The cost of living seems to be spiralling upwards every month, but the chances are your monthly income is not doing the same.
Household budgets are being stretched in all directions and are not keeping pace with inflation, so what can you do to make extra money and boost your income?
Here we explore a few effective ways of adding welcome cash to your earnings, from shrewd savings moves to using the best online sales platforms to sell unwanted stuff.
Sort your accounts, cards and savings
This is probably the place to start. By organising your finances, it’s possible to save a surprising amount each year — it can easily run into thousands of pounds.
Here are a few key moves to consider to make extra money.
Switch bank accounts. Banks are very keen for your business and will pay you to make a switch. It’s not unusual to be offered £150, so why not check out what the big names are offering currently?
Use cashback. Use a cashback credit card and you can get back some of what you spend each month. Make sure you set up a direct debit to pay your balance in full each month to avoid paying interest, and you could earn hundreds of pounds every year.
Pay off your debts. There’s little merit in putting your hard-earned money in savings if you’re carrying debt. The interest you pay on borrowing is typically much higher than what you earn on savings. For example, if you pay off £5,000 on a credit card at 18 per cent with savings that were earning 1 per cent interest, you’ll be £850 better off.
Find better interest rates for your savings. It’s easy to keep your money in a savings account where the interest rate has dropped — or in a current account earning next to nothing. There’s no need. Spend just a few minutes researching online and you’ll find significantly better rates that could earn you far more interest. Try using tools such as https://www.gocompare.com/savings/ or https://www.which.co.uk/money/savings-and-isas/savings-accounts.
Learn more: What are smart meters and should you get one?
Sell unwanted stuff
It’s good to declutter, not just because it creates space and makes you feel better, but because it can earn you extra money.
Today there are numerous platforms online for selling unwanted clothes, furniture, books, CDs, DVDs, old toys… whatever you no longer need. eBay is often a good place to begin — it’s a tried and tested way to make extra money and often generates the best prices.
Local Facebook groups such as Facebook Marketplace are great for selling into your local community, especially as it’s free.
There are loads of specialist sites too, such as WeBuyBooks, MusicMagpie and GameXchange.
If you fancy a bit of face-to-face trading, why not keep an eye on local car boot sales? It can be a quick and fun way to move on unwanted stuff. You might even spot a bargain that you can then resell for a profit on eBay!
Rent a room or spare space
If you have a spare room and don’t mind sharing your home with someone new, you can earn up to £7,500 tax-free through the government’s Rent a Room scheme.
Check the details here: https://www.gov.uk/rent-room-in-your-home/the-rent-a-room-scheme.
Storage space is much in demand too, so it can pay to consider renting out your garage, spare room or loft.
Try advertising on local online platforms, or contact https://www.storemates.co.uk, who can put you in touch with potential renters.
Outside, your driveway or parking space could easily become a good monthly earner too. Especially if you live near a city centre or transport hub.
See if you qualify for grants or rebates
Claiming grants, rebates or tax relief can be quite lucrative.
As inflation and the cost of living rises, the government has launched a number of support schemes, such as the £650 cost of living payment for vulnerable households, and a £400 energy rebate for every household in the country.
Also, if you had to work at home during the pandemic — even for a few days — you can apply for tax relief. People who are married or in a civil partnership might also be able to claim the marriage allowance, which is a substantial tax perk and a great way to free up extra money.
You can explore how this works here: https://www.gov.uk/marriage-allowance.
Do some freelance work
The chances are you have some useful skills that could earn you extra cash.
Sites such as https://www.peopleperhour.com list huge numbers of projects that need particular talents. As a freelancer you can bid on the projects that match your skills, explaining why you’re right for the job and naming your price.
It’s free to join, but a fee is taken from your earnings if you’re successful. There are no fixed rates as work is endlessly varied, but the only drawback might be that you’re up against people from countries with a lower cost of living, who can undercut you.
These tips to make extra money on the side are just a snapshot — there are many more ways to generate vital extra cash, at a time when your monthly income could probably use a boost.
Think carefully about the status of your accounts and financial affairs, take a good objective look at your possessions and any clutter that’s accumulated and consider putting some time into an unused skill set… you might be amazed at your untapped potential for making money.
Keep checking Unbiased.co.uk for more relevant news and articles on how you can beat the rising cost of living.