5 ways to make a little extra cash for Christmas

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Cash for Christmas blog - savings jar

The average household spent £775 on Christmas last year, according to the Centre for Retail Research. As it comes around again (that time already?), it's time to set yourself a budget so you're not tempted to raid your savings or get into debt. If your budget is looking tight, here are some ideas to boost your income.


1. Online surveys

Fill out an online survey and get paid for it - it's as simple as that. Research companies are constantly on the lookout for people of all ages to answer surveys and test new products.

  • How to get started

    Do your research first - some sites are better than others - don't pay to join a site and it's a good idea to set up a separate email account so you don't get flooded with spam. Trusted sites include Ipsos, valued opinions, mysurvey - there are plenty of others too.
     
  • How much?

    This isn't a big earner by any means, but it's easy to do in your spare time and a few hours a week could certainly fund some gifts. For a few minutes of form filling you generally earn anything from 10p to £2 (or reward tokens, often for Amazon - which are good for gifts!).
     
  • And what about…

    Face-to-face market research pays more than online surveys because it involves more time and often takes place in the company's office - contact local market/consumer research companies to find out more.

 

2. Put your skills to work

Most of us can offer a useful service that other people will pay for - dog walking, car valeting, ironing, gardening, baby/pet sitting - the list goes on.

  • How to get started

    Either join an agency or advertise locally - check how much other services in your area are charging.
  • How much?

    This depends on what you are doing and your area - for example, dog walkers charge anywhere from £8-£15/hour depending on where you live - the average is about £10/hour. Ironing varies as some people charge per item or by weight, but anywhere from £5-£12/hour is a typical rate.

 

3. Be a mystery shopper

If you enjoy shopping or fancy a little cloak and dagger assignment, this will be right up your (high) street. Retailers pay people to visit their stores and check that customer service or the quality of goods is up to standard - mystery shoppers are given an 'assignment', and are expected to complete it and submit a report within a specific timeframe.

  • How to get started

    This is run through agencies such as MarketForce and Gapbuster, though there are plenty more. Check out the websites to find out if you are eligible and how to sign up.
  • How much?

    This depends on the agency - some pay in gift vouchers or free items from the shop, others pay anything from £5 to £30 cash.

 

4. Rent out your car parking space

If you don't use your garage, drive or other off-street parking space, you could rent it out if you live near a transport hub or in an urban area.

  • How to get started

    Just register with a site such as yourparkingspace or justpark and follow the instructions - some sites will enable you to see what others in your area are charging. You'll need to check your insurance gives you appropriate cover and set up a contract first.
  • How much?

    It depends on your area, but yourparkingspace reckons you could earn from £40 up to £350 per month, depending on your area.
  • And what about…

    In some areas storage space is at a premium, so you could rent out space. And if you have a spare room, you could always rent that out…

 

5. Host product parties

If you're the sociable type, hosting a product party could be right up your street, as it won't feel like work! Books, kitchenware, jewellery, cosmetics and toiletries - there are plenty of options to choose from - and it makes sense in the run-up to Christmas as people are shopping for gifts.

  • How to get started

    The most important thing is to find a company you like that offers direct selling opportunities through parties - you'll be more successful if you're selling products you genuinely like.
  • How much?

    It's commission-based, so what you earn depends on how much you sell. It usually involves an outlay at the beginning to cover set-up costs.

For loads more ideas, try MoneySavingExpert or Moneymagpie.

Please note that any sources of extra income should be declared to HMRC.

 
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