Although the recession is thankfully behind us, the effects are still being felt, with many households feeling the pinch.
But no fear, there are many ways to get your hands on a little extra cash which can make a real difference.
Try one (or more!) or these great little earners to make some more money on the side.
Be a host to a foreign student
If you have a spare room and don’t like the idea of a regular lodger, you could rent it out to an international exchange student. You can do this for a specific period, e.g. over the summer, when demand is even higher, or throughout the entire academic year.
Students who study in a school near to you could pay up to £250 a week for room and board (which includes food too) – which can add up to many hundreds of pounds over the course of a month or a peak season like summer.
You can find a list of participating schools in your area through the International Association of Language Centres at www. Ialc.org. Then you can register your spare room at www.homestaywebc.om. Please note, membership costs £30 a year but this is easily earned back once you get your first students in.
Do you like to party?
Today’s profit-making parties are no longer all about Tupperware. By becoming a party consultant you can organise parties based on a particular interest, like cooking, or make up. Your role is to get together a group of potential buyers and demonstrate products to the host and their guests in an informal, fun and party-like atmosphere. As well as being a fun way to earn, Jamie Oliver’s party scheme, for example, could earn you 20% commission on all your sales. Find out more at www.jamieathome.com. The Body Shop is another popular option, which pays 24% commission, with the maximum amount you can earn rising the more you sell. Check out www.thebodyshop.,com. How much you earn of course depends on how many parties you’re prepared to organise and how many guests attend and buy. Companies offer added incentives to make additional sales too. So, if you’re a social butterfly and get to know the products reasonably well, this is a great, fun and social way to earn.
Love shopping? Want to earn some cash rather than spend it? You could earn up to £50 per shopping project as a mystery shopper, which includes shops as well as restaurants. Simply register with a well-known market research organisation such as www.mysteryshopper.gfk.com and you can select from a range of assignments. You’ll be asked to judge the level and quality of customer service you experience either in person, over the phone or online and then provide detailed feedback. There is no shortage of different mystery shopping assignments and you can choose them to fit around lifestyle.
Do you have good administrative skills? If you’re in need of extra cash and flexibility, you could register as a ‘virtual assistant’ and earn extra cash taking on a range of administrative tasks. With many organisations unable to commit to a permanent administrator, but still requiring regular work of this nature, this is proving a popular way for businesses to get their admin done. You could earn up to £25 per hour for all kinds of office services you can easily do in the comfort and convenience of your own home. You can find out more about this line of work at www.allianceofvirtualassistants.org.uk
Sell your old books online
If you’re an avid reader, you’re likely to have a whole bookshelf full of books just waiting to be converted into cash. All kinds of websites offer the opportunity to sell your books, including Ebay, but the most popular and straight forward approach is to register as a seller with www.amazon.com. Once you’ve signed up, simply search for the title of your item (you can do this via the item’s ISBN or UPC code or by its title) and get selling! It’s not just books either – you could also sell your unwanted cds and dvds. Popular titles and authors are sure to sell even faster. It’s a hassle-free process too as Amazon sells items at fixed prices and postage is also fixed according to the item, so no need for those measuring scales! They can also remain on the site for as long as required until they’re sold, as there’s no cut-off date.
Be paid for your opinion
If you’re good at expressing your opinion, this could be the new source of cash for you. You can get paid up to £100 for around two hours’ work attending focus groups, which involved group discussion, led by a facilitator to get your feedback on anything from a new washing powder to customer service and what you look for during a hotel stay. There are all kinds of agencies willing to pay for your views. Try www.leftfield.co.uk, an agency which sources people for such activities and supplies them to their range of clients. You can also earn by filling out online surveys, in both cash and in the form of vouchers. There’s more information on this line of work at www.valuedopinions.co.uk.
Getting a lodger
Do you have a room spare which you wouldn’t mind turning into a stream of ready cash? If so, getting a lodger in could be the answer for you. It doesn’t mean you have to share your home all the time – perhaps you could rent it out for certain months of the year, or just for the working week – Monday to Friday is proving popular for working people who no longer want to commute long distances to and from their workplace. Many working people now opt for this and return to their own homes at the weekend, leaving yours to yourself. There are specialist websites for weekday-only lodgers where you can advertise your room. These may charge for the initial advertisement but the cost of around £30 is easily redeemed once you get your first lodger in. Check out www.mondaytofriday.com for further info. And remember, you can earn up to £4250 in rent before you have to pay any income tax on it, so this is a great way to make a big difference to your bank balance.
Do you have a driveway you don’t use? The space in front of your house could be the start of the easiest additional income you could make. The exact amount will depend on your home’s location, how close it is to transport links and whether there is a surplus or shortage of parking in the area. To give you an idea of what your space could be worth, check out www.parkatmyhouse.com. You could pocket anything between £50 and £300 per month. It’s worth noting that some sites charge a commission of your earnings though so shop around for the best arrangement.
Do you have a particular talent, skill or strength? You could become a full or part time tutor and get paid to teach children or adults. Perhaps you’re good at maths or can play an instrument to a particularly high standard? If so, families pay up to £30 per hour for tutors to help their child with a particular subject in the comfort of their own home (or perhaps your own, if suitable). Preparation for key school academic or musical exams is popular, as well as general tutoring which enables a child to make steady and regular progress. To find tutoring roles in your local area, you can visit www.firsttutors.co.uk, www.uktutors.co.uk or www.tutorhunt.com.
Do you have the patience to be a patient?
If you’re happy in a medical environment, you could earn an hourly rate as a simulated patient. This involves playing the part of a real life patient so medical students can develop their communications skills and learn how to make correct diagnoses. Hospitals and training centres run communications workshops regularly for their trainee doctors, giving them the opportunity to hone their all-important bedside manner as well as their medical expertise. The Bute Medical School at the University of St. Andrews pays around £7 an hour, with sessions lasting up to 4 hours. You can find out about this particular scheme at www.medicine.st-andrews.ac.uk
Now you should have some good ideas about how to make additional income that suits your lifestyle, so good luck with it all. And please remember, you need to declare any additional sources of income to HM Revenue and Customs. If you are earning extra thanks to self-employment, you need to register. Simply call the HMRC helpline on 08459 154515 by the third calendar month after you start earning or you could be landed with a £100 fine. Visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/selfemployed for further details.