This is the time of year when many people realise how much they spent over Christmas and in the sales and start to rein in their spending. If you have maxed out your credit cards or have an overdraft it can feel even more of an anticlimax than usual. The Christmas spirit has vanished in a puff of receipts!
If you have strained your bank balace with an excess of festive cheer, how can you fill the black hole in your finances? I have done a lot of the following in the past and still do some to keep the wolf from the door. I saved money for Christmas so I no longer experience that feeling of dread when I check my bank statement, but I like to keep my finances as healthy as possible throughout the year.
Here are some ideas:
If you have a spare room, advertise for a lodger either on-line or locally. Request a deposit and a couple of week’s rent in advance.
If you don’t want a lodger full time, see if you have a language school nearby. We have taken in foreign students from all over the world for 2-3 weeks at a time (and even 6 months in one case), earned money and thoroughly enjoyed meeting young people from different countries. Some students wish to stay for up to a year.
www.airbnb.co.uk gives you an opportunity to rent out your spare room on a bed and breakfast basis or even your whole house. You can offer this for any amount of time, from a weekend to a fortnight.
For all of these, the Government’s Rent a Room Scheme lets you earn up to a threshold of £4,250 per year tax-free letting out furnished accommodation in your home. See Direct.Gov.UK/rent-room-in-your-home for full details.
Do you have any skills that could make you extra money? If you are a graduate, perhaps you can tutor children in your chosen subject, or offer a course at an Adult Education Centre. If you are great at hair and beauty, make a portfolio and offer your services for proms, weddings and special occasions. Are you fantastic at DIY, dressmaking or gardening? There will often be people willing to pay for these services, and many appreciative customers for a good reliable cleaner, ironer or dog walker.
Many people make a useful second income direct selling at parties. These have moved on from Tupperware; you can sell makeup, candles, kitchenware, clothes – even sex toys!
How about direct selling? I used to push my toddler round the estate in her pushchair selling Avon cosmetics. there is also a company calle Betterware which sells kitchen and home equipment door to door.
Could you rent out your driveway? If you live near to a city centre, an airport, sports stadium or train station, you might be able to make extra cash in this way. Take a look at www.justpark.com and www.parklet.co.uk to name but two.
Recycle your old mobile phone. There are a multitude of sites on the Internet that claim to pay you cash quickly whether your phone is working or not. However, you may get more for a modern phone in working order if you sell it privately.
If you are a gardener, you could sell your extra plants from your front garden.
Sell your unwanted clothes and other items on eBay, Gumtree or Depop.
If you are crafty, you can sell your creations on Etsy.
Whatever you decide to do, try to find something that you enjoy. It can feel like a hard slog otherwise, especially if you already work full time. How do you make extra income?