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 five unusual ideas to earn extra money. Find more money-making tips on our 50 ways to make money page.
24. Be a TV extra
Ever wondered who all those people are milling around in the Rovers Return on Coronation Street? Or in the crowd at films scenes set at a train station or shopping centre? These people are extras – or ‘background artists’ – and they’re being paid.
You don’t need to have any acting skills to be an extra but you’ll need to be reliable and often available at short notice. The official rates for extras are £84 per nine-hour day and £105 for a nine-hour night. You get paid more if you have a speaking part or perform a special skill such as horse riding or dancing.
To get work, you need to sign up to an agency - try castingcollective.co.uk. Be wary of any agency that wants a big fee upfront.
25. Be a life model
Fancy stripping for cash? If you don’t have any qualms about getting your kit off in front of a room full of strangers, and you can sit still, you can earn £10 to £15 an hour (plus tips) as a
life model for art classes.
Art schools and evening classes will often be on the lookout for life models and you don’t need the physique of a Greek god to take part. For men who do have muscles to show off, there’s a growing trend for nude life drawing as part of a hen night - if you’re man enough to cope with hordes of excited women.
modelreg.co.uk is a register of life models which allows them to find and be found by potential art tutors looking for models. There is a joining fee of £38.50. Alternatively, it is possible to find many options online - the websites of art schools and gumtree.com are good places to look.
26. Model your child
While every parent thinks their child is a star, model agencies could think so too. If you think your little one has what it takes, the first step is to contact an agency to ask about their requirements. You will be asked to send in a head and shoulders photo of your child, either by post or email.
If your child stands out, you may be invited for an interview, to assess if your child is right for TV, photo or film. Depending on the child’s age, shoots pay about £50 an hour, but bear in mind that agencies will likely charge an upfront fee to join or take commission of around 25% to 37.5%.
27. Become a tutor
One in four UK children has private tuition at some point in their education, according to thetutorwebsite.co.uk. You don’t need to be a qualified teacher to be a tutor, although it does help.
Graduates or students often work as private tutors and earn an average of £22 an hour.
28. Be a direct seller
Direct selling is basically face-to-face selling outside a normal retail environment, either on a one-to-one basis or at specially held parties.
Companies such as Avon, Betterware and Herbalife use direct sellers who work flexibly around other commitments. In most cases, getting started only requires a modest initial investment, usually about £100. Watch out for scammers, though – such as companies demanding a big fee upfront or promising untold riches.