve made money and you’re unsure if it needs to be declared, get in touch with HMRC as soon as possible on 0300 200 3300.
You can read more with our tips on how Moneywise team members make money from their sofas.
Invented by a Frenchman in 1954 and ironically introduced in the UK on 1 April 1973, VAT is an indirect tax levied on the value added in the production of goods and services, from primary production to final consumption and is paid by the buyer. Its levying is complex, with a number of exemptions and exclusions. For example, in the UK, VAT is payable on chocolate-covered biscuits, but not on chocolate-covered cakes and the non-VAT status of McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes was challenged in a UK court case to determine whether Jaffa Cake was a cake or a biscuit. The judge ruled that the Jaffa Cake is a cake, McVitie’s won the case and VAT is not paid on Jaffa Cakes in the UK.
An account opened with a clearing bank (few building societies offer current accounts) that provides the ability to draw cash (usually via a debit card) or cheques from the account. Some pay fairly minimal rates of interest if the account is in credit. Most current accounts insist your monthly income (salary or pension) is paid directly in each month and they offer a number of optional services – such as overdrafts and charge cards – which are negotiable but will incur fees.
Capital gains tax
If you buy an asset – shares, a second home, arts and antiques – and then sell it at a later date and make a profit, that profit could be subject to CGT. You don’t pay CGT on selling your main home (which is why MPs “flipped” theirs so regularly) or any securities sheltered in an ISA. Individuals get an annual CGT allowance (£10,600 in 2010/2011) but if you have substantial assets it’s worth paying an accountant to sort it for you.