Holiday money: 6 ways to boost your budget and save in the sun

With weak exchange rates reducing the amount of spending money you’ll get abroad, foreign holidays may just seem a distant dream. But a little forward planning can help make your pound go even further by saving on holiday extras…

1. Bag the Best Exchange Rate

You’ve heard this before, but it’s worth saying again: sort out your currency before your departure date. Currency exchange firms at the airport tend not only to have the worst exchange rates but can also have hefty commission charges too.

BEFORE YOU GO: Use an online comparison service such as MoneySavingExpert’s TravelMoneyMax to track down the best currency deal. If you’re really organised, you could use a prepaid currency card (but check the small print for hidden charges).

2. Avoid a Plastic Meltdown

Foreign usage fees can make using credit and debit cards abroad expensive, adding as much as an extra 2.99% on purchases and 5% on cash withdrawals. Take the right cards and you’ll avoid these fees.

BEFORE YOU GO: Find out more, including which cards have the lowest fees, by using MoneySavingExpert’s Overseas Card Charges Checker.

3. Park Expensive Long-Stay Charges

Again, shopping around can help you cut the cost of airport parking. It’s worth looking for off-site car parks too – most will transport you to and from the airport and some even pick up and drop off your car at the airport.

BEFORE YOU GO: Try Airport Parking Shop to compare deals.

4. Drive Down the Cost of Car Rental

You’ll get the best deals on car hire if you book at least eight weeks before you go – comparison sites (see below) can save you time and effort.

Before signing on the virtual dotted line, make sure you know what’s included in the deal. For example, some car hire firms provide a full tank and ask you to return it empty – this sounds fine in theory, but you’ll probably pay way more than the going rate for your first tank of fuel.

One of the most expensive add-on charges is excess waiver insurance. If you buy this yourself before you go, you’ll save money.

To avoid any disputes over damage to the car, it’s a good idea to take photographs and make a note of any scratches, dents or other signs of damage on the car, then get someone from the rental company to sign it – do the same when you return the car.

BEFORE YOU GO: Try one of these comparison sites to find good rental deals abroad: Carrentals.co.uk, CompareCarHire.co.uk or Kayak

Driving your own car abroad?

Take the time to check your insurance. Some policies limit the number of days you’re covered abroad, or downgrade your cover to third party only. This could cost you dearly if you have a prang while you’re away.

5. Minimise Your Mobile Charges

Thanks to recent mobile roaming price caps, it’ll cost no more than 15p per minute to make a call and 16p per MB of mobile data in any EU country.

EU roaming charges are being phased out, but it’s still possible to run up a hefty mobile bill, especially outside the EU, so check your roaming charges before you go – many mobile operators have roaming bundles that could save you cash.

And if you don’t want to get clobbered at all, switch off data roaming at the airport and find a local hotel or cafe with free Wi-Fi.

6. Protect Yourself Abroad

Whether you’re a thrill seeker or a sun worshipper, travel insurance is essential – no one is immune to unexpected holiday mishaps. So don’t try to save money by missing this off your shopping list, but do shop around for the best deal.

If you’re holidaying in Europe, pack a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). These enable you to access state healthcare free or at a reduced cost in Europe and some insurers insist on them.

BEFORE YOU GO: Apply for an EHIC here and use comparison sites such as Confused.com, GoCompare.com and MoneySuperMarket.com to find the best travel insurance deals.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

Good fun and good value: free and low-cost ideas for the summer holidays

Whether you need to entertain the children/grandchildren or are looking to occupy the whole family on a staycation, here are some ideas that provide lots of entertainment for little money.

No-cost entertainment

Find a festival

From music to food or balloons, there are a lot of festivals and carnivals that provide great entertainment for free – again, MoneySavingExpert.com comes to the rescue here, and Free-events.co.uk also offers a guide to festivals and more.

Inspiration for free

If you’re stuck for ideas, try Visit England‘s things to do pages and select the free or low budget filters ­you’ll find everything from free museums and music to great cycle and walking routes to try. There’s no reason to be bored, even if you’re trying to save money!

Low-cost entertainment

Vouchers add value

MoneySavingExpert.com always offers a good selection of deals/vouchers for activities, meals, travel and days out, so check these out for inspiration! Websites such as Groupon and MyVoucherCodes offer or publicise discounts on anything from local attractions to 2-for-1 pizzas – you’ll have to put up with a load of emails but it can be worth it for the deals.

Kids get sporty (or crafty)

Check out your local leisure centre – they usually offer a wide variety of summer courses and activity days for children, from arts and crafts to specific sports, that don’t cost much. Find your local sports facilities through local.direct.gov.uk.

Lidl and the FA have combined forces to offer football coaching sessions for 5-11 year olds of all abilities this summer, which are accessible for a small fee.

Big screen, small cost

Vue, Odeon and Cineworld cinema chains put on a special kids’ film screening at discounted prices every morning through the holidays – it’s worth checking other local cinemas to find out if they do a similar offer, too. Find your local cinema.

Good value entertainment

Fun for all ages

National Trust or English Heritage family membership is a bigger outlay – £126.00 for the National Trust and £105 for English Heritage – but can very quickly pay for itself if you make good use of it. Both offer lots of locations, plus special events and activities for children throughout the summer – check to see which has the most properties in your area. Membership of a local attraction such as a zoo or adventure park can also be a good investment if you can go regularly.

The content of this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. We do not offer financial advice. If you’re unsure as to the suitability of a product you should seek advice from a Financial Adviser. You may have to pay for this advice.

What kind of ISA is right for you?

How to choose the best ISA for you

Like standard savings accounts, there are several types of ISAs on the market today. This guide takes a closer look at the different types along with the questions to consider when choosing the right ISA for you.

Why do you want to save?

The first step is to think about your motivation for saving. What are your goals? Are you saving for something short term or long term? Do you want to save money every month, every year or simply as a one-off? Think about whether you’ll need regular access to your money or whether you want to lock it away. If you’re saving up for something specific like a house deposit or your retirement, you’ll be pleased to know there’s an ISA specifically designed to help.

To find out more about ISAs, get a free copy of our Beginners Guide.

How comfortable are you with risk?

There are two main types of ISA: Cash ISAs and Stocks & Shares ISAs.

Cash ISAs work much the same as a savings account, whereas Stocks & Shares ISAs invest your money in a number of different assets with the aim of growing your money over the longer term. Unlike a Cash ISA your investment in a Stocks & Shares ISA could go down as well as up, however it can offer the potential for higher returns.

So, before you choose an ISA you need to decide whether you are looking to save or invest.

If you feel OK about balancing risk with the opportunity of growth you might want to consider investing in a Stocks and Shares ISA. If you don’t like this idea, you might prefer to save in a Cash ISA instead.

Find out whether you’re a risk-taker by taking our quiz or learn more about choosing between a Cash ISA and a Stocks and Shares ISA here.

What types of ISAs are available?

Cash ISA

  • What is a Cash ISA? A Cash ISA is the most basic kind of ISA in which you can deposit cash, and the interest is paid tax-free.
  • Who’s it for? Savers aged 16+ who prefer lower risk saving
  • How does it work? You can pay in up to £20,000 in the current 2018-19 tax year and the interest won’t be taxed.

Stocks and Shares ISA

  • What is a Stocks and Shares ISA? Also known as an Investment ISA, a Stocks & Shares ISA is an investment account where any returns you get will be free from tax.
  • Who’s it for? Savers over the age of 18 who are comfortable balancing risk with the opportunity for growth.
  • How does it work? You can put in a maximum of £20,000 in the current tax year. Instead of simply saving your money, you’re investing it in things like stocks and shares, bonds, gilts or commercial properties, to help your savings grow over several years. But depending on how the stock market performs, the value of your investment could go down as well as up and there’s a risk you may get back less than you put in.

Innovative Finance ISA

  • What is an innovative Finance ISA? This ISA lets you use the money in your ISA to invest in the peer-to-peer lending market.
  • Who’s it for? Savers over 18 who are comfortable balancing peer to peer investment risk with the opportunity for better growth.
  • How does it work? Peer-to-peer lending brings borrowers and lenders together. Because there are no bank fees you could get higher returns but individuals aren’t regulated in the same way as financial institutions so the risks can be higher. The IFISA contributes towards your current 2018/19 £20,000 ISA allowance.

Different types of ISAs have also been created to help you save for specific things.

Lifetime ISA – saving towards your first home or retirement

  • What is a Lifetime ISA? This ISA is designed to help you save towards purchasing your first home, or to save towards your retirement, with government help.
  • Who’s it for? For people aged between 18 and 39 who are saving for their first home, which costs less than £450,000, or who are saving towards their retirement from aged 60.
  • How does it work? You can currently put up to £4,000 into a Lifetime ISA each year, then the government tops up your savings with 25% of what you’ve saved that year (up to a total of £1,000). You can pay into a LISA up until your 50th birthday, and unless you are using the money as a deposit for your first home, you will need to wait until you’re 60 to access your savings. You are still able to cash it in for other reasons, but in most cases this would incur a 25% government charge, applied to the whole amount of your withdrawal.

Help to Buy ISA – saving towards your first home

  • What is a Help to Buy ISA? This ISA is designed to help you save for your first home and also has government help.
  • Who’s it for? People over the age of 16 saving for a home.
  • How does it work? You can use a Help to Buy ISA for any property, as long as it is worth less than £250,000 (£450,000 if the property is in London). The allowance works slightly differently in that you can save up to £1,200 in the first month when you open a Help to Buy ISA and up to £200 a month after that.
  • Similar to the Lifetime ISA, the Government adds a 25% top up on contributions, however there are minimum and maximum top up amounts available. You’ll need to save at least £1,600 to receive the minimum top up of £400, and £12,000 for the maximum £3,000 top up.
  • Help to Buy ISAs are available until December 2019, and the bonus will be applied as long as you purchase your first home by 2029.

Junior ISA – saving for your childs future

  • What is a Junior ISA? This ISA is designed to help families save for their children’s future.
  • Who’s it for? Children under 18 years old.
  • How does it work? You can pay up to £4,260 (in the current 2018/2019 tax year) into your child’s Junior ISA. The child can take control of a Junior ISA when they turn 16, but they cannot withdraw money from the account until they are 18.

Can I switch ISA providers?

As well as opening a new ISA, it’s also possible to transfer your existing ISAs to a new provider providing they accept transfers. Never withdraw the funds and transfer them yourself doing so will count towards your ISA allowance for the new tax year, speak to your new ISA provider about this.

To find out more about ISAs, get a free copy of our Beginners Guide.

The content of this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. We do not offer financial advice. If you’re unsure as to the suitability of a product you should seek advice from a Financial Adviser. You may have to pay for this advice.

Junior ISA tax deadlines for 2018/2019

If you would like to start a Junior ISA, or if you already pay into one for your child or grandchild, don’t forget to open or top up the account before 5 April 2019 if you want to make the most of the tax-free savings allowance for the 2018/2019 tax year.

How much can I invest in a Junior ISA?

Each tax year there is a maximum amount of money you can save into your Junior ISA. For example, during the 2018/2019 tax year, the savings limit for a Junior ISA is £4,260 and this will increase to £4,368 in 2019/2020. So you can save up to a maximum of £4,260 through regular payments, lump sum payments and top ups into your child or grandchild’s Junior ISA up to 5 April 2019 before the new allowance starts on 6 April 2019.

Can I carry my Junior ISA allowance into a new tax year?

The tax year runs from 6 April in one year to 5 April the following year and your allowance refreshes at the start of each tax year. Any allowance which isn’t used by the end of the tax year will be lost, and cannot be carried through to the following tax year or added to your new allowance.

Who can contribute to a Junior ISA?

Here at Foresters Friendly Society, our Junior ISA is a great way to put money aside for your child’s future whether saving regularly or investing a lump sum each year. As a parent/guardian of the child you can stop, start and change the level of contributions at any time during the year, and once opened anyone (such as parents, grandparents, relatives etc.) can pay into the account. You could even encourage your child to make their own contributions using their pocket money to get them into the habit of saving for the future.

The money you invest in our Junior ISA will be invested in our with-profits Order Insurance Fund, which offers the potential for higher returns than a cash ISA and has less risk than would be associated with a Junior ISA that is invested solely in stocks and shares. Once your child turns 18, they will then be able to access their Junior ISA which can then be invested in an adult ISA, or used for anything from their education to buying their first car.

If you’re interested in opening a Junior ISA for your child and want to find out more about how it works then request an information pack today!

You should be aware that in some investment conditions your child may not get back the value of the original investment. Tax rules may change in the future and depend on individual circumstances. Inflation will affect what your child can buy when they cash-in their Junior ISA.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

How to open a Junior ISA in the 2018/2019 tax year

If you are thinking about starting a savings account so you can put aside money for your child’s future, you may be considering a Junior ISA (JISA). These accounts are long-term, tax-free savings for children, which they will have access to when they turn 18.

When it comes to opening a Junior ISA, there are some conditions that need to be followed, so we’ve put together an easy guide for you to see if your child would be eligible.

Who can open a Junior ISA?

A Junior ISA can be set up by a parent or guardian, registering their details as the primary contact until their child turns 16.

Your child must live in the UK and be under the age of 18. If your child is living outside of the UK, you can only open a Junior ISA if they depend on you for care or you are a Crown servant.

Children aged 16 or 17 can open a Junior ISA themselves.

What if my child already has a child trust fund?

If your child already has a child trust fund, they won’t be able to open a Junior ISA at the same time, however you can ask your chosen provider if you can transfer your child’s trust fund to the Junior ISA.

What if my child already has a Junior ISA?

If your child already has a Junior ISA with another provider, you can transfer to the Foresters Junior ISA. You should check any conditions your existing provider may have but we can manage the transfer on your behalf making it easier and quicker for you.

How to open a Junior ISA with Foresters Friendly Society

Here at Foresters Friendly Society, you can open a Junior ISA with a lump sum of £500 or set up a direct debit from £10 a month to make regular payments.

You can also top up the account as and when you want. During the current tax year 2018/2019, the saving limit for a Junior ISA is £4,260 which needs to be used by the 5 April 2019 before this year’s entitlement ends and the allowance refreshes to £4,368 for the next tax year.

Anyone (such as Parents, Grandparents, and Relatives etc.) can contribute to the account’s funds, but no one can access the savings. As the child’s parent or guardian, you will manage the account until they turn 16, at which point they can then take control. Once your child turns 18, they will then have access to the funds to either reinvest into an adult ISA or spend as they please.

If you’re interested in opening a Junior ISA for your child and want to find out more about how it works then request an information pack today!

You should be aware that in some investment conditions your child may not get back the value of the original investment. Tax rules may change in the future and depend on individual circumstances. Inflation will affect what your child can buy when they cash-in their Junior ISA.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

3 things to consider when choosing a Junior ISA in the 2018/2019 tax year

If you are thinking about saving for your child’s future by opening a Junior ISA and are not sure where to start, here is a short checklist of points to consider, to help you along the way.

How long would you like to save for?

You should consider the length of time you will be saving for versus how much you can regularly put away each month or year. The younger your child is when you open a Junior ISA, the more time you will have to reach your savings goal for them.

Which type of Junior ISA is right for you?

Junior ISAs are available as Cash ISAs or Stocks & Shares ISAs and the maximum amount you can invest during the current 2018/2019 tax year is £4,260.

Here at Foresters Friendly Society, our Junior ISA is invested in our with-profits Order Insurance Fund which entails less risk than a Junior ISA that is invested solely in equities since the money is invested across a balanced mix of assets including property, government bonds, and equities. It also offers the potential for higher returns than a cash ISA but has higher risk associated with it. You should also be aware that depending on investment conditions you may not get back the value of your original investment and that inflation will affect what your child can buy when they cash-in their Junior ISA.

Find out more about with profits in this short video:

Have I left it too late?

A Junior ISA can be opened for a child until they turn 18 so it may not be too late to start saving for their future, no matter how big or small. Even if your child is 13 and you put away £50 per month, it would amount to £3,000 before any growth or returns. This could help them with anything from learning to drive to paying towards the costs associated with higher education. Children aged 16 and 17 can open a Junior ISA themselves.

If you’re interested in opening a Junior ISA for your child and want to find out more about how it works then request an information pack today!

Tax rules may change in the future and depend on individual circumstances.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances

Spring is the perfect time to get your finances spruced up for the months ahead. Whether your savings goals are looking a little worse for wear or you just want to get on top of monthly spending habits, our 5 top tips can help you on your way.

1. Plan ahead

Venturing out in the nice weather on days out with the kids or for long weekends away with friends can be costly but being internet savvy can save you more than a pretty penny. Check to see if there are promo codes online or better yet call directly, whether its accommodation, travel or park entry fees – there are usually gems to be found.

2. Alternative transport

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), public transport costs account for our highest weekly outgoings – taking up a huge 14.1% of our income. Although it may not be an option for everyone, changing up your daily commute can help save money. Cycling, walking or even running to or from work could be an option, and for longer journeys car sharing is another great way to save on fuel.

3. Set a budget and stick to it

A budget can help you control your spending and show you where you need to make improvements. Helping you to think about money a little bit harder so that you can reach those sought-after financial goals. The key is to make sure you don’t spend what you don’t have; credit cards and overdrafts can give us a distorted view of how much money we actually have.

4. Don’t add to current debt

Once you’ve got your budget in place, it can help you identify ways to reduce your outgoings so that you free up some money to help you start saving or to help you clear existing debt instead of adding to it. A good place to start is by looking at your direct debits and decide if you could live without them, like gym memberships or online streaming services. The money saved will add up over time and can be put towards something much more worthwhile.

5. Make your money work its hardest

No matter what your savings goals are, finding the most suitable products to meet them, is key. There are lots of different saving vehicles out there, each suited depending on who you’re saving for, the length of time you’d like to save, your risk appetite and whether you need access to your money.

Here at Foresters Friendly Society we have a range of affordable saving and investment products to help you save for your or your child’s future. Take a look here to find out more.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

6 simple and practical ways to save money in 2019

With the January blues behind us, and a brand new year ahead to start afresh with our financial planning, there’s no better time than the present to start saving money! Follow these 6 simple tips to identify where you can save money and how you can make those savings work harder for you:

1. Create a personal survival budget

Make a spreadsheet showing all your essential monthly expenditure. It should include items like mortgage/rent, rates, utility bills, travel and car maintenance costs, credit card payments, plus essentials like clothing and food. Your completed sheet will tell you the minimum income you need to survive each month. See how to create a savings budget that works for you.

2. Spring clean your current account

Are you guilty of joining the gym and never going? Do you have a magazine subscription but never actually get round to reading it? Are you paying a direct debit for a service you no longer need? A quick glance over your monthly outgoings can flag any subscriptions or direct debits you no longer require. If you bank online you can usually stop these unnecessary payments with the click of a button.

3. Sell unwanted gifts and possessions

Raise cash by selling unwanted items from around your home. Take advantage of online marketplaces like eBay, Preloved and Facebook, as well as specialist sites for second-hand CDs, DVDs and books. There’s a huge trend for upcycling furniture at the moment, so before you take that table to the tip, why not try selling it online or at a car boot sale. Remember, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!

4. Write a weekly food menu and order online

Get organised and minimise food waste by downloading and filling in an online meal planner. Try to do some batch cooking and freeze meals ready for evenings when you’re short on time. Once you have your plan, try shopping online and take advantage of low cost or free delivery slots. You’ll avoid impulse buys and those “Please can I have…” moments with the kids in the supermarket.

5. Set up a monthly standing order to a savings account

This is a fantastic way to cover the cost of your annual family holiday or save for a big purchase without knowing you’re doing it. A standing order will ensure you don’t miss the money and you’ll be surprised how quickly your savings mount up.

6. Take advantage of tax efficient savings such as ISAs

Every UK taxpayer has an annual tax-free savings allowance, currently £20,000 for 2018/19, meaning you can save up to this amount and not pay tax on any interest you gain. There are two types of ISA available – Cash ISAs and Stocks & Shares ISAs. You can save your full tax-free allowance in one of these types, or split it between them, however you cannot roll-over any unused allowance into the next tax year. That means if you don’t use it, you lose it! So when you’ve finished selling all your unwanted gifts, cancelled unused subscriptions and saved money on your food shop, you could put that extra cash in an ISA!

For more information or to request an information pack about Foresters Friendly’s Stocks & Shares ISA, click here or apply online today for a Foresters Stocks & Shares ISA.

Please note that tax rules may change in the future and depend on your individual circumstances.

The content of this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. We do not offer financial advice. If you’re unsure as to the suitability of a product you should seek advice from a Financial Adviser. You may have to pay for this advice.

How to keep your resolutions going

It’s often all too easy to find a reason for ditching something that feels like hard work. But all is not lost – we speak to the experts about their tips and tricks for staying on track with your New Year resolutions.

No more excuses:

Talking yourself out of your good intentions with the same old excuses? Coaching Psychologist Jessica Chivers offers some positive answers to silence your inner cynic…

I haven’t got time!

When we say we haven’t got time what we’re really saying is that it’s not a priority. You need to work out what’s important and what you can let slide.

I can’t do it!

Confidence needs to be stretched and tested in situations that make us feel uncomfortable, so that it grows. It’s after doing something difficult that you look back with pride and think ‘I did that!’ And if you’re thinking ‘I can’t do it!’ because you’ve set yourself a big goal, it’s easier to break this into smaller actions that are more manageable. So, for example, if your goal is to become a writer, you could set yourself the task of writing a blog three times a week.

It won’t make any difference…

Instead, try adopting an attitude of ‘I won’t know unless I try’. Focus on what there is to gain from making the change and weighing that against what the downside might be (writing these thoughts down may be helpful).

A little kindness never goes amiss

You’re more likely to keep your resolutions going if you’re not too hard on yourself. Psychologist and life coach Cliff Arnall recommends patience, if you fail to stick to your resolution see it as a blip rather than a relapse. Remember that it can take two or three years to give up a habit such as smoking. What’s more, ‘giving up’ something can cause feelings of loss. It’s really important to replace it with something that’s good for you.

Add an incentive

Introducing a reward for sticking to a resolution can help get you back on track. For example, if you’ve decided to give something up such as smoking, your daily latte habit or the Friday night takeaway, save the money instead of frittering it.

Or, if it works better for you the other way round, try a self-imposed fine every time you arrive somewhere late or fail to go to the gym – whatever it is that you’re trying to do/not to do.

This way, you could also develop a regular savings habit and transform your finances. For example, imagine if you cut back on your daily latte habit and could then save £25 a month – that’s £300 a year, or £3,000 over 10 years!

Want to make next year the year you get savings savvy? Take a look at our 12 easy money saving tips for the coming year.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

You should also be aware that in some investment conditions and depending on the product you have chosen, you may get back less than you have paid in.

5 Ways to Make a Little Extra Cash for Christmas This Year

The average household spent £821 on Christmas in 2017, according to figures from VoucherCodes and 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 GBW, 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: Any sources of extra income should be declared to HMRC.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.