The rising cost of living means that we all need to find ways to make some extra cash to help pay the bills.
But what if you’re stuck at home with young children, or retired and largely housebound due to poor health?
Well, the good news is there are more and more ways to make money regardless of your age or circumstances, without you ever having to leave the comfort of your own four walls.
For a start, there are several easy money-makers that anyone can do online. If you use the internet at all, you can make money trying out websites and saying what you think of them.
There are more and more ways to make money regardless of your age or circumstances, without you ever having to leave the comfort of your own four walls
A site called User Testing (usertesting.com/get-paid-to-test) is always looking for people to try out different websites and give their views. You get paid per session, through PayPal, and payments vary depending on the test, but are on average about £8.50 a session.
Then there are online survey sites. These are a bit patchy and pay only a few quid at a time, but if you’re browsing the internet anyway you may as well get paid while you’re there.
The better survey sites are yougov.co.uk (where you accumulate points which can be redeemed for cash or rewards) and Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel (uk.computermobilepanel.nielsen.com/ui/UK/en/landing) which pays you to download the app, register your devices, then accrue points which can be exchanged for gift cards at places such as Amazon and Starbucks.
Ipsos iSay (ipsosisay.com/ en-gb) gives you points for doing its surveys which you can then redeem for pre-paid credit cards or vouchers for Tesco, Amazon, M&S and more.
While you’re on your computer or mobile phone, you could also earn a bit extra by ensuring you do online shopping through cashback sites such as quidco.com or topcashback.co.uk.
For those with saleable skills, there are even more opportunities. Do you have office experience? Can you type, do book-keeping, or organise meetings and events? Then you could make between £15 and £35 an hour depending on your experience and skills as a Virtual Assistant (VA), helping business people around the world with their admin.
The tricky bit is getting the work in the first place, but you can get help with this through various VA organisations such as the Society of Virtual Assistants (societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk) which has a vacancies board for its members.
Another job you can do at home is childminding — a particularly good way to make money if you’re already looking after your own children.
Rates for childminding vary from £4 to £7 per hour depending on where you live. You can set your own price higher if you think clients will pay it.
You need to live in a property that is suitable for children to run around in, and you (plus anyone else in the home over 16) will need to have a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.
You will also need to register with Ofsted as a childminder and take short courses in early-years childcare, paediatric first aid, child protection and food safety.
A good place to start is your local council which can help you with the registration process. There’s also more information at gov.uk.
Or you could set yourself up as a pet sitter, which can be a great source of income for those stuck at home. If you’re able to get out a bit, then you could offer dog-walking, too, on a regular or ad-hoc basis.
For those who need to stay indoors, looking after someone’s cat, budgie or small furry animal when they are away could still be an option. The average rate for pet boarding in your own home is about £15 a day, depending on where you live, while dog-walking can be anything from £10 to £15 an hour.
You can get all of this work simply through word of mouth around the neighbourhood and on local Facebook Groups or nextdoor.co.uk. Or you can join a pet-sitting agency such as digs fordogs.uk or pawshake.co.uk.
Tutoring is another great way to make money without leaving your sofa. You can teach a musical instrument in your home if you play, or offer tutoring to students face-to-face or online.
Again, you can put the word around the neighbourhood that you are available for tutoring, or you could join an online service such as firsttutors.com or mytutor.co.uk. There’s a wide range of earning potential, from about £20 an hour if you’re unqualified to £50 if you’re qualified and you’re teaching subjects such as maths or economics.
And finally, you can sell yourself by setting up a blog. There are hundreds of articles online on how to create a successful blog. Hubspot.com is good for blog and marketing ideas, but don’t expect immediate cash. It can take a while to build up a fanbase.
Rent out your back garden to campers
You’ve heard of Airbnb, which enables people to rent out a room or their whole home to tourists. Well now there’s Campspace.com which gives you the opportunity to rent out your back garden to campers for their holidays.
If you have some outside space, or a large driveway that could take a camper van, you could offer them on Campspace.
If you have some outside space, or a large driveway that could take a camper van, you could offer them on Campspace
At the moment, the site doesn’t charge you anything to join or advertise your grounds. They even offer to take photos of your space for free. There is no commission charged and they boast that payments are made the day after the new guests check-in. You are also covered for up to ¤10,000 in case of any slip-ups or accidents.
How much you charge per night very much depends on your location and what you can offer.
Have a power back up plan
If you’re concerned about possible power cuts this winter, it could be worth investing in a portable solar power pack to run your essential appliances.
The Portable Power station 296Wh, 300W AC output from Eden Lotus (edenlotus.co.uk) includes a 60W foldable solar panel. It has a sale on, so this pack was £360, but is now £309. It has a plug socket as well as USB ports. Several other manufacturers sell portable power stations so research them online – you could use sites like techradar.com and bestportablepowerstation.com — before you decide to buy.
- Stock up on attractive wrapping paper and gift cards that are entirely recyclable and plastic-free at Ecowrap (ecowrap.co.uk). You can buy your Christmas paper and festive cards and use my special code, JASMINE10, to get 10 per cent off everything on the site until October 31.
Get the right help for caring heroes
Millions of people provide unpaid care for family, friends or neighbours, yet we hear little about what financial help is available to support these heroes.
If you are a carer, perhaps of an elderly relative or a disabled child, make sure you get all the benefits you’re entitled to. You are entitled to carer’s allowance (£69.70 a week) if you look after someone for more than 35 hours a week. Your National Insurance should be paid while you’re a carer, too.
You could also qualify for the Warm Home Discount of £140 over the winter which is taken directly off your electricity bill.
If you are a carer, perhaps of an elderly relative or a disabled child, you are entitled to carer’s allowance (£69.70 a week) if you look after someone for more than 35 hours a week
Contact your local council for a Carer’s Assessment if you haven’t had one. You could be offered all sorts of help, including respite care, support from home visits or a befriending service, and, crucially, extra financial support. The person you care for could qualify for a Blue Badge for parking their car. This means you could both also benefit from Blue Badge discounts such as a free Carer’s Ticket (alongside a discounted seat for the disabled person) at some theatres.
Many charities that support carers offer discounted or free holidays. This could be a break just for you to get away, or a holiday for you both to take together. There’s more information on the NHS website.
You can also get support and information from groups such as Carers UK, where you can meet and chat with other carers. Call them on 0808 808 7777.
For more targeted help, try Age UK on 0800 678 1602, Carers Direct, which is run by the NHS (0300 123 1053), and Family Action which offers support to parents and carers of children: 0808 802 6666.