There are scores of legal and 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's always useful.
This guide to how to make money, possibly gaining £1,000s of extra cash is specially designed to work alongside your suggestions in the forum.
In this guide
Boost Your Income Checklist
Also see 30 ways to earn cash online
Up your income with other MoneySavers
As well as this guide, use the Up Your Income board in the forum, where MoneySavers share their ideas and tips on how to make money. For more inspiration and competition, join the £2,012 in 2012 Club, where readers are challenging each other to earn an extra £2,012 in 2012. Plus read our important tips on the tax you'll need to pay on this extra income: Tax tips.
Make your money work harder
Too many of us let cash languish in accounts or in products paying rotten returns. Shake off this laziness to give yourself better returns, and 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 as much cash as 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 it 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
If you've got savings, ensure they're working well for you. Too many people leave their savings in pitiful high street bank accounts where the money is actually shrinking.
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 savings account, as a basic rate taxpayer you'd earn £120 a year more than in a poor account.
Always 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 £700 a year better off by paying off the debt with the savings.
Get all benefits/state pension
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 and Turn2Us in our Benefits Checkup guide does the work for you. It has a regularly updated calculator that works out everything you can get in one go.
Plus it may be possible to get more in your retirement by purchasing extra National Insurance Contributions (NICs) though there are drawbacks here, so read the full State Pension Boosting guide.
How much? If you've a family income under £42,000 it's worth checking, but in rare cases families with £72,000 can qualify, as you could get any of these: working tax credit; housing benefit; council tax support; pension credit; child benefit; child trust fund and child tax credit. Plus, 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 a high interest ISA.
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 £100 over the year.
How do I do it? Use the step-by-step Stoozing: Make Free Cash guide.
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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 embarrassing old CDs... flog it!
Flog old handsets, iPods, cameras & more
This is the easiest form of decluttering, as there's a whole industry set up to help. If you've unwanted gadgets, such as mobiles, cameras or MP3 players, or even fridges lying around the house, several firms will happily take the relegated beast off your hands.
Not only could this bag you £100s but, by not throwing it out with the rubbish, you'll also be doing your bit for the environment.
How gadget-buying companies work
The idea is simple. You go to the website, find your gadget and it'll tell you what you can get for it. If you agree, it'll send you a freepost bag. You then send the gadget to it (make sure you send it registered) and the cash will be transferred or you'll receive a cheque. Some sites even arrange free collection for heavy items.
How much? It depends on the phone and demand, but some of the higher-end handsets will easily net more than £300 - more for some models. It only takes five minutes to check out what yours is worth.
How do I do it? Use MSE's MobileValuer tool to quickly find the top payer.
How much? Up to about £100 at the top level, depending on your model.
How do I do it? Do an iPod selling comparison on MobileValuer.
Cameras, other MP3 players, sat navs, games consoles
How much? Cameras get about £40 (more for snazzier models), sat navs up to about £50 and games consoles about £50. It really depends on the make and model though, as prices vary widely.
How do I do it? Use the MobileValuer - just select the type of item you've got from the list along the top of the page.
How much? It varies, but generally you can get up to about £80 for an old laptop in top condition. Apple Macbooks command a higher price, with excellent condition Macbook Pros getting about £400.
How do I do it? There aren't many recycling sites that include laptops, although there are a few listed in MobileValuer.
Beat gadget buying sites with eBay
A thriving old gadget market on eBay could earn you up to about 20-30% more than the best recycling sites.
Alternatively, use eBay to get a rough idea of what a fair price is. Simply search for an identical phone to yours - preferably in similar condition - and check what price it's going for (though do factor in selling charges). See the eBay Selling Tricks guide.
Flog on eBay for the highest 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 neeed to know the etiquette and shortcuts.
Our 40+ eBay Selling Tricks guide is a crash course, from cutting eBay fees by tweaking start prices and using no-charge listing weekends, to adding extra pics with special tools. Plus there are tools to create multiple listings in advance and bulk-upload them.
How much? Dedicated sellers make £100s on the side.
Got an eBay question? Join the discussion in the eBay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales board.
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Quicker cash for old CDs, DVDs, books & more
If you need speed and ease, several sites let you trade in old CDs, DVDs, computer games, Blu-rays and books 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 of extra money.
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.
Once you've compared and found the top payer for your items, you simply accept the valuations and send your stuff to the them. Postage is usually free (except for GameXchange), 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 seven days of receiving them, though forumites' feedback suggests it can be longer.
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, £3 for DVDs, £4 for Blu-rays and £12 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.
Though 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 is well-established and feedback's good, though prices aren't always top. Please feed back.|
|Amazon is an established player, but prices aren't always best, and it pays in vouchers. Please feed back.|
|Forumites' fave WeBuyBooks.co.uk is the top payer for books, and some DVDs and CDs. Please feed back.|
|Newcomer Zapper is backed by Dragons' Den's Theo Paphitis, but we've little feedback. Please feed back.|
|CeX has been trading for 20 years, and offers cash or store credit for trade-ins. Please feed back.|
|GameXchange is best for retro games (postage isn't free). Please feed back.|
|Forumites rate Momox for trading in books, though CDs/DVDs aren't so well paid. Please feed back.|
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
If you're looking to flog some books, you could sell them for more on Amazon's Marketplace or via online auction site eBay. See how to get max cash for old books.
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. Amazon charges 75p when your book sells, plus an extra 17.25% on top (see a full list of Amazon fees).
Also popular with MoneySavers is online second-hand bookshop Green Metropolis, which is especially good for old paperbacks. All books cost £3.75, of which the site pays sellers £3. The £3 must cover your postage costs too, though you're allowed to add an extra fee for heavy books.
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*. But prices can be lower than selling them yourself.
How much? £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 at car boot sales, and sell them at a profit on eBay or other auction sites. Be sure to arrive early to beat other bargain hunters.
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 items' 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.
Sell your story
Journalists are always looking for dramatic stories. If you've been in an extreme situation or 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?
Many magazines also pay a premium for interesting letters and photographs. For example, Love It! magazine pays £15 if it prints a cute pic of your pet if you email firstname.lastname@example.org, and £50 for shameful holiday snaps (dodgy sunburn, tanning disasters and those embarrassing pics taken after a few too many sangrias), by emailing email@example.com.
How much? A 'star letter' will usually fetch about £50, and stories can earn £150+. Even amusing photos can earn good cash prizes in some magazines.
Find out more: Join the discussion and 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 expensive 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 £5 per cartridge. Try CashForCartridges, Recycleinkcartridges 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 100 Clubcard points for each cartridge. Each point is worth 1p in store but up to four times as much if you redeem on goodies from the Tesco Clubcard deals brochure such as breakdown cover, days out and holidays away. So an old printer cartridge could be worth up to £4 in Tesco rewards.
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 and read other MoneySavers' recommendations, or add your own, in the Recycling printer cartridges for cash thread.
Earn Tesco Clubcard points for recycling
Save up your cans and instead of leaving them for the dustmen to carry away, take them to one of Tesco's automated recycling centres and you'll receive one point per two aluminium cans recycled.
Check the list of Tesco stores with automated centres to see if you have one near you. Clubcard points are worth 1p in store but up to four times as much if you redeem on goodies from the Tesco Clubcard deals brochure such as breakdown cover, days out and holidays away.
You'll also get points if you reuse old carrier bags, rather than a new one. Tesco gives you one point for each bag reused. They don't have to be Tesco bags - any bag you reuse gets you a point.
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 and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Clubcard points for recycling thread.
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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.
Get cash for spare storage space
How does it work?
If you've unused space in a loft, garage or spare room, new website Storemates lets you rent out it to others looking for cheap storage. It's free to register, search and list, but charges a one-off fee of two weeks' rent (min £10) via Paypal if you find a successful match.
How much can you get?
You can charge what you like, but Storemates recommends charging 40-60% of commercial prices (see its price guide). So charging £10/week for 15 square feet of storage space could bring in over £500 a year. You can also opt to get paid in the form of a service, such as dog walking, DIY or gardening.
Is it worth doing?
Frankly, we've no idea as this only fully launched in January 2012. 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 a lot of attention. If you do try it, please feed back in the Rent your storage space forum discussion.
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 contract to help sort the terms, but you need to arrange rent payment yourself.
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.
The Association of British Insurers says: "Standard household policies will not usually cover any activities at your home that bring in an income. In such cases you may need a separate business policy, although some insurers may be willing to extend your household cover.
"If you are renting out part of your home, the risk of a claim could rise (for example, letting to a photographer to store expensive equipment with increased theft risk). So the golden rule is to check the position with your insurer before you consider this."¯
Rent out your parking area
If you live in an area where parking is expensive, yet have an empty parking space in your driveway, you could rent it on a monthly basis.
Online parking marketplaces, such as ParkatmyHouse*, will allow you to list your space in their databases and set your price.
You can also set restrictions on use if you're likely to need the space yourself at certain times. For full info on this, read the dedicated Parking Rental guide.
One thing to note, though, is that some more officious local councils may deem renting your parking space out as 'a change of use' for the property, from residential to mixed residential/commercial use. It's a grey area, and you're unlikely to be pulled up. But if you are, you may have to apply for planning permission to continue doing it.
How much? You should be able to take just slightly less than the going parking price in your area. Spaces in London generally go for up to about £200 per month, though security is also likely to be a factor in determining price. Do note, while listing a space is free, it takes a 15% commission fee when you successfully rent out your space.
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 (taking commission once your property is chosen for a shoot), see the forum discussion for suggestions and feedback. Never use any that charge a large upfront fee.
How much? It varies widely, but if your property's chosen, forumites report you can generally get up to about £500 for a day, though you may be able to get more. 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 and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Rent your house as a film location discussion.
Take in a lodger or play guesthouse
If you're renting a room out, you've two options to legitimately reduce tax, but you must choose one:
- The 'rent a room' scheme: The 'rent a room' scheme means you can take in a lodger to live in a furnished room in your home, and it has a special exemption meaning you won't have to pay tax on the first £4,250 you make each year.
This is a huge tax break for most people and really ups the gain. Better still, as a landlord you'll be expected to ask for a month in advance, which means ready cash comes in quickly.
- 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. See Gov.uk for full info.
If you don't want to do it full-time, you can play guesthouse. Airbnb and Wimdu allow you to list your spare room online, and take in travellers looking for a cheap place to stay. You can set the nightly cost, undercutting the local hotels, and you might just get to work on your language skills too.
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.
How much? With a full-time lodger, you can take home £4,250 without paying a penny in tax (but it might affect the amount of benefits you can claim). If you've a desirable property and don't mind paying income tax on anything above this, you could easily make more.
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 Earn Cash 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 2% but up to 10%) of what you spend back in cash.
However, while it should be fine, you need 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 of their ad-revenue, and sometimes get paid paid just for sending traffic.
For example, Topcashback* pays £1.51 when you click through to get a Gocompare car insurance quote or 5p when you search for flights on Fly.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. Set passwords on screen to make it easier.
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 paid to enter shops
Cashback site Quidco* has boosted its free Android and iPhone apps that let you earn cash on the go. Walk into shops with your mobile and you get 5p-50p a time - without getting your wallet out. 37 retailers are included.
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 much? As an example, swing by a participating Homebase store, check in on Quidco's app and it pays 50p into your account. You also get a bonus for sharing your check-in on Facebook or Twitter - you'll be prompted to do it.
Quidco reckons at today's rates, you could get around £54/year.
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). Current users can just log in to their accounts.
The app uses GPS technology to pinpoint shops near where you're standing. Just download the app, and it shows a list of participating stores near you. Walk into the shop and click 'check in'.
For regular online cashback, Quidco takes the first £5 you earn each year as an admin fee. Yet money from check-ins goes straight into bank accounts - it doesn't keep the first £5.
Where can you check in? You can grab check-in cashback at 70 retailers. You can check in at each shop once a fortnight or once a month, depending on the retailer.
|Examples of where you can check in|
|'Share' bonus||How many times can you do it?|
|50p||1 in every 4 weeks|
|5p||1 in every 4 weeks|
|5p||1 in every 4 weeks|
|5p||1 in every 4 weeks|
|5p||1 in every 4 weeks|
|Correct as of October 2012.|
PS. The app also lists Quidco's in-store cashback deals. You don't need the app to get them, but it's handy to see which shops pay. You need to register your card. See Top Cashback Sites for a full explanation. Read Free Mobile Apps for a full guide to apps and how they work.
Profit from photographs
Budding 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 and 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's Associates. They don't cost a penny to install. Of course, if you're 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 site featuring content 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 niche website with loyal usage could earn £1,000s a year from these links.
Find out more: Join the discussion and 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 rate, 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 and even buy stock in them to trade. 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. Previously, a dedicated fan putting in a couple of hours a night could expect around £30/month. Forum feedback's now mixed as to how much you'll earn as it's a time-consuming process, so it's worth a read first to decide if it's for you.
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 ever contemplate attempting it unless you've done detailed research.
Warning! This is NOT about gambling. Gambling is not MoneySaving; the bookies always win in the long run (see Gamblers Anonymous). This is only about manipulating gambling introductory loopholes.
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.
How much? Grants in the £1,000s are available in the right circumstances.
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 attire, 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: "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"¯.
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. HMRC says at least four million employees are due this rebate... BUT over a million may need to pay 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. However, if you think you've overpaid in the past, just contact HMRC more on how to do this in the guide.
Tax back if you work from home
If you are specifically employed to work from home and have no other alternative, you may be able to claim tax back for some of your household costs.
The most common expenses include the cost of gas and electricity for your work space and phone calls for the business.
You can't claim tax back on anything you're already paying for, or costs incurred from both work and private use (eg, council tax, line rental, internet).
Flat rate of £4/week since 2012/13 tax year (previously it was £3), for every week you work from home. You can claim extra for business phone calls.
Or, if you can show how you've calculated the figures you can claim more.
How do I do it? Read the HMRC information to check you're eligible. If you fill in your own tax return there is a section to claim the tax back there. If not, you can write to HMRC to make your request.
Reclaim phone credit & more
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 and can get it back at speed.
Many 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 when they got £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 £10 billion aside to paid back money wrongly taken from their customers.
How much? Some success stories have reported getting back over £8,000, including interest, on a £40,000 loan. However, as ever it depends on each individual circumstance and what you were charged.
Millions of workers weren't credited with nearly £1.3 billion paid in National Insurance (NI). This could mean a reduced state pension if you fail to act.
Tax authorities didn't track nine million employees' payments between 2004 and 2009, which could affect workers of all ages. In total, they're worth around £1.3 billion.
How much? This could affect your state pension, which is £107.45 a week for 2012/13. You must have built up a set number of years' NI contributions to receive the full pension, so make sure you check now.
How do I do it? Read the full Reclaim NI guide for more info, then call HMRC's NI helpline on 0845 302 1479.
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.
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 impacted you and caused or worsened your financial situation, but say you incurred charges of £35, four times a year on average that all adds up to a huge £840 payback.
Credit card charges
In 2006 the OFT said credit card charges were unfairly high - so providers reduced them. If you had late payment fees before 2006, it may not be too late to reclaim 'em.
How much? Again, it all depends entirely on the charges you've had. Some have reclaimed over £1,000.
The council tax system in England and Scotland is fundamentally flawed; many people are in the wrong band. It only 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 £1,000s.
How do I do it? Use my step-by-step Council Tax Rebanding guide.
Mortgage exit fees
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-£200, depending on the lender.
How do I do it? Use the full step-by-step guide to Mortgage Fees.
Mis-selling of endowments has been rife. But move fast, because the deadline for complaints is looming. So if you've ever been sold an endowment which underperformed, leaving you out of pocket, and you weren't told this was a possibility, you could get compensation.
How much? The rewards for doing this can be huge; the biggest compensation payout we've heard about so far is £27,000.
How do I do it? Use the full Mis-sold Endowments guide.
Get paid for your opinion
The desperate need for many companies and public organisations to test, talk about and try out their products or plans on the British public gives you a great opportunity to cash in.
Online survey sites
Marketing is big business. By learning to target products at the right people, companies cut advertising spend and increase sales.
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!
It's possible to earn £100s a year. You could earn cash or Amazon vouchers for taking part in online surveys, which are often short enough to fill in during breaks at work.
How much? Some surveys pay £1 to £3 for just a few minutes of your time.
Find out more: There's a full how-to and top paying sites in the Survey Sites guide.
Traditional market research
How much? Usually between £30 and £50 per session.
Find out more: Join the discussion and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Traditional market research thread.
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.
These will 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 and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Mystery shopping discussion thread.
Enter contests as a cash boosting hobby
From cars to £20,000 cash, 5-star USA holidays to £10,000 Tesco gift cards, 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 right 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, competitions are tax-free, so unlike other ways to boost your income, the taxman won't get any.
How much? While big success isn't certain, it does happen. Among the luckies is MoneySaver mrsrobertson, who says: "I started comping in May '11 and I've won a £3,000 Las Vegas trip and gadgets worth over £26,000. I'm hooked."
Find out more: Full help in the 40+ Comping Tips guide.
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 (formerly known as AQA) are occasionally on the lookout for 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. See 63336 to check for vacancies - you'll likely have to pass a test before you get an interview. Vacancies aren't open all the time, so you'll need to be on the ball and checking the sites regularly.
How much? You'll be paid roughly 25p per question, and some can take just a few moments to answer, meaning that experienced researchers could rake in up to £2,000 - though of course, it depends how much time you're prepared to put in.
Find out more: Join the discussion and 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 freelance work 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 and 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 most 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 and you get the added bonus of honing your own foreign language skills.
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 for pay
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 £10,000 for a proposal to protect seeds and grains against rodent infestations on a storage vessel.
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 discussion and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in 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 and 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 spare time, artistic talents, and ability to sell yourself.
Find out more: Join the discussion and 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 to do this, 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 and 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. The Royal Mail may also be worth checking at this time of year.
How much? Varies by sector.
Find out more: Join the discussion and 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 your 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 and 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 3 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 £27 per day, plus travel expenses on top.
Find out more: Join the discussion and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Pet or plant-sitting thread.
Be an interviewer
The National Centre for 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.
Vacancies for telephone interviewers are also often available, and full training for each role is provided. Go to NatCen's website for full details.
How much? As a guideline, once trained you'll get about £12 for a 35-minute interview, and £4 per hour spent travelling plus petrol costs.
Find out more: Join the discussion and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Doing social research discussion.
Work at the supermarket
Work weekend shifts at your local supermarket - some pay up to double on Sundays and bank holidays. Generally, the posher the supermarket, the more you'll earn.
How much? Around the £7 per hour mark, and some may offer a discount (usually 10%) on groceries once you've been there for a while.
Find out more: Join the discussion and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the At the supermarket discussion.
Head for the library
Why not work in a library for a few hours a week? While some libraries admittedly get very busy, many find working in this environment a rewarding break from day-to-day stresses, regardless of the extra cash. Enquire with your local library, universities or colleges.
How much? Usually about minimum wage. Forumites report part-time library posts can be difficult to find, though it's still worth a try.
Find out more: Join the discussion and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions, or add your own in the At the library thread.
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, PartyLite and FM Cosmetics. Forumites recommend choosing a company where you'll be selling products you like; you'll find it more enjoyable, which will help you suceed.
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: Join the discussion and 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 a shortage of exam invigilators since the teachers and lecturers still have other work to attend to.
Enquire with local institutions and temp agencies and you can earn fair cash for a couple of hours of (blissfully silent) work.
How much? Temp rates are normal, so expect roughly about £8 per hour.
Find out more: Join the discussion and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Temp At Schools thread.
Use your head. Tutor
To tutor up to GCSE you don't necessarily need a degree or PGCE teaching qualification (although you can command much higher rates if you do have the latter) but some previous teaching experience is a must.
You'll need a CRB check if you're to work with kids, so start out by asking some local teaching agencies about getting one, and about getting started.
How much? Without qualifications, you can charge up to about £10/hour (depending on your experience and ability). If you get a PGCE (which can be achieved on a part-time or flexible basis), you can charge as much as £40/hour in some areas.
Find out more: Join the discussion and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Private Tutoring Help thread.
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 generally up to about £180.
Find out more: Join the discussion and 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.
Forumite Badger_Lady said: "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 on a 'per job' basis, usually earning more.
Find out more: Make enquiries at local colleges. Join the discussion and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Life modelling discussion.
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 about it, you'll need to sign up for quite a few agencies to guarantee work. You may also have to pay for 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 to some professional (or at least professional-looking) photos taken in order to start off getting work.
Find out more: Join the discussion and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the TV extra work thread.
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, you can earn between about £70 and £150 per day (though of course, it varies by trial). You may get your travel expenses refunded.
Find out more: Join the discussion and read other MoneySavers' top suggestions or add your own in the Medical trials discussion.
Be an Avon lady (or man)
Avon reps 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 £15, which includes 40 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.
Flog old gold
“Sell unwanted gold for CASH!” TV, mags and billboard ads pulse with promises, yet rarely seem to live up to their promises.
However, amid the scrap are shining examples – meaning £15 per 9ct stud earrings and £85 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 maxing earnings in Gold Selling.
A tip on tax
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 0845 915 4515. 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 £8,105 of any income is tax-free in the 2012-13 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.