Easy ways to make some extra cash

Saving your money in an ISA or savings account used to be an easy way to get some hassle–free pocket money. However, the low savings rates of today mean that while we should still use these vehicles to build up savings pots if we want to make some extra cash, we are now going to have to be a bit more creative about it.

While you could get an extra job or brave the boss and ask for a pay rise, there are numerous other imaginative ways you can make a bit extra.

Market research and surveys

Register online with market research companies such as Ipsos Morri, Torluna and Lightspeed and get paid for sharing your opinion. The more market research sites you register with, the more surveys you are able to fill in. But be wary of sites which ask you for any form of payment.

In return for filling in surveys and online questionnaires, you will receive points that you can convert into cash or rewards such as vouchers for amazon.co.uk, Sainsburys and HMV. You may also receive free products and food to try out at home. Alternatively, some websites will automatically enter you into monthly prize draws where you could win up to £2,000.

It’s also possible to be paid money for filling out surveys too: YouGov and yourfreesurveysuk.com are free to register with and you can earn anything between 25p to £50 a survey. Complete the surveys as soon as you can after receiving them as the data turnaround is usually quite quick and if you fill in your form too late, the results might already be in – and you won’t get anything for your time.

Ciao.co.uk will also pay you for filling out surveys as well as up to £15 for writing opinion on various products on its website. Go to borntoloaf.co.uk for more details on this.

Finally if you’re within the M25 area, Focus4People market research sets up small meetings made up of its registered members (again for free) to talk about a certain product or subject that organisations need feedback on. You are paid for your time and transport costs.

Mystery shopping

If a day of shopping or a meal out sounds like your idea of fun, then why not see if you could get paid for it. There are no set qualifications to become a mystery shopper but when you apply prepare yourself as you would for any job as competition can be high.

Your ‘assignments’ are sent at least a couple of weeks in advance. Sometimes you will be asked to buy something specific or ask a sales assistant a particular question and spend on average 20 minutes in the shop, then after your visit you have to fill in a small report, which is often just tickboxes and takes between 10 - 15 minutes.

Payment varies but between £8 - 25 is a rough guide. Mystery shopping assignments may also include going to a bar, restaurant or the cinema. Go to the same websites as mentioned in the market research section.

Rent a room out

Instead of storing old sports equipment and a defunct computer in your spare room, rent it out instead. You could get up to £350 a month or £4,250 per year in rent tax–free.

The room must be furnished and renting a room in a secondary property won’t enjoy the same tax breaks: that is after all buy–to–let and you are therefore a landlord with different legal obligations.

You don’t have to be a homeowner to have a lodger but if you are renting yourself, check the terms and conditions of your lease to see if it’s possible. DirectGov has more information on the Rent a Room scheme on its website.

Rent out your driveway

If your home is close to sports stadiums or concert venues such as Wembley or Wimbledon, or even in proximity to a commuter station, then renting out your driveway or car parking space is as easy as sticking a homemade sign outside your house. 

Even if your postcode isn’t SW19, register with websites parkatmyhouse.com and yourparkingspace.co.uk. The websites link up those looking for spaces with those renting them out.

You can choose to rent your driveway out for an hour or so a week or set up a more long–term contract if you find someone that matches up. How much you make will depend on this as well as your location: spaces close to airports and train stations will always be in demand and you could expect to rent out your driveway fairly regularly.

If you’re close to a shopping centre then you’re more likely to only get customers at the weekend. Parkatmyhouse.com quotes an average of £30 a week but also cites £10 a day for spaces near sporting venues. 

Car-boot sales

Setting up and manning a stall at your local car-boot sale is tiring work but regular car-booters, so to speak, will vouch for it as a great way to spend a day. Not to mention the chance to make a little money from things you might otherwise throw away: one man’s clutter is after all another’s treasure. Go to carbootjunction.com, yourbooty.co.uk and carbootcalendar.com to search the nearest sales to you.

Arrive early so that you can set up before the crowds arrive and bag a good spot. Bring a friend with you to help look after the stall and especially for when you are unloading your car: this is when seasoned car-boot shoppers will start rifling through your stuff and asking how much you are charging, which can be a little overwhelming alone.

Use a fold–out decorating table to display your items on and keep the pricier items closer to you and bring along plenty of carrier bags and newspapers to wrap purchases in. Bring along a fold–out chair to rest your legs and of course pack some sandwiches and a flask of tea to get you through the day.

Use what you’ve got

Not everyone can be the next Kate Moss but luckily not everyone wants, or can’t afford Kate Moss. Painting, drawing and sculpture classes often require nude models for their life classes but if you’re brave enough rates are from £7 to £12 an hour.

Universities and art colleges are good places to look but if you don’t have any near you, go to the nearest library and ask for contact details of local art clubs. Not all art modeling is nude so don’t let that put you off either.

Selling your hair won’t make you rich but if you’ve got a lot of it you could get £3 per ounce of hair. Hair should be in good condition and at least six inches long. Contact hair merchants Banbury Postiche 01295 757400.

ID parades are a dying art form, but some police stations are still yet to go over to the technological side so it’s worth making enquiries at your local station. Some local stations keep a register of volunteers, so, after you've had your photo taken and filled out your vital statistics, all you have to do is wait to be contacted. You’ll be paid around £10-£15 an hour and if the witness or suspect doesn't turn up, you could be called back again.

If you think the world needs to see more of you, why not think about becoming a TV extra. This involves a lot of hanging around so ensure you’re stocked up with food and drink supplies and a good book.

Pay is about £65 a day and you get an instant bonus of £20 if you make it into shot with one of the main actors – known as the ‘money shot’. Search for local acting agencies in Yellow Pages or sign up for free at beonscreen.co.uk

In the name of science

Make enquiries at your local hospital, teaching college or university. Keeping things local and at a hospital you know means you can be monitored closely and also assures you that the trials you undertake are completely ethical and in line with strict UK guidelines. Once you have signed up you will need to undergo a general health check and be asked to declare any medication you are taking or current medical conditions.

If you are worried about the trials you are being asked to participate in, refer to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and library.nhs.uk to get more information on the drugs or therapies you are being asked to test. As well as your pay you will receive expenses and food and entertainment if you need to stay overnight or for a few days.

Become an Avon lady

Fancy yourself as a bit of a salesman? You could become an Avon lady – or 'agent' as they are now called in these PC times – selling toiletries and cosmetics door to door, enjoying a cup of tea on the way and earning commission on what you sell. Contact Avon on 0845 345 8444 or go to the website avon.uk.com.

Knocking on strangers’ doors isn’t everyone’s cup of tea so alternatively host a Body Shop or candle party at your home. Get some wine and nibbles together and get your friends to bring along their friends so that the group isn’t too small and people don’t feel pressured into buying anything.

Working along the premise of old–school tupperware parties, you can either let the products speak for themselves or do the seller's spiel. Go to partylite.co.uk or call 01923 848730 to find out about candles or call 08459 050607 for The Body Shop (thebodyshop.co.uk).

Recycle your mobile phone

An old handset in reasonably good condition could get you as much as £126 if its an 8GB apple iPhone with MoPay. But you can still get something for a more basic phone, such as £11 for the Motorola RAZR V3 again with MoPay.

What you get depends on your phone’s condition but also shop around the various mobile phone recycling companies as they offer different amounts too. Omio.com has links to the main recyclers or alternatively go direct to envirofone.com, mazumamobile.com, moPay.co.uk, mobilephonexchange.co.uk and fonebank.com. 

The little things

From doing someone’s ironing, to being a dog–walker or tutoring your friend’ kids, if you’ve got a hobby or interest that you can turn into spare cash then why not? Admittedly, not many people claim to love ironing – but some people hate it a lot more than others.

And remember…

If you’re making a regular income out of any of these to claim it on your self–assessment tax form. Although the amounts might seem small, they can add up. And you might even be able to claim expenses back.