With household costs on the rise it's not surprising the average family now needs £25,000 a year just to break even, according to a study by Skipton Financial Services.
But while average expenditures are creeping up, salary rises haven't kept pace and the worry is that many companies are still keeping a tight rein on salary increases.
So to beat the pinch, many people are now looking for new ways to boost their income to help them afford the things their wages won't stretch to. To help you on your way, Moneywise has come up with 10 simple ways that can help you boost your pay packet by nearly £15,000.
1. SHOP AROUND
You could be paying out hundred of pounds more than you need to for your household bills, so shopping around can instantly boost your disposable income.
It can seem like a daunting and time-consuming task but by using comparison websites such as moneysupermarket.com, comparethemarket.com or moneywise.co.uk, switching to the best deal is easy. And you can save yourself a mint.
For example, opting for the most competitive car insurance premium could save you £400 a year, while you could make a £125-a-year saving on your home insurance and £205 on utilities, according to moneysupermarket.co.uk.
2. RENT OUT YOUR DRIVEWAY
A great way to make money is to rent out your driveway or garage. The price you can charge depends on where you live, your proximity to transport links and how difficult it is to park in your area, but by using a website such as parkatmyhouse.com to advertise your parking space you could make an average of £2,125 a year.
Homeowners in London stand to make most profit at £4,000 a year, while those living in Manchester, Cardiff or Edinburghcould earn £2,000, £1,000 and £1,500 respectively, says the website.
3. RENT OUT YOUR CAR
You could go one step further and rent out your car to your neighbours. Whipcar.co.uk allows you to do exactly that to pre-approved drivers. Most people charge about £40 a day for a family-sized car such as a Volkswagen Golf.
The website will take a 15% cut each time you rent your car out but you could still stand to make about £800 a year from just a couple of days a month. In addition, Whipcar's special insurance will mean your no-claims bonus is safe.
4. GET A LODGER
The average amount people are willing to pay for a room differs depending on where you live, but renting out a room could earn you anything between £64 a week in Belfast to about £200 in central London, according to rental website sharearoom.com.
And the great news is that under the government's Rent a Room scheme, you only have to pay tax on any annual rental income above £4,250.
5. RECYCLE YOUR OLD PHONE
Many of us will be given new gadgets for Christmas, but don't let your old mobile phone or tablet gather dust. There are tons of websites out there, such as envirofone.com and money4urmobile.com, which will send you cash for your phone but you should first check out a comparison site such as sellmymobile.com, which lists all the prices on offer from these recycling services.
"It's crucial to shop around to make sure you get the best price. There's often a signifi cant difference between the lowest and highest offer from recyclers," says Colin White, managing director of sellmymobile.com.
6. GET THE BEST RETIREMENT INCOME
If you are coming up to retirement and have decided to buy an annuity with your pension pot, it's important you shop around first. The difference between the best and worst rates can be more than 30%.
For example, the average annual payout for a man aged 60 with a single life annuity with a retirement pot of £100,000 is £4,599, while he could get £4,881 after shopping around, says William Burrows, founder of William Burrows Annuities. If you have any health problems or if you are a smoker, you could add up to £1,100 on top of that, Burrows adds.
MAKE: between £282 and £1,100
7. CLAIM ALL YOU ARE ENTITLED TO
You could be entitled to claim a lot more than you realise. According to the benefit advice website turn2us.org.uk, people could be missing out on an average yearly income boost of £3,222. The most overlooked benefits include pension credits, with 80% of pensioners unaware that they qualify.
The turn2us benefits calculator or the government's benefits adviser service (gov.uk/benefits-adviser) should be your first port of call to help you calculate what you can claim.
8. KEEP YOUR SAVINGS RATE COMPETITIVE
If your savings have been sitting in the same account for a while, chances are the interest rate is now next to nothing. With a savings pot of £10,000, you could make an extra £213 in annual interest by switching from the average to market-leading rate, according to figures from moneysupermarket.com.
Loyalty doesn't pay, so switch on a regular basis.
9. RAID YOUR LOFT
Not only will raiding your loft double up as a good spring clean but selling your old stuff could earn you cash. The average Brit hoards about 134 unused items around the house, totalling a value of £850, according to recycling site, musicmagpie.co.uk.
You could sell anything from DVDs to your old hair straighteners, unwanted clothes or old prams using websites such as preloved.co.uk, ebay.co.uk or musicmagpie.co.uk.
You could even get more than you think, according to preloved.co.uk. There is currently high demand for retro technology, so your old walkman tape player could earn up to £50.
10. GET CASH WHEN YOU SPEND
Cashback websites are rising in popularity as people clock on to the fact you can make money when you shop.
If you want to shop online, websites such as topcashback.co.uk or quidco.co.uk offer cashback from about 3,500 retailers. According to Quidco, you could make an average of £262 a year when buying anything from insurance to homeware using a cashback website.
You can even register your debit card, and make money from shopping in stores automatically. Cashback can then be paid to you via PayPal or your bank account, although some sites will take your first £5 as a yearly fee.
TOTAL PAY RISE: £13,811