MONEY might be tight – but following these simple tips could help you make extra cash.
From renting out your driveway to selling old clothes, there are dozens of straightforward ways to make money.
Market research firms are always looking for new product testers, while many banks offer cash incentives to switch your account.
And better still, HMRC now lets you earn £1,000 on the side tax-free through the trading allowance.
Still, there's plenty to be wary of when cashing in one-off or taking on a side hustle.
Always pay careful attention to firms offering you a "quick fix" of cash – and get-rich-quick schemes are always just that.
Cheap loans are also something to be wary of, especially if you already have a poor credit rating.
Often the most needy won't get the advertised interest rate – and could face other costly caveats like shorter repayment windows.
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Here are some of the easiest, legitimate methods for making extra money this year.
1. Earn £20 an hour by queuing
You can earn £20 an hour – and up to £160 a day – waiting in line on behalf of rich clients with more money than time to spare.
Professional queuer Freddie Beckitt told us last week: "It doesn't require any skill or even hard work!
"But it gives me lots of flexibility to earn and fit it around my writing schedule."
Freddie used app TaskRabbit, where you can list your skills and have potential clients get in touch right away.
But the service also takes a 15% "commission fee" on the total price of the job, so charge a little above what you expect to keep.
2. Watch TV earn up to £70 a session
Again, it sounds too good to be true.
Yet market research firm TheViewers really does hire TV watchers to research panels, where you can be paid £40 to £70 a session – just to talk about what you saw.
Although the firm remains tight-lipped about the sorts of programmes shown to researchers, discussions can take place in-person at the company's HQ or remotely.
Think Gogglebox, except it pays.
3. Cashback on purchases – earn £100s a year
You can get PAID to shop. Pocket payments upwards of £50 on purchases just for clicking through cashback websites first.
But remember, if you didn't plan to buy something, the cashback isn't a saving.
Topcashback and Quidco are two of the most popular website offering this – with the former paying out £160 to new Sky customers if you sign up via its site.
As you usually have to make a purchase to earn money back, it's not exactly an alternative income – but you can definitely save in the hundreds each year if you do it right.
4. Switch bank account – earns £100s a year
From Halifax to HSBC to Santander, many of the big high street banks now offer more than £100 just for opening a current account and moving money over.
One serial switcher we spoke to pocketed £400 from this in just one year.
Right now, First Direct is offering a sweet £130. Beware of the catches and always read the terms and conditions.
5. Become an art model – earn £10 an hour
Luckily, you don't have to look like Venus de Milo or Michelangelo's Statue of David to get a job as a life model.
You just need lots of patience.
Art schools and universities are always looking for people of all shapes and sizes to draw, paint and sculpt.
Models are typically paid around £10 an hour, according to the Register of Artists' Models.
And if you're into something a little rowdier, there are life model hen nights where the art becomes a tad more risque.
6. Sell your old gadgets – make £100s
You'll be surprised just how much an old desktop PC, fax machine and BlackBerry could pocket you.
Our pre-Christmas round-up found a handful of old gadgets could amount to a whopping £679.
So open that old drawer, dust off the old smartphone and start checking websites like eBay, Sell My Mobile and Mazuma.
7. Share your opinions online
Research agencies like AttaPoll, Qmee, Prolific and Streetbees will pay good money for a completed survey – sometimes as much as £5 for just a few minutes' clicking.
YouGov and PanelBase.net pay £6 for lengthier Q&As.
By our estimates, completing one survey a week could pocket you upwards of £300 a year.
And if you're willing to accept Amazon vouchers instead of cash, it could be more.
8. Rent out your driveway – earn £100s a year
With some home parking spaces now worth thousands each year, many UK families have started renting out their own driveway and pocketing the cash.
During the summer months, parking spots in St Ives sell for as much as £350 per month, with other spots around Cornwall retail for more than £100.
And busy commuter towns like Southend and Reading have seen driveway rental prices rocket in recent years.
Just visit a website like YourParkingSpace.co.uk for more info about how much yours could be worth.
9. Become a secret shopper – £100s a year
Mystery shoppers earn a surprising amount of money, making up to £1,500 a year for their troubles.
And sometimes they get to keep the items or get freebies.
All you need to is walk into a shop and complete a serious of checks including cleanliness, customer service, accessibility and more.
Sign up with sites like Market Force or Mystery Shoppers to see what's available.
10. Stick a billboard on your car – £100 a month
Another crazy-sounding idea, but you can make genuine money by advertising on your motor.
Car Quids offers up to £100 a month depending on how much you drive, whereabouts you live and more.
According to the firm, most of the vehicles which pass its careful selection criteria are 2009 or newer, so your rusty lemon in the garage probably won't be too profitable.
Car Quids also doesn't accept motorbikes or convertibles.
There's no minimum mileage requirement or a specific place you have to go – just be honest about your usual commute and you might get signed up.
Car Quids advises potential drivers check with their insurer first, as every insurer has "different policies and requirements", they said.
And you get the right to refuse any advert if you're not happy with its content, message or taste.
11. Recycle old clothes
Cash for clothes collectors will often pay 50p or £1 per kilo of old clothes, depending where in the country you are.
And since 2013, H&M has paid for shoppers' old clothes via its Garment Collecting Programme.
The chain used to give £5 vouchers, but now the offer seems to be a 15% off discount code for use at the store.
There's no limit on the number of bags you can give or what needs to be in them, so you can hoard discount vouchers for a few purchases.
Regardless of the brand or condition of your item, H&M will pay you for it, so open up your old wardrobe and start planning a few trips.
12. Sell your childhood toys
Bags of assorted Lego bricks are worth more than you might think.
Unsentimental owners of incomplete Lego sets and boxes of bricks have made decent money selling the toys to sites like Music Magpie and Zapper.
And eBay is always worth checking – this 250g bag of assorted bricks just sold for almost a tenner.
In fact, Lego is probably a better investment than gold.
Plus, old Monopoly sets can go for up to £800 – and you get to cut down on family arguments.
13. Recycle empty printer cartridges
Another unlikely item to retain its value, used printer cartridges are often bought back by stores in order to make new ones.
That saves on the cost of new plastic – never mind the environmental benefit.
Cash for Cartridges and Infotone will give you cash for a big amount, or you can trade them in at the Recycling Factory for up to 125 Tesco Clubcard points.
14. Test products for money
Companies like Paid Product Testing will offer you cash to try and review new items from firms like Nescafe and Amazon.
Testers are usually given £10 Amazon vouchers or PayPal transfers per product they're sent.
You can also pocket a little extra cash by simply filling in Paid Product Testing's research surveys from the comfort of your own home.
15. Test food for money
Supermarkets and big food companies pay members of the public upwards of £50 to try new items before they hit the shelves.
Or you can have free food sent to your home to try out, saving on shopping costs.
Find out exactly how to get involved in our latest guide on this.
16. Take a photo of a derelict house
Spot a derelict house and you could earn yourself a quick buck.
All you need to do is fill out the address and upload a picture of an abandoned home to the YouSpotProperty website.
If you're the first to find it, then you'll win a £20 voucher.
But there's a catch – only derelict houses in London and the home counties are in line for payouts, as their prices are so much higher than elsewhere.
So if you live in the South East, get snapping.
17. Listen to music – £15 a month
One of the more fun ways to pocket some cash, SlicethePie will pay you 10p for every song you listen to and rate.
That sounds like very little, but over five hours of listening, that's a £15 payout.
Other ideas for making money from home include taking photos of your receipts, referring friends via apps and making small, affordable investments.
Plus, keep up to date with all our money saving tips.
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