We’re all looking to make our income go a little further. Unfortunately, there is no “get rich quick” plan for most of us. But here’s 15 useful tips to stretch what you have or make a few extra quid.
1. Have a money makeover
Nothing is more satisfying than looking at your own finances and seeing that you can save yourself some money. Shop around for low interest credit cards, lower cost home/car insurance etc on sites like MoneySupermarket.com. It’s estimated that the average UK family could save between £2,500 and £5,000 of their hard earned income!
2. Get what you’re entitled to
You don’t have to be out of work to be entitled to benefits. Benefits and tax credits are schemes implemented by the government to help people on low incomes or are unable to work for whatever reason. If you are entitled and not claiming, you could be struggling each month for no reason. If you think you could be entitled to benefits or tax credits, make an appointment at your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for further advice.
3. Use your savings to pay off your debts
Trying to save money whilst you are still in debt is a waste of time! Your savings will ultimately be less than the interest you pay on your debts, so if you use your savings to pay off your debts, you won’t need to worry about interest anymore, and can save your money properly.
4. Sell things!
If you have old phones that you don’t use anymore, or old iPods or gadgets, you can sell them on various sites for a tidy profit and boost your income. MoneySavingExpert’s site, www.mobilevaluer.com, allows you to compare prices for your old phones and gadgets to ensure that you get the best price available.
Or if you have old DVDs, books or games, there are various sites to sell them on, such as Music Magpie, Amazon Trade-In or WeBuyBooks. Further to this, you can use auction sites to sell almost anything. If you have clothes or shoes or furniture you don’t want anymore, you can sell them on auction sites, like eBay and Gumtree, for a bit of extra income.
5. Points systems are your friend
Various stores offer points based loyalty card systems, such as Tesco Clubcard and the Boots card. When these points mount up, you can use them to buy things. This ensures your loyalty to the store and effectively gets you free things. It’s a win-win situation. Often, schemes such as these offer days or ways to earn more points. For example, Tesco offers Clubcard points for recycling (one point for 2 aluminium cans) or reusing old carrier bags.
6. Check out cashback sites
Sites such as TopCashback.co.uk or Quidco pay you cashback for going through their sites to buy things on the internet. You simply go onto the site, click on the deal you want, get sent to the participating website, make your order and receive cashback for your order. Deals can be on big things, such as insurance or holidays, or as small as a Domino’s takeaway order.
Receiving an unexpected tax rebate is a joy like you cannot describe. Not receiving one when you are entitled to one generally goes unnoticed. Checking if you may be entitled to one could be a very good thing. For more info on this, look on the tax code checker on the MoneySavingExpert’s website and contact HMRC.
Further to this, you can find out if you’ve been paying too much council tax and potentially save hundreds of pounds a year, with the opportunity to backdate, by checking if your property is in the wrong band. (NB: with taxes, it is always possible – though unlikely- that you have been paying too little, and will owe some money. It is still always best to find out sooner rather than later and be landed with a massive bill from the tax man!)
8. Do something easy, get paid
A lot of online survey sites will pay between £1 and £3 pound for a survey that will last a couple of minutes. Entering competitions will obviously not always pay, but as the National Lottery says, “you have to be in it to win it”. Alternatively, if you are good at arts and crafts, selling the things you make on an eBay store is a great way to make money, and turn your hobby into something more.
Or you could become a mystery shopper. Some companies pay as much as £30 a day for mystery shoppers, who go into shops to test the customer services out. Other companies pay in vouchers or free goods. It seems to be quite a fun way to spend a day and will make a nice bonus on top of your regular income! Read our article Could you make cash from your hobby?
9. Take seasonal work
Before Christmas time, companies (particularly in retail) often look for seasonal staff to help with the Christmas rush. This is a great opportunity to enter employment, as there are a lot more jobs around, plus it is a great way to showcase what you can do and potentially get kept on after Christmas.
Also, during the summer and sometimes after Christmas, schools, colleges and universities look for temporary staff to monitor their exams. This involves walking around a quiet room for however long the exam is trying to spot if anyone is talking/cheating. This is normally quite well paid, at about £8 an hour- not to be sniffed at!
10. Be a Superscrimper
Channel 4’s show Superscrimpers shows how to save money on everyday things and make gifts or treats on a budget. Everybody wanting to make their income go further should watch this programme!
11. Rent out your spare space
If you live in a city, or an area where parking is a problem, you could rent out your garage or parking space (obviously providing that you are not using it). This can be a great little earner, but it is best to check the rate at which others are doing it, so that you will be able to rent it out whilst pulling in a decent profit.
Alternatively, if you have a spare room in your house, a great way of earning money is taking in a lodger. This is slightly more intrusive than renting out your parking space, but if you feel able to do it, this is a great way to put a dent in your monthly payments. See more information about the Government’s rent-a-room scheme.
12. Do your homework before you borrow money
We all get in tight spots where we could do with a little extra cash, but it is wise to do your homework before running out and lending from the first place you find. Interest rates are massively important, as you could end up paying back a lot more than you borrowed. The Government’s Money Advice Service offers great advice about borrowing.
13. Only save where it is worth saving
Some savings accounts offer pitiful interest rates. If you are saving for a rainy day, you may as well make your money work harder in a high interest savings account. Again, check out the Money Advice Service for information about saving and investment deals.
We’ve all heard our Grannies say it, but this really does work. If you can sew on buttons, you’re half way there. Making the most of what we have rather than replacing them with new things can save you a shedload of money. However, it is important not to take it too far. Once something has been patched and mended more than a couple of times, it’s probably time to say goodbye…
15. Visit car boot sales
We have all had that dream where we pick something up for 20p at a car boot sale and it then goes on to make a million at auction, so why not make it a reality? Do your homework beforehand, and know roughly what you’re looking for, turn up early to car boot sales so you have your pick of the goods, and you may just stumble on a hidden treasure.
If you can think of more ways to boost your income, why not tell us about it on our Facebook Page?
This article is intended to be of generic interest only. Park does not endorse any of the companies, schemes or websites mentioned.