There are scores of legit ways to add to your income, whether selling stuff, working from home or going online. After all, no matter how good a MoneySaver you are, a bit more money's always useful.
This guide to how to make money, possibly gaining £1,000s of extra cash, is designed to work alongside your tips in the forum.
In this guide...
Make your money work harder
Too many of us let cash languish in accounts or in products paying rotten returns. Shake off this laziness and make your money work harder, plus hunt down any forgotten funds or concealed cash. You may be amazed at what you find.
Give yourself a 25% pay rise
There's nowt more powerful than sorting out your own finances. By shifting to the best deal on every product, you can give yourself a 25% pay rise, without cutting back. Before anything else, this is the most important starting point.
How much? The average UK family could gain £2,500 to £5,000 a year doing this.
How do I do it? Use the step-by-step Money Makeover guide.
Get paid every time you spend
Cashback credit cards pay you back a proportion of what you spend each time you use them.
Set up a direct debit to pay the card off in full each month, so there's no interest cost, and you can earn £100s/year. Just use the card for all your normal spending.
How much? The top cards pay 5% cashback for the first three months. It's also possible to get 3% for petrol/transport and 1% for supermarkets.
How do I do it? For updated best buys, see the Top Cashback Cards guide.
Don't accept pitiful savings rates
Make sure you're getting the most out of your savings. Too many people leave their savings in pitiful high street bank accounts where former best buy rates have dropped massively.
Even worse, you may have it in a current account earning just 0.1%. Stop! Five minutes' work will let you increase the interest massively.
How much? For every £5,000 you have in a top easy access savings account, as a basic rate taxpayer you'd earn at least £52 a year more than in a poor account - potentially much more if you're able to tuck it away for a couple of years.
Pay off debts with savings
Most people who try to save while they're in debt are simply throwing their money away. The amount you pay in interest to borrow is much more than you earn on your savings, so pay the debt off with savings and you're quids in.
How much? Someone with £5,000 on a credit card and £5,000 saved is likely to be around £800 a year better off by paying off the debt with the savings.
Get the benefits you're entitled to
There's a plethora of benefits available - the key is working out whether you're entitled to them. The rather nifty tool from benefits specialists Entitledto in our Benefits Checkup guide does the work for you. Its regularly-updated calculator works out everything you can get.
How much? If you've a family income under £46,000 it's worth checking. But in rare cases families with £73,000 can qualify, as you could get any of these: working tax credit; housing benefit; council tax support; pension credit; child benefit and child tax credit. By boosting your state pension, you could end up £1,000s better off.
Use your credit rating to stooze
Many credit card companies are willing to lend you money at 0% interest, so why not use this cash for everyday spending, replacing all other credit & debit card spending?
This means you'll now have debts on your 0% card (make sure you make the min repayment each month) and a similar amount in your current account, which you can save in an ISA or high interest savings account.
Pay off the full balance before the 0% ends, having earned interest on the money saved. This is known as stoozing. It's legal and can be profitable, yet it's only for the really financially-savvy.
How much? This depends on what you'd normally spend. It's this amount that will be gaining interest in a top savings account, but if you stoozed £5,000 in a top rate ISA, you'd earn around £75 over the year.
How do I do it? Use the step-by-step Stoozing: Make Free Cash guide.
Flog what you've got - declutter and sell it!
Whenever you finish using something, whether it's kids' clothes they've grown out of or an embarrassing old CD... flog it!
Remember, if the buyer needs you to send items via registered or special delivery, this is an additional cost to take into account when calculating if it's worth it. Some sites also require a minimum number of items or overall trade-in value, so check these first.
Flog on eBay for best prices
If you've got it, and don't need it, flog it. Selling on eBay* usually pays best, yet to really get the eBay cash rolling in, you need to know the etiquette and shortcuts.
Our 40+ eBay Selling Tricks guide offers a crash course, explaining how to cut fees, the best time to close auctions, profit from bizarre items you never thought you'd sell and more.
How much? Dedicated sellers make £100s on the side.
Got an eBay question? Join eBay nerds in the eBay and Auctions forum board.
Sell for free on local Facebook groups
Local Facebook groups are where, instead of eBaying second-hand goods, people harness Facebook’s power to sell to others in the local community. The best bit is there are NO fees, so you keep the profit.
The idea’s simple: sellers post ads for unwanted goods, and buyers pop round and pay cash in hand if they’re happy. Think old-school free classified sites.
Facebook’s a good bet for mainstream goods such as Wiis, settees and spare TVs, but less so for niche wares such as high-end art or spare headlights for an Aston Martin DB9.
For a crash course in how to earn £100s, see our Facebook Selling guide. It tells you how to find the right local groups and get the best price, plus make sure you stay safe when selling.
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Quicker cash for old CDs, DVDs & more
Several sites let you quickly trade in old CDs, DVDs, computer games and Blu-rays for cash. The sites are easy to use and give instant quotes, so if you've got loads to get rid of, you could speedily make a bit extra. Also see how to get max cash for old books.
How do I do it? Type in the barcode, ISBN or product name on the site to get an instant valuation. Each site is different, and some offer more for certain items than others, so always compare a few. Some also have a minimum number of items you need to trade in, or a minimum overall value needed, so you may need a few to sell.
Once you've compared and found the top payer, you simply accept the valuations and send your stuff to the them. Postage is usually free, but always check. Always ensure items are packed well, as, in most cases, any that fail basic quality checks will not be sent back to you.
You'll then get paid, either by cheque, bank transfer, vouchers or store credit, depending which service you've used. All these companies aim to send payment for accepted items within about seven or eight days of receiving them, though forumites' feedback suggests it can be longer.
How much? The amount you'll make depends on what you're flogging. As a rough guide, you'll generally get up to about £1 for CDs, £1.50 for DVDs and £15 for computer games, though it can be a lot less. Where these websites win is convenience.
The top trade-in sites. This table shows the main players, and what you can trade in with each. They have been chosen based on feedback from the forum. If you've had a positive or negative experience with any of these, please post in the individual forum threads.
Remember there's no protection if things go wrong or a site goes bust. We don't check companies' solvency.
|Blu-rays||Books||CDs||DVDs||Games||What's feedback like?|
|Music Magpie*||Music Magpie is well-established and feedback's reasonable, though prices aren't always top. Please feed back your views.|
|Amazon Trade-in*||Amazon is an established player, but prices aren't always best. Please feed back.|
|WeBuyBooks||Forumites' fave WeBuyBooks.co.uk can be the top payer for books, and some DVDs and CDs. Please feed back your experiences.|
|CeX||CeX has been trading for 20 years, and offers cash or store credit for trade-ins. Please feed back what you thought.|
|GameXchange||GameXchange is generally best for retro games (postage isn't free). Please feed back.|
|Momox||Forumites rate Momox for trading in books, though CDs/DVDs aren't so well paid. Please feed back what you thought.|
Can I do better elsewhere? Yes. Though hoarders of '90s CD relics and games could make £100s on the side, for more recent items you may be better off selling 'em individually on eBay* or other auction sites. You may do better trading in computer games at high street game shops - check these too.
Get max cash for old books
Listing books one-by-one on eBay* may get the most cash, but it'll take some time. One of the best options for selling old books is Amazon Marketplace*, as you need only search for the book and write a short description. Your listing stays up till it sells.
Amazon provides full reviews of most from its database - if you're listing a few in one go, this saves time. It automatically adds £2.80 for delivery, so ensure your sale price covers postage if it's a heavy tome. If you're a professional seller then you will have to pay £25 a month, but if you're just selling a few items it's 75p per item. For books Amazon then charges 15% on top as a fee. (It's different for other items, for a full list see Amazon fees.)
Use trade-in sites for less hassle. If you need speed and ease, trade-in websites let you enter details, they offer a price, and you post goods free. For books, two of the best are WeBuyBooks.co.uk and Amazon Trade-In*. Prices can be lower than selling them yourself and you get credit instead of cash if using Amazon.
For more on how Amazon Trade-In prices compare with other methods, see the Amazon Trade-In launches MSE news story. See the Quicker cash for old CDs, DVDs & more section for a full list of trade-in sites.
How much? Potentially £100s if you're selling pricey textbooks, less if it's old paperbacks.
Find out more: See the forum's Sell Your Books thread.
Spot & flog from car boot/garage sales
If you've an eye for car booty, buy items cheaply and sell them at a profit on eBay or other auction sites. Be sure to arrive early to beat other bargain hunters. You can use Car Boot Junction or Carbootsales.org to find your nearest car boot sale.
The big money lies in spotting collectables to sell on, so research online first or (subtly) use your mobile phone's web browser.
There's a quick way to glean a product's market value on eBay*. Fill in the search box and tick 'completed listings' on the left-hand grey bar. It'll come up with a list of prices similar auctions have already fetched. Then sort by "Price: lowest first". If the price is red, it means no one bought it. Green means it sold.
How much? The earning potential increases with your knowledge of rare items and collectable brands, and a little luck doesn't go amiss either. If you're in the right place at the right time, this could net you £100s extra a year.
Flog old gold
“Sell unwanted gold for CASH!” TV, mags and billboard ads pulse with promises, yet rarely seem to live up to them.
However, amid the scrap are shining examples – meaning £14 per 9ct stud earrings and £55 per 18ct gold ring is possible.
How much? Do it the right way and, depending on how much bling you unearth, it's possible to make jaw-dropping sums, as MoneySaver Goochie did.
I sent off 32g of gold (old broken earrings and chains that I haven't worn for 20+ years) and 35g of silver yesterday afternoon by special delivery (by 1pm), and got £272!
Find out more: Full tips on avoiding rip-offs and maximising your earnings in Sell Gold for Max Cash.
Sell your story
Journalists are always looking for dramatic stories. If you've been in an extreme situation, come close to death or have any other gripping or extraordinary tales to tell about your life, why not get paid and have it published? Even amusing photos can earn good cash prizes in some magazines.
Many magazines pay a premium for interesting letters and photos. Love It! magazine pays £100 if your printed pic wins its Cute Wars comp (email firstname.lastname@example.org). Woman's Own's Smart Shopper page pays £20 for every money saving reader tip that it uses. (Email email@example.com).
Love It! also pays out £50 for shameful holiday snaps (dodgy sunburn, tanning disasters) that win its You’ve Been Shamed category (email firstname.lastname@example.org). Love It! doesn’t pay for every printed pic.
How much? A 'star letter' will usually fetch at least £20 in magazines, pictures up to £100.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions, or add your own in the Sell your story thread.
Recycle old printer cartridges for cash
Printer cartridges are expensive, sometimes even more costly than the printers themselves. So, next time one runs out, offset the cost of a new one by recycling the empty one for cash, or Tesco Clubcard points.
There are lots of recycling sites out there, so do a bit of research to find out which are the best payers for your cartridges - some pay as much as £2 per cartridge. Try Cash For Cartridges, Recycle Ink Cartridges and Infotone.
Though some recycling sites will take your empty cartridges, they may only pay for certain ones, so check feedback and compare prices. There are lots of suggestions in the forum.
Alternatively, recycle the empty cartridges with Tesco and earn up to 125 Clubcard points for each cartridge. Each point is worth 1p in store but up to four times as much if you redeem on goodies with Clubcard Boost such as breakdown cover, days out and holidays away. See The Recycling Factory for full details.
Read more about Tesco Clubcard: There's more on maximising Tesco Clubcard points in the Boost Tesco Points guide.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' recommendations, or add your own, in the Recycling printer cartridges for cash thread.
Rent it out for cash
It's amazing what you can rent out for cash, especially if you live in a desirable area. Ensure you get the most out of your property - even your parking space can be profitable.
Take in a lodger or play guesthouse, then cut your tax bill
If you've space and don’t mind sharing your home, renting out a room is a fast way to earn £100s. The Government offers some tax incentives to those who do so. What's more, as a landlord you’re expected to ask for a month in advance, which means ready cash comes in quickly.
One option’s taking a long-term lodger. If that’s too big a commitment, consider Airbnb and Wimdu, which allow you to list your spare room online to travellers looking for a cheap digs. You set the nightly cost, undercutting local hotels.
If you're renting a room out, you've two options to legitimately reduce tax, but you can only use one of them, not both together. So do your homework first.
The 'Rent a Room' scheme: This is basically a tax-free allowance on rent when you take in a lodger (or short-term guests through Airbnb, etc) to stay in a furnished room in your home.
Currently, you won't have to pay tax on the first £4,250 you make each year (halved if you share the income with your partner or someone else), but this rises £7,500 from April 2016.
This is a huge tax break for most people and really ups the gain. From April 2016 the extra allowance will mean a £650 a year boost for basic-rate taxpayers compared to now and a £1,300 a year boost for higher-rate payers. See the Gov.uk info on the Rent a Room scheme.
If your income is less than the threshold, you don't need to do anything, as the tax exemption is automatic. If it's higher, you must complete a tax return - you can then opt into the scheme and pay tax on the remaining amount.
Deducting expenses: Alternatively, HMRC allows landlords to deduct mortgage interest costs and certain other expenses from any rental income.
This can be a bigger saving in some cases. You can choose not to opt into the Rent a Room scheme and instead record your income and expenses on the property pages of your tax return. See Gov.uk for full info.
Which option is best for you?
It depends - there are a number of variables and it can be complicated, so you're best off crunching the numbers or even getting advice. The main factor tends to be your expenses though. If they're less than the tax-free threshold of £4,250 (rising to £7,500 from April 2016), it's likely you may be better off with the Rent a Room scheme.
The most common types of expenses you can deduct if you choose NOT to take part in the Rent a Room scheme are:
- Utility bills, like gas, water and electricity (but only the tenants' share of the bills, if they haven't already contributed)
- Rent and service charges
- Maintenance and repairs to the property (but not improvements)
- Building and contents insurance
- Council tax
- Costs of services, including the wages of gardeners and cleaners
- Letting agents' fees
- Accountants' fees
- Direct costs of letting the property, like phone calls, stationery and advertising.
See more information on what counts as expenses on the Gov.uk website.
How much? With a full-time lodger, you can take home £4,250 without paying a penny in tax, rising to £7,500 in April 2016 (but it might affect the amount of benefits you can claim). If you've a desirable pad and don't mind paying income tax on anything above this, you could make more. Earnings through Airbnb etc vary hugely.
Anything else to watch for? As a landlord you must keep your property safe and free from health hazards. More info on Gov.uk.
Let your home insurer and, if applicable, mortgage lender what you’re up to.
If you're living in a council or housing association property and considering getting a lodger to help avoid the bedroom tax, check it's allowed under your tenancy agreement first.
Get cash for spare storage space
If you've unused space in a loft, garage or spare room, the website Storemates lets you rent it out to folks looking for cheap storage. It's free to register and list, but it charges 15% of the monthly rent via GoCardless if you find a match.
How much can you get? It automatically suggests a price but you can charge what you like. Storemates recommends charging 50% of commercial prices. So charging £10/week for 15 square feet of storage space could bring in over £500 a year.
Is it worth doing? Some forumites report earning up to £40 a month but others say they've had no response. While it could be an easy money-spinner, equally it could be a damp squib. Please don't see its inclusion here as a recommendation, more a heads-up about an interesting concept that's starting to get attention.
How do I join? Register on the Storemates website and list a storage space. If someone's interested, they'll contact you via the site and arrange to check out your space. It also provides a template legal contract to help sort the terms, but you need to arrange rent payment yourself.
If you try it, please feed back in the Rent your storage space discussion.
Anything else to watch for? Be prepared to settle any disputes yourself, and check you're comfortable with what's being stored. Don't agree to store valuables, and always check with your home insurance policy first in case you'll need to claim. This is because if you have to claim for damage to someone else's items, most standard insurance policies won't cover this.
Rent out your parking area
Is your driveway paved with gold? If you live near a city centre, airport, train station or footie ground, it might be. You can earn cold hard cash each month by renting out your drive.
How much? Spaces in London can fetch £200 per month or more, though security is also likely to be a factor in determining price. Do note, while listing a space is free, these sites generally take a fee when you successfully rent it out.
Rent out your house as a film location
Film and TV production teams are always on the lookout for homes and areas they can shoot in. Your home needn't be palatial to qualify either; all shapes and sizes can be desired, and the rates of pay can be pretty good.
There are a number of online agencies that'll list your property for free (usually taking commission once your property is chosen for a shoot).
How much? It varies widely, but if your property's chosen, as a very rough guide forumites report you can get up to £500 for a day. And you get to brag about it. Don't bank on being selected though; there are many more properties than film crews.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Rent your house as a film location discussion.
Earn wonga on the web
If you've a computer or smartphone, there's a host of small ways to boost your coffers. Our 30 Make Money Online Tips lists the top sites and apps that pay. Here are a few to start:
Earn via cashback sites
Cashback sites work by giving you a cut of their cash earned for directing you to shops or service providers. When shopping online, click through to a shop via one of these sites and it'll give you a small proportion (usually around 3% but up to 10%) of what you spend back in cash.
However, while it should be fine, you need to be aware cashback is NEVER 100% guaranteed as there can be tracking and other issues.
How much? £100s a year if you're a serious online buyer.
How do I do it? See the full Top Cashback Sites guide.
Get paid to click
You don't have to buy anything to earn cash via cashback sites - you can earn cash just for clicking links on the internet. Cashback websites give you a share or all of their ad-revenue, and sometimes get paid just for sending traffic.
For example, Topcashback* pays £2.10 when you click through to get a Gocompare car insurance quote or £1.51 when you sign up for a free trial with graze.com. Its Free Cashback section lists the top offers.
How much? Some forumites rack up to £20 a month just by clicking these links. It depends how many offers are available, and how consistent you are with the routine.
How do I do it? Full how-to in the Top Cashback Sites guide.
PS. You can also click and give to charity. See The Hunger Site guide for more.
Get better cashback rates in shops
Cashback site Quidco* has a free scheme that lets you register your debit or credit card to earn better cashback rates when you shop in certain stores. You can access the service via its website or its Android or iPhone app.
First, register the 16-digit number across your debit or credit card on Quidco's site or the app. Then, use the same debit card in store at retailers such as Debenhams, TM Lewin and Moss Bros - the amount you earn varies between stores.
If you're new to the cashback sites concept, they pay you to click through them to buy something (see Top Cashback Sites for a full guide).
How do I do it? To sign up, just grab the app, and if you don't already have a Quidco account, sign up (on the app or online).
For online cashback, Quidco takes the first £5 you earn each year as an admin fee if you have a premium account (for basic accounts, it's free).
The secret to unlocking extra cashback
There's also a secret way to unlock extra cashback rates by clicking the 'activate to earn' button on selected retailers via the Quidco app or website.
At some retailers, the activate button could be the only way to access a cashback rate on in-store purchases, for example, at Jojo Maman Bébé you won’t get cashback on stores purchases without activating. Or, it could unlock a significantly larger rate of cashback, for example, at Ernest Jones you’ll get 4%, a bonus from the 1% on offer for those who don’t activate.
There is no standard rate of uplift as it varies by retailer, but typically the 'activate to earn' offers tend to double the amount of cashback you earn.
You typically have a seven-day window to spend in stores to benefit from the bonus. But, in theory you could activate the retailer every week, as there's no limit on activations. It's limited to a small number of retailers - for up-to-date information see the full list on Quidco's website.
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Profit from photographs
Keen photographers can upload their digital photos to photo bank websites such as iStockphoto and earn royalties for each one sold.
You may need to advertise elsewhere to drum up demand though, and some sites have a minimum payout. However, if you have an interest in niche photography subjects, or take particularly beautiful shots, you could make good money.
How much? It varies by site. For example, you decide the retail price of your photos at Photobox, giving you the freedom to adjust the profit margin.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Sell photos online thread.
Affiliate your website
If you run any kind of website, commercial or personal, you can add affiliate link packages to it and get paid each time somebody clicks from your page.
Two of the most popular schemes are Google's Adsense and Amazon Associates. They don't cost a penny to install. Of course, if you want to generate a substantial income through these schemes, you'll need a high level of site traffic and this can be difficult to achieve.
If you're sure you can provide a site which will appeal to a substantial number of people then give it a try, but generally speaking, it's not worth starting one up just for the purpose of affiliate linking.
How much? A website with loyal usage could earn £1,000s a year.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Making money from websites thread.
Listen to music? Get paid to review it
Unsigned music review site SliceThePie pays you for each song you review, but as you build up a reputation you can earn more.
You'll need a pretty open mind, as you can't choose specific genres, but once you've found a band you like you can vote for them. It now allows you to review artists signed to record labels. The system's too complex to describe fully here, so read the site's tutorials before you start.
How much? Not much, but not bad for a hobby. Typically, a dedicated fan willing to put in a couple of hours each night could expect to earn around £30/month, though forumites report this can vary. You earn in dollars and get between $0.10 and $0.20 per review, but the amount varies depending on the track, length and detail of the review. You'll need to earn at least $10 (so, just over £6.50) before you can withdraw cash via PayPal.
The company now also operates a 'refer a friend' scheme where users can refer friends and earn 10% commission from the reviews submitted. So, if they earn $0.20 for a review, you'll get $0.02 for it.
This is something we thought very hard about before including. Yet as many who know exactly what they're doing make serious risk-free cash, we felt it couldn't be excluded from this guide.
It's all about taking advantage of the offers betting sites run to encourage new players, usually involving free bets (eg, "bet £30 and we give you a free £30 bet"), and the fact different bookmakers offer different odds.
Thus, in some circumstances, by betting on all outcomes you guarantee a profit, whatever the outcome. However, this is incredibly complex and dangerous, and most people should run a million miles from it. Don't contemplate attempting it without doing detailed research.
How much? With time and care it's possible to make a few thousand over the year. But please don't go for it if you're desperate for cash. This is only for those with patience and not under money pressure. Otherwise, you'll end up drawn into real gambling, and losing.
How do I do it? Read the Matched Betting introduction and FAQs discussion in the Gambling Introductory Offer Loopholes board and the other sticky threads at the top. But remember it's an open forum, anyone can post, and just because someone sounds like they know what they're doing, it doesn't mean they do.
Grab £1,000s of grants
There are grants galore available if you know where to look; from doing up your home to education or helping your business. There are a number of grant search engines where you can find out exactly what money you're eligible for.
Reclaim, reclaim, reclaim
Right across finance, companies have been taking or holding money when they shouldn't. These days it's easy to fight back. This can mean a boost of £1,000s to your finances in just one go.
Tax rebate for uniform wearers
If you wash or repair your work uniform, you may be able to reclaim tax.
Whether it's a full nurse's or police uniform, or just a simple T-shirt, provided you DON'T ever wear it for owt else, if you wash and maintain the clothes, you may be due an extra tax-free allowance each year and can backdate the claim for up to four years.
How much? Many MoneySavers have reported no-quibble cheques posted after they contacted HM Revenue & Customs. Forumite aliasojo said rebates can be several hundred pounds.
Other half got his letter - £336 adjustment in tax for earlier years and flat rate job expenses applied from now on, and a new tax code to reflect all that. - aliasojo
How do I do it? Read the full Uniforms Tax Rebate guide.
Check if you're due a tax rebate
If during the past four years you've had the wrong tax code, you may be due a tax rebate. Last June, HMRC said that up to three and a half million employees are due this rebate... BUT around two million may need to pay more. See the Millions to repay tax after HMRC errors MSE news story for more.
How much? It all depends on how wrong your banding was, but it can range from tens of pounds to thousands. One forum user has managed to claim over £5,000 because HMRC was deducting for a company car and medical insurance he'd never had.
How do I do it? Read the Tax Code Checker guide and tool to work out if your code is correct, then contact HMRC. If you think you've overpaid in the past, again, just contact HMRC.
Reclaim for train and tube delays
Leaves on the line, the wrong kind of snow and service faults... delays are all too common on our railways. But it's possible to claim for a delay if you know your rights.
How much? The amount all depends on the train company. Chiltern Railways, for example, pays out in cheques if the amount is more than £30.
How do I do it? Delays need to be more than 30 minutes to claim and the amount you get, and how you claim, varies depending on the railway line. Full details in our Train Delays and Tube Delays guides.
Reclaim phone/broadband credit
If you've switched TV, mobile, broadband or phone providers in the last six years, there's a very real chance you're owed a little cash. You can get it back at speed.
Some providers don't automatically refund leftover credit when you cancel your contract or change provider.
How much? This isn't going to make you rich, but may give you a handy little boost. One forumite was amazed to get £144 back from TalkTalk, but generally amounts have been lower.
If you've got or had a loan, credit or store card with payment protection insurance (PPI), you may be able to reclaim £1,000s, and for FREE. Banks lost in court after years of systemically mis-selling PPI. Now they've put over £18 billion aside to pay back money wrongly taken from their customers.
How much? We regularly see success stories of over £10,000. However, as ever, it depends on each individual circumstance and what you were charged. The average payout's around £3,000.
Find lost assets
Billions languish unused in old bank accounts, pensions, life assurance, Premium Bonds and investments, whether forgotten in a house move, lost through a work change, or simply overlooked in the hurly-burly of modern life.
Yet it's usually easy and, in many cases, free to reclaim cash that belongs to you or your family. This means a lost inheritance could also be reclaimed if you think a relative that's passed away had a bank account they'd forgotten about.
How much? This depends on how much you've forgotten you had. It could be anything from just a few pounds in an old junior savings account to thousands in a forgotten pension fund.
How do I do it? Use the Reclaim Lost Assets guide.
Reclaim bank charges
If you've been hit with bank charges in the past few years and are in financial hardship, you can ask for them back.
How much? It all depends on your circumstances and how the charges have affected you and caused or worsened your financial situation. But if you incurred charges of £35, four times a year for the last six years, then on average that all adds up to a huge £840 payback.
Council tax rebanding
The council tax system in England and Scotland is fundamentally flawed; many people are in the wrong band. It takes 10 minutes to check if you're one of them.
How much? Dropping a band can result in a saving of £200 a year, and a backdated payout from when you moved in is often worth £1,000s.
How do I do it? Use my step-by-step Council Tax Rebanding guide.
Get mortgage exit fees back
If you've moved mortgage to a new company since the late 1990s, you could have been overcharged by your old lender when you left it. Just one phone call usually gets you the money back.
How much? A refund of the difference between the fee as stated when you took out your loan, and its level when you left. This could be between £50-£300, depending on the lender.
How do I do it? Use the full step-by-step guide to Mortgage Fees.
Reclaim for flight delays
Whether the flight was last week, or six years ago, EU rules mean if you’re delayed over three hours or your flight is cancelled, you’re often entitled compensation.
How much? £90 - £430 per person
How do I do it? See Flight Delays for a full step-by-step compensation guide, including template letters on how to get your money back for free and how to stop the airlines squirming out of paying.
Car or bike damaged by a pothole? Claim for it!
Whichever authority controls a road has a legal duty to maintain it to a fit standard. If it doesn't, and your car's damaged, it should pay for repairs. Often you will only get a payout if you can prove negligence, but it's worth giving it a go.
Potholes are inevitable, particularly in winter, so the key question is whether the relevant authority could and should have fixed it before your car went clunk.
How much? Typically, car damage claims tend to be around £300-£500. Some drivers who've claimed have successfully recouped the entire amount - in other cases, they've won part of the cost.
How do I do it? Full details in our Pothole claims guide.
Get paid for your opinion
Many companies' and public organisations' desperate need to test, talk about and try out their products or ideas on people gives you a great opportunity to cash in.
Willing to give views on One Direction, washing-up liquid or quitting the EU? Our Top 20 Online Survey Sites guide shows how to make cash by filling in surveys.
Better still, because the whole point is surveying different types of people, you don't need to be qualified: you just need to be you. And most of us can manage that.
How much? Committed survey-doers can get £200ish a year, but if you maximise it like MoneySaver funnyguy it can be very worthwhile.
It takes a few years to build up enough to cash out, but I earned £800 last year in cash & vouchers. Comes in very useful. - funnyguy
Find out more: You'll find a full how-to and the top paying sites in the Survey Sites guide.
Attend face-to-face focus groups
Traditional market research focus groups pay generously per session, though you're limited to a few a year.
All it involves is giving opinions on the chosen subject, usually with free refreshments, and you can walk away with anything from £30 to £160.
How much? Suck-up forumite MartinLewisisalegend said you can make £160 in half a day.
I'm a massive focus groups fan and recently got £160 for half a day. It's good money for just being honest about your thoughts and you get free hot drinks and sandwiches. - MartinLewisisalegend
Find out more: To get started, sign up with the top agencies listed in our list of Face-to-face focus groups.
Telly addicts can cash in by getting paid for their opinion. Theviewers.co.uk sources research panels for broadcasters and programme makers.
Projects can include giving feedback on TV programmes before they hit screens, coming up with catchy titles or deciding which personalities should get more airtime.
You can attend face-to-face research groups (these are usually in big cities around the UK), fill in surveys online or do both.
Anyone over 16 can sign up through the theviewers.co.uk website and you’ll have to fill in a questionnaire on your viewing habits. This allows it to provide info to TV companies that helps them either select the right demographic for each piece of research or make sure they are gathering a wide range of opinions.
How much? You’ll get £40-£70 for a two-hour face-to-face group discussion and it’s usually paid in cash straight after the event. Occasionally, there will be an online version of a focus group, paying the same amount.
The amount paid for online survey varies, for example, members are often given a choice of 50p via PayPal or a 1 in 5 chance of winning a £5 Amazon voucher.
Find out more: See a list of other websites where you can get paid for you opinion in our Survey Sites guide.
Become a mystery shopper
High-street retailers are desperate to check their in-store customer service is up to scratch, and contract mystery shopping agencies to do so.
They employ you to visit a specific shop or pub, to rate service quality or the quality of their goods. If you fancy a bit of 'cloak and dagger' identity, this can be great fun too.
How much? Payment for this type of work varies hugely between agencies. Some pay in gift vouchers, others simply give you free items. Some will pay you cash too, sometimes as much as £30 a day.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Mystery shopping discussion thread.
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Enter contests as a cash boosting hobby
From cars to £20,000 cash, 5-star USA holidays to £10,000 Tesco gift cards or even two years' rent paid, MoneySavers have won it all. It's all about 'comping', a potentially profitable hobby for the lucky.
Comping's about systematically sourcing and entering hundreds of the contests, using web gadgets to fill out forms at speed, answer questions and help with tie-breakers. There are also sneaky ways to enter TV premium phone comps free via the web.
As an added bonus, most competitions are tax-free, so unlike other ways to boost your income, the taxman won't get any. There's full help in the 40+ Comping Tips guide.
How much? While big success isn't certain, it does happen. Among the lucky ones is MoneySaver mrsrobertson.
I started comping in May 2011 and I've won a £3,000 Las Vegas trip and gadgets worth over £26,000. I'm hooked. - mrsrobertson
Join the MSE comping team. The site's Competitions Time forum board is full of the latest contests. It's a reciprocal community of devoted compers. The idea is you post contests and cheer others when they win.
Working from home
If you're housebound, whether due to childcare commitments or disability, or you just like being at home, working from your kitchen or spare room can leave you quids in too. Working on your own isn't for everyone though, so make sure you're OK with a spot of solitude.
Earn from internet research
Internet businesses such as 63336 (which used to be known as AQA) occasionally take on researchers.
It works like this: a customer searches for the answer to any random question by sending a text to researchers - you - who reply with the answer.
The beauty of this work is that you can generally choose the type of questions you answer, and hence the hours you work. There aren't vacancies all the time, but try following 63336 on Twitter. You'll have to pass a test before you get an interview.
How much? You'll be paid 40p per question, and some can take just a few moments to answer. How much you earn depends on how much time you're prepared to put in.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Be a web-based researcher discussion.
Do some freelance work
If you've skills in a specific area, you may be able to do a little freelancing on the side.
International project recruitment site PeoplePerHour allows companies to list projects they want completed. Freelancers 'bid' on projects, saying why they'll be the most suitable candidate and entering their price for the work. The site's free to join and bid on work, but a fee is taken out of your pay for each job.
How much? It depends on the job, the duration and skills involved, and how many freelancers are competing for it. The only drawback is you might find yourself competing against workers from countries with a much lower cost of living, who can undercut you.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Freelancer discussion thread.
Take in foreign exchange students
Renting out a room provides a stream of ready money, and a handy tax break means you can keep a decent chunk of it out of the taxman's hands.
Get in touch with local secondary and language schools to enquire about how often they take students, and the vetting process. This can be a tidy little earner.
How much? Rates of pay vary depending on the level of accommodation you provide, but as a very rough guide you can expect to earn upwards of £80 per week per student.
Find out more: Join the discussion and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Take in foreign exchange students discussion.
Solve companies' problems
Several companies put problems online and offer cash to people who can come up with effective solutions.
While not a guaranteed way to grab cash, these can be an interesting, fun, and lucrative way to spend your spare time if you're a business or science boff.
At InnoCentive companies post dozens of challenges offering big money for the best solutions, though they're often quite technical. A typical example's £5,000 for low-cost labelling solutions for reuseable glass containers.
Also worth a look is Idea Connection. Register and it sends you email invites to help solve firms' problems for cash.
How much? It depends on the challenge, but top paying solutions can be worth about £600,000 if you come up with a brilliant idea.
Find out more: Join the Solve companies' problems for pay discussion.
Iron out your finances
Set up a professional ironing service, advertising in local shops and newspapers. A good tip is to advertise in the poshest part of town; that way you can charge more.
How much? Ironing businesses generally charge by the item, with 20 items costing around £10. This varies depending on location, so check what other local services are charging.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Start an ironing service thread.
Start a 'cottage industry'
If you're a dab hand at arts and crafts, try selling your jewellery and artwork, whether on eBay* or at craft fairs.
How much? Potentially £100s, depending on your time, talent and selling ability.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Starting a cottage industry thread.
Work, work, work
If you're willing to travel, as well as the obvious McJobs there are many ways for second-jobbers to earn extra cash. You also can maximise what you get from your current job.
Ask for a pay rise at your current job
People are often scared, yet why not simply ask? After all, the worst that can happen is they say 'no'.
Simply ask for an appointment, prepare your points - which should be more about your job role than 'I need the money' - and see what happens. It's just as difficult for an employer to say no when you ask, as it is for you to ask in the first place.
How much? Always remember that if your pay rise isn't as high as inflation (the rate at which prices rise) then your pay is actually decreasing. So why not ask for an 'inflation plus x%' rise, explaining a pay rise at inflation will just keep you level and the x% is because you're now more experienced or better at your job.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the How to ask for a pay rise thread.
Bag a Christmas job
Check retailers in your area who could be looking for extra staff to cope with the extra Christmas shoppers. Print out multiple copies of your CV, and then do a mail-drop on your local high street.
Ask catering agencies, restaurants, pubs, clubs and bars. More parties around this time of year may mean more jobs. Royal Mail may also be worth checking at this time of year.
How much? Varies by sector.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Christmas jobs discussion.
Watching somebody else's TV and eating their food while the kids lie fast asleep upstairs doesn't sound so hard - and it often isn't. But you must be prepared to deal with the odd stroppy child and his or her tantrums.
You'll need a proven track record with little'uns, so work for friends, family and neighbours first.
How much? Adult babysitters can get up to about £8 per hour, but you'll need to build a reputation first to command this.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions and add your own in the Babysitting thread.
Pet or plant-sitting
Also known as house-sitting, this job sounds (and is) fairly simple: maintain a house and look after any animals and plants for anything up to three months.
You need to have no other commitments to worry about. It'll be easiest to sign up with an agency, so be prepared to provide references and expect a thorough check of your background, including any criminal records. After all, would you be happy to leave your home in the hands of a stranger?
The terms and conditions vary from company to company. Some will expect you to be available all the time while some offer work on a more casual basis. Some suggested in the forum include Animal Angels, Platinum Petcare and Nina's Nannies for Pets.
How much? As a guide, Nina's Nannies for Pets pays roughly £29/day, plus travel expenses. You can earn more depending on how many pets you look after.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Pet or plant-sitting thread.
Be an interviewer
NatCen Social Research is usually on the lookout for freelance interviewers. The job involves interviewing selected people about all kinds of topics in their own homes, then sending the answers to your set questions back to base.
Go to NatCen's website for full details.
How much? As a guideline for interviewers, once trained you'll earn an average hourly rate varying from £8.60 to £12.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Doing social research discussion.
Work at the supermarket
Work weekend shifts at a supermarket - some pay up to double on Sundays and bank holidays. Generally, the posher the supermarket, the more it pays.
How much? Around the £8 per hour mark, and some may offer a discount (usually 10%) on groceries once you've been there for a while.
Find out more: Read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the At the supermarket discussion.
It's possible to make cash by hosting parties in which items are demonstrated and sold. Since you'll effectively be self-employed, you can make your own hours and work as often or as little as you want.
Before starting though, be sure to check whether there's already a popular representative of the company in your area. If so, it's probably best to sell something else. Typical examples include Ann Summers, The Body Shop At Home and PartyLite. Forumites recommend choosing a company where you'll be selling products you like; you'll find it more enjoyable, which will help you succeed.
How much? It's commission-based, so what you earn depends on your selling ability, and the products you sell. You'll usually have to cover set-up costs with your first parties.
Find out more: Read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Party planning thread.
During exam periods in secondary schools, colleges and universities, there's often a shortage of exam invigilators since the teachers and lecturers still have other work to attend to.
Ask local institutions and temp agencies and you can earn fair cash for a couple of hours of (blissfully silent) work. You'll need a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (formerly known as a Criminal Records Bureau check).
How much? Temp rates are normal, so expect roughly about £8 per hour.
Find out more: Read others' top suggestions or add your own in the Temp at schools thread.
Use your head - tutor
To tutor up to GCSE level you don't necessarily need a degree or PGCE teaching qualification (although you can command much higher rates if you have the latter), but some previous teaching experience is a must.
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Register with your council's elections office and get paid to count the votes at polling time. This can be in four-hour shifts, or longer. One MoneySaver reports earning £180 for working from 9pm - 5am.
Be warned though: you're usually contracted until the job is finished, so if it runs over you won't be paid extra (the flipside being that if you finish quicker, you'll still earn the same).
How much? It varies by job, but some forumites have reported up to about £180. One user said: "I got paid loads [for counting votes] - about £60 for a couple of hours' work, and it was great fun."
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Temporary council work thread.
Be a model
If you have the confidence to go nude (or semi-nude in some cases), life modelling is a fun way of earning extra cash. For a few hours work, you can usually get a very good rate of pay because it's very hard to recruit for this role.
All you have to do is make sure you're able to hold a pose. All shapes and sizes are desired, so don't be put off if you're not 'model' size.
My ex did this for ages, found a classified in the local paper (well, I found it for him!). Good money, gentle work... and he was pretty ugly.
How much? Forumites report you generally get up to about £10 - £20 per hour. Of course, wages vary depending where you work and some models are paid 'per job', earning more.
Find out more: Make enquiries at local colleges. Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Life modelling discussion.
Become a mobile market researcher
Download apps to your phone to earn cash when you're out and about by checking prices, snapping a photo of a restaurant menu or seeing how much stock is on the shelves in the shops.
Download the apps to your phone (sadly Field Agent is iPhone-only) and check their Facebook pages to keep an eye for upcoming jobs in your area, including checking what price an item is on sale for, or sending a photo of how it is displayed in store. See Make Money Online for more.
How much? Forumites report Field Agent typically pays £4 - £9 per task, depending on the difficulty and if there is travel involved. Roamler starts at £2 per paid job and its rates increase as you do more work for it. Forumites report having to do a number of free jobs to build up experience.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' suggestions or add your own in the Earn Cash Online thread.
Be a TV extra
It can be a little more boring than Ricky Gervais makes it out to be, but the fun of seeing yourself in the background of shows can more than make up for it.
There are several legit online extras agencies which don't charge you for signing up, although they'll generally take an 'administration fee' out of your pay. If you're serious, you'll need to sign up to a few agencies to be in with a chance. You may have to pay your own travel expenses.
As there are a lot of agencies to choose from, it's well worth checking out forum feedback before you join to help you find the ones that are right for you.
How much? Most extras generally earn about £50 per day (it can be more), with overtime paid at about £10 per hour. It's a good idea, though, to have some professional (or at least professional-looking) photos taken in order to start off getting work.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the TV extra work thread.
Be an Avon lady (or man)
Avon representatives earn commission on make-up, toiletries and other items they sell. You buy batches of catalogues and canvass friends, family, neighbours or colleagues for orders to bring in cash.
The sign-up fee's £16 (this is taken out of your total earnings for your first two month's sales), which includes brochures. After that, brochures cost from 63p to 11p each. The more you buy, the cheaper they are.
How much? Your earnings depend on how many products you shift, but dedicated Avon ladies can earn £100/month, and some earn far more. Of course, many earn less than this, and, if you don't sell anything, you could run at a loss. So don't do this unless you're confident you'll flog some stuff, and are comfortable selling to friends and family.
You'll earn roughly £1 for every £4 of products sold. You can also become a sales leader, building up your own team and earning extra money through the team's sales.
Be a guinea pig
If you're fit and healthy and prepared to accept the risk of tests, you could earn up to £150 a day by taking part in medical trials.
There are several big companies advertising for volunteers; see forumites' experiences in the UK medical trials discussion for ideas.
How much? Depending on what it is you're being tested for, forumites report earning between about £70 and £150 per day (it varies by trial). You may get your travel expenses refunded.
Find out more: Join the discussion, read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Medical trials discussion.
Extra income is all very well, but don't forget the taxman will want his share. Any sources of extra income need to be declared, so make sure you're upfront with HM Revenue & Customs.
It's important to let HMRC know you're self-employed as soon as possible, either via the HMRC website or by calling 0300 200 3504. If you don't tell them, you may have to pay a penalty. You'll also get a £100 penalty if you fail to meet the deadlines for self-assessment: 31 October for paper forms, and 31 January for electronic submissions.
For full information, read HMRC's self-employment leaflet. Also, don't forget to make full use of your personal allowances: depending on what your other job status is and your age, the first £10,600 of any income is tax-free in the 2015-16 financial year.
If you spend money on items for your business, be sure to keep the receipts. They're tax-deductible. See the HMRC website for a full breakdown of what you're entitled to.