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Ways to make extra money in the cost of living crisis

From taking part in online surveys to applying for a charitable grant, here’s how to make money in the cost of living crisis

How do you make extra money to boost your income in the cost of living crisis? Now and again we all need to find some other ways to make money, whether it’s getting through a tricky month, saving for something special, or increasing your income in the long term.

With the UK in a cost of living crisis, the reality is that salaries and benefits just aren’t stretching as far as they used to and the government and many employers have yet to step in with meaningful help. We all need to find ways to make and save a little bit of extra cash from time to time, and there are safe and effective ways to do it.

They might only be a sticking plaster, but people are always looking for simple ways to get some extra cash. Here are a few ways to make extra money when you need it:

Top tips on quick, easy ways to make money online and offline

Take part in online surveys 

Yes, you can be paid to answer questions online. Researchers and companies are always looking for people to take part in their surveys. They tend to only pay a couple of pounds for your time, but every little helps and that could add up to hundreds of pounds a year. 

Be careful about only giving data to companies you trust – some websites aren’t always clear about how exactly they use your information. Also know that giving over your email address will mean you might be subjected to all of the company’s marketing in the future! It’s a good idea to set up a dedicated email address and check it regularly so you don’t miss out on a survey opportunity. 

A few popular options for online surveys are Branded Surveys, i-Say, Swagbucks and Google Opinion Rewards.

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Have a car boot sale

You can make a lot of cash quickly by having a big clearout and heading to a car boot sale. Some car boot sales are visited by hundreds of people every week, and you might just earn a lot of money. 

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Many have a small fee which sellers have to pay – so you’ll have to consider whether you’re likely to make enough of a profit. Sometimes, it works best to sell a lot of items for a cheap price. But make sure not to sell anything valuable for a knock-off deal – it might be better to sell your valuables online or to an antiques store.

Find out where your local car boot sale is here.

Become a Big Issue vendor

Could you or someone you know benefit from becoming a Big Issue vendor? You’ll have total flexibility to earn immediate cash today, work your own hours and manage your own time.

You only need yourself and some magazines – and we’ll give you 10 free magazines to get you started. You will also receive our special starter pack for free, get on-hand support from our staff, and your own pitch to sell on. 

Big Issue vendors can earn  £150 a week, based on selling 100 magazines. They can also get tailored support in areas such as healthcare, financial and digital confidence and sales coaching. Further training programmes and work placements are also available. 

Find out more about becoming a Big Issue vendor here. 

Sell your old clothes

You can sell your old clothes on websites and apps like Depop, eBay and Vinted. Make sure to take good quality pictures of your clothes where they are looking their best, be honest about the item you are trying to sell and be realistic about pricing. 

If you build up a good reputation as a seller, people will be likely to come back and the sites will recommend you before your competition. More people are turning to second hand clothing stores to buy their clothes in a rejection of fast fashion trends, so it’s worth getting on board with the trend yourself if you’ve got old clothes to sell. 

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Turn your hobby into a side hustle

Are you brilliant at knitting? Have you got a talent for arts and crafts? You could set up your own Etsy shop and sell your work online. You’ll only pay 17p to set up an Etsy account and list your first item – but after you sell an item, Etsy will charge you commission. 

There are perks to selling on a website like Etsy as it’s used by millions of people across the world. But there’s a lot of competition, and you’ll need to make sure your product has a high profit margin. Another way of doing it is to use social media – if you can build a good following, it will be much easier to sell products. 

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It takes a lot of organisation and planning to turn your hobby into something that will actually make you a profit, but many people make it work and it can be a lot of fun. 

Apply for a charitable grant

If you are struggling financially, you may be eligible for charitable grants. You can find out what grants might be available using Turn2Us’ grant search. Grants are also usually available to people who have no recourse to public funds and cannot claim welfare benefits. Turn2Us helps people to access grants and support services if they’re in financial difficulty – especially important now we’re facing a cost of living crisis. If you contact them, they’ll check what’s available to you.

Got a decent parking space? Rent out your driveway for the day

Those of us who drive all know the agony of trying to find a parking space. So it’s no surprise that apps and websites like Just Park, Your Parking Space and Park on My Drive are becoming more popular. You can rent out your driveway or parking spot for a few hours or a day and you’ll be saving someone the worry of having to find a space! If you don’t already have a car parked there or you know you’ll be out, it’s a great way of making some easy cash. 

Get a credit card that pays you

If you spend using a cashback credit card, you receive a percentage of your money back – either in cash or with points that you can convert into vouchers for discounts at various shops. 

You could potentially earn hundreds each year, but you will have to be careful or it could actually end up costing you. The main thing to keep in mind is that you should only be spending what you can afford. You will be hit with interest if you don’t pay off your bill in full every month. 

Money Saving Expert advises you to set up a direct debit to repay it every month and only use the card for your normal spending, rather than using it as an excuse to overspend. Another important tip is never to withdraw cash on this card, because you’ll often be charged a fee and interest. 

One option is American Express’ Platinum Cashback Everyday card. You’ll get 5 per cent cashback for the first three months on spending up to £100. After that, you’ll get 0.5 per cent cashback on spending up to £10,000 and 1 per cent cashback on spending above that. There’s no fee but, if you fail to repay fully, you’ll be charged interest at 26 per cent representative APR. 

Another option is a Nectar card, where you can earn points at selected retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Argos and eBay. And Lloyds Bank Mastercard will give you £20 bonus cashback when you spend over £1,000 in the first 90 days. After that, you’ll get 0.25 per cent cashback on all spending up to £4,000 per year and 0.5 per cent on any spending above that. 

Download a cashback app

Airtime Rewards will help you save money off your mobile bill with O2, EE, Vodafone and others. All you need to do is link your bank card and then you just shop as normal at more than 150 retailers both in-store and online. 

These include Argos, Boots, Greggs, Wilko and Boohoo. The app will automatically track your spending and reward you with 1 to 10 per cent cashback on every purchase. 

Once you’ve built up enough cashback, you can redeem it as credit against your phone bill. You can also use it alongside other cashback sites like TopCashback – so you can get even more off your bill. 

Refer a friend

Many businesses run schemes where you can refer a friend and get money as a reward. On the website Refer Me Happy, you’ll find a few of the best ones listed. This includes Virgin Media – if you refer a friend, you could both pocket up to £50 in cash. If your friend was already thinking about joining Virgin Media anyway, it’s definitely worth it!

Octopus Energy also has a £50 referral scheme, as does the co-operative bank. Another option is Monzo, which will give you and your friend £5 when you refer them. 

Check if you are eligible for benefits

People struggling with money may be eligible for benefits, welfare support and tax credits. There is support available for people working or unemployed, sick or disabled, a parent, a young person, an older person or a veteran. You can use the charity Turn2Us’ benefits calculator to find out what benefits you are entitled to claim. 

If you’re not sure where to start, Citizens Advice offers information and services to help people and they can advise you as to what financial support is available from the government to help you. You can find out more about the government’s cost of living payments here and about what support is available from the government to pay your energy bills here.

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