If the prospect of being stuck at home for England’s second lockdown fills you with dread, why not use the extra time indoors to examine your finances and look at ways to boost your bank balance?
Here are 25 ideas to help get you started…
If you didn’t get around to having a clear-out in the spring lockdown, the next four weeks provide the perfect opportunity to declutter your home and sell anything (in decent condition!) that you no longer need.
Private sellers on eBay can list up to 1,000 items each month free of charge (you’ll pay 35p per listing after that), and you’ll pay 10% of the final transaction value plus postage. Alternatively, you can sell fee-free on local Facebook groups and Facebook Marketplace.
Thanks to the introduction of the trading allowance in April 2017, you can earn £1,000 a year from a hobby or start-up business without paying tax or even reporting it. This applies whether you’re selling goods on eBay or crafts on sites such as Etsy.
It’s estimated that the typical adult has a whopping £598 worth of unused gadgets gathering dust around the home. But rather than sitting on this redundant tech, why not get paid to recycle old mobile phones, computer games and tablets on websites such as musicMagpie, Mazuma Mobile, Envirofone, CeX and Ziffit? Many will take unwanted CDs, DVDs and books, too.
As an example, you can expect to earn an average of:
If you’ve built up a significant collection of Lego over the years, musicMagpie will buy it off you by the half kilo or kilo. You’ll get £3 for each kilo you want to sell.
Lego does not have to be sold in matching sets, but it must be authentic and in good condition. All you’ll need to do is put it in a bag, weigh it, get your valuation and send it off free of charge.
Bear in mind that if you have complete Lego sets in good nick, you may earn more selling it through eBay.
Sites such as Cash for Cartridges, Cartridge World, Recycle Ink Cartridges and Infotone enable you to exchange your empty printer cartridges in return for cash. Most sites will ask you to post off your empty cartridges, but some will collect them on your behalf.
Make sure you research your options carefully as not all ink cartridges are accepted and the amount of cash you’ll get will vary depending on the make and model of the cartridge. As a rough guide, you can expect to earn anywhere between 50p and £2 per cartridge, while some sites also offer Tesco Clubcard points.
Swedish furniture giant IKEA is set to launch a new buy back scheme later this month that allows you to sell your old furniture back to the store. The furniture must have originally been bought from IKEA and to get the process started, you’ll need to provide details about the item you want to sell, including photos.
The item will then be valued and if you’re happy with the price, you can take the item to your nearest store – in England you will need to wait until stores open after lockdown.
If you have a spare room, the government’s Rent a Room scheme allows you to earn up to £7,500 per year tax-free from letting it out to a lodger, providing the room is furnished. This is on top of your tax-free personal allowance of £12,500.
The tax exemption is automatic if your rental income is less than £7,500. If you earn more, you’ll need to complete a tax return, opt into the scheme and then claim your tax-free allowance.
Alternatively, you can rent out your spare room or your whole home through Airbnb – though this will have to wait until lockdown restrictions have eased. Again, you can benefit from the £7,500 tax-free Rent a Room allowance.
Always talk to your home insurer and mortgage provider before renting out a room or your entire home.
If you don’t have a spare room, you could consider hiring out spare storage space instead. Sites such as Stashbee and Storemates match those with spare garages, sheds or attics with those who need the extra storage space. Stashbee reckons you can earn around £75 a month from renting out a loft outside London, while hiring out your basement could net you around £100 a month.
Figures from YourParkingSpace show that new booking customers have increased by 70% in the past three months, with the average annual driveway income now standing at £1,106.
Did you know that you can get paid to use your home as a film or TV location? Agencies such as Film Locations and Amazing Space allow you to register your home for free, no matter what type of property you live in.
Film and TV production has been given permission to continue during lockdown under strict guidelines, so it could well be worth registering your interest. Expect to earn anywhere between £500 and £2,000 a day.
Sign up to become a mystery shopper and you’ll get paid to go into shops, restaurants and pubs to rate their customer service and their quality of goods. How much you’ll earn will vary depending on the agency. Sites worth checking out include Grass Roots and Retail Maxim.
Alternatively, test out new products, such as food, drink or toys, before they are launched and get paid for your review. You’ll usually be paid in either cash or gift vouchers, so if you’re interested take a look at Paid Product Testing to find out more.
Sites such as Valued Opinions, Panelbase and YouGov will pay you for filling in online surveys and providing your opinion. You can expect to earn anywhere between 25p and £10 each time (note that YouGov offers points that you can turn into cash).
Classified ad sites such as Gumtree and Airtasker can connect you with people in the local area looking for help with tasks such as mowing the lawn, dog-walking, data entry, or cleaning. Keep in mind that you’ll need to be careful which tasks you accept due to social distancing and lockdown restrictions.
On the back of school closures earlier this year, many people are now turning to extra tuition to help their children get back up to speed. This means there’s money to be made through online tutoring with sites such as MyTutor and Tutorful. Depending on your level of experience you can expect to earn around £20 to £30 an hour.
If you’re particularly creative, why not use the time at home to get crafting and sell your jewellery, cards, artwork and other homemade goods on sites such as Etsy and Redbubble? Just make sure you check out how much you’ll be charged for listing items and selling before you sign up.
If you’re a budding photographer, you can also sell your snaps online to stock photography sites such as Shutterstock and Alamy. Every time someone downloads or purchases your image, you’ll earn a little cash (once any commission has been deducted).
If you’re a keen writer, designer or web developer, you can earn a little extra income by signing up to platforms such as Upwork and Worksome. You’ll either be matched to jobs that suit your skills, or you can bid on certain projects.
One of the easiest ways to give your income a boost is to shop around and make sure you’re on the best possible deal for household bills such as broadband and energy, plus car and home insurance. You could be surprised at how much you save simply by taking the time to switch to a more competitive deal.
Research by Hargreaves Lansdown shows that 48% of us can’t be bothered to switch savings account and could be missing out on £7 billion a year in interest as a result.
This lack of impetus is hardly surprising given that most savings accounts are paying next to nothing, but there is still a big difference between the worst paying and the best paying accounts. In fact, by switching from a typical high street easy access account to the best on the market, you could get 96 times the interest rate, according to the firm.
A number of banks currently offer a cash incentive of up to £125 for switching current accounts. So if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get a cash boost, why not look into moving to a more competitive deal?
If you routinely pay off your credit card balance in full each month, using a cashback credit card will give you money back as you spend. You’ll earn more if you use your card for your everyday spending, but make sure you don’t spend more than you can afford to pay back as interest rates can be high.
Alternatively, you could apply for a rewards card that offers airmiles or loyalty points at vouchers in your favourite retailer or supermarket. You can find out more in our guide to reward credit cards.
And if you’re paying interest on a credit card balance, read my guide to switching to a 0% balance transfer card, which will give you breathing space to pay down your debt
If you’re planning to do a lot of your Christmas shopping online over lockdown, be sure to use a cashback website such as TopCashback, Quidco or My Money Pocket each time you make a purchase. Cashback sites let you earn a percentage of your spend back when you shop at certain retailers and are an easy way to earn a little extra.
Finally, it’s worth checking you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to by using the nifty calculator on the Entitledto website.