Household bills have risen 10 times faster than incomes have grown since the start of the financial crisis, research by price comparison website uSwitch has found.
But if you have already fine-tuned your household finances by cutting energy and food bills, as well as remortgaging, and are still struggling to find spare cash, what can you do?
Here are the second nine ideas to earn extra money revolving around making money in your free time. Find more money-making tips on our 50 ways to make money page.
6. Take part in market research
Companies carry out extensive market research before launching a product, website, app or advertising campaign. Customer feedback is a major part of this research and often takes part in the form of small group discussions. These pay between £20 and £200 for an hour or two and you'll need to fit the exact requirements to be eligible to take part. Register your details at peopleforresearch.co.uk or researchopinions.co.uk.
7. Complete online surveys
There are numerous survey sites that encourage you to sign up then alert you when a suitable survey becomes available. Participation is normally rewarded in cash or vouchers.
One of the best known is Ipsos. Once you've signed up for its i-Say (i-say.com) service, it will send suitable surveys and polls in your direction. A typical survey pays £1 and takes about 15 minutes.
Payment is in shopping vouchers and it will pay out once you've accrued £10 in your account.
8. Complete tasks online
Several websites pay users to do various things from searching the internet, to playing online games.
Swagbucks.com is a popular site. Its members complete online tasks, mainly in exchange for gift cards. Tasks include surveys, polls, watching videos and web searches. Playing a game on the site will earn you between 1 and 5 Swagbucks. One Swagbuck is worth between 1p and 5p.
9. Get paid to watch TV
Theviewers.co.uk is a market research organisation that focuses solely on television. It's hired by broadcasters and TV channels to find people to take part in discussion groups and online research. Subjects include feedback on TV shows, opinions about new programmes, and marketing.
Participants typically earn £40 to £70 for a 90-minute to two-hour informal group discussion. You can take part in online surveys, which typically pay about £5 for half an hour’s work.
10. Be a mystery shopper
A wide range of companies pay researchers to pose as normal customers to find out what kind of experience they have. Tasks vary from simply buying a product to staying in a hotel or recording a shopping experience via a covert video camera.
As a general guide, these assignments pay £5 to £10 and you'll be reimbursed for products you buy. Visit checkoutuk.co.uk, esa-retail.co.uk or grassrootsmysteryshopping.com.
11. Be a secret agent
The Field Agent app connects companies that need information with people who can provide it for a small fee: the field agents.
Some tasks such as completing surveys can be done at home, while others will require some travel. For example, the task might be to photograph a shop window display or check something is on sale in a certain store. You’ll need a smartphone to take part. Go to: fieldagent.co.uk
Once you’ve completed the task in the stated time limit you’ll be paid the agreed fee, normally between £3 and £6. Rival app, Roamler, works in a similar way. Go to roamler.com
12. Be a Giffgaff guru
Giffgaff.com is a mobile phone company that works in a slightly different way to rivals – it pays its customers to act as both salespeople and troubleshooters.
To get involved you need to sign up to a Giffgaff SIM card deal. Then you can earn 'payback points' in various ways, and then convert the points into cash.
The main way to earn points is by persuading other people to join Giffgaff – you'll get 500 payback points (£5) per activated SIM. Tech experts can also earn points by answering users' questions in the Giffgaff online forum.
13. Become a ‘comper’
Magazines, newspapers, websites and hundreds of companies give away both cash and prizes in competitions each month. For the advertisers that provide the prizes, it's a cheap way to get people to learn about their product, visit their website or collect contact details for marketing purposes.
For consumers who have the time to enter, competitions can be lucrative – around £300 million worth of prizes are given away in the UK every year.
Compers News magazine (compersnews.com) lists more than 400 competitions and prize draws each issue.
14. Get paid for keeping fit
Now you’re financially fitter, you might want to get physically fitter, but why not link the two? You can earn points for fitness related tasks, such as going to the gym and even just walking, via free-to-join website and app Bounts. You can then redeem points for gift vouchers at high-street retailers. Other apps that allow you to earn money for keeping fit include Pact and Well Coin, If you have a Fitbit device, check out the Fitcoin app too.