With everything from food to energy costing more, most people have less spare cash at the moment – so how can you make extra money for Christmas?
Here are some of my ideas for both saving and making some cash – some of which I do myself, but I’ll definitely be giving some new ones a try to help boost this year’s festive budget.
None of them will make you instantly rich, but if you pick a few that suit you and your circumstances, they will help increase your Christmas budget a few pennies or pounds at a time – it all adds up!
Keep an eye on tax rules
Tax requirements change frequently, so make sure you check what you’re allowed to earn before you have to pay tax on it.
At the time of writing, people living in the UK can earn up to £1,000 per tax year from self-employment (including casual jobs or renting out part of your home) or selling goods without having to tell HMRC.
Review your finances
Once you’ve checked out your tax situation, the first thing I recommend you do is look at how you’re spending the money you already have.
Reducing what you spend and making money work harder is so much easier than finding ways to make more money.
So check to see if you’re spending hard-earned cash on things you don’t want, need or use and for everything that’s left make sure you’ve got a good deal and you’re not paying more than you have to.
It might take a bit of time to get new quotes for things like home insurance or wifi, but if you haven’t switched for some time, you could save hundreds of pounds.
Make your money work harder
If you don’t already have one, consider applying for a cashback credit card which you can use for your everyday spending.
Some cards (look out for those you don’t have to pay a fee for) will pay you 5% of everything you spend for the first few months, so you can earn hundreds a year – just make sure you set up a direct debit to pay off the balance in full each month to avoid paying interest.
You can also make some effectively ‘free’ money from switching your bank account through the current account switching service (which automatically moves across all payments, direct debits and standing orders).
At the time of writing several high street banks are offering £200 to new customers.
Finally, when you’ve made your extra cash don’t leave it in an account that pays little or no interest – with inflation as it is, even if you only have a few pounds in there, it’s losing value.
Most savings accounts – especially app-based ones – only take a few minutes to open and there are several that are now paying 3.5% interest or more – and still allow you to access your money whenever you need to (but try and save it for Christmas if you can!).
Sell your old stuff
Once you’re confident you’re making the most of the money you already have, it’s time to turn your unwanted possessions into cash.
You might think you haven’t got anything worth selling, but one of my neighbours recently sold old rubble on Facebook Marketplace – so you just never know!
If you have good quality clothes, books, DVDs, CDs, computer games or technology to sell, eBay tends to get you the best price, but you’ll have to pay fees, so bear that in mind.
Alternatively you can try Gumtree, sell for free on Facebook Marketplace, or for (probably) less money but a quick and convenient sale you can get quotes from WeBuyBooks, CeX, Ziffit, Music Magpie and Vinted and see who’ll pay you the most.
While you’re in decluttering mode (you’ll be so glad you got this done early in the year when Christmas comes around!), do you have any used printer cartridges lying around the house?
If so, you can do something good for the planet by checking if you can recycle them – and make some extra cash!
It’s not going to make you rich – and how much/if you get paid depends on the make and model of the cartridges you have – but, as the saying goes, every little helps!
There are various websites offering this service – one of the larger ones is The Recycling Factory.
Rent out your parking space
You may not have the room for a lodger (or want to share your living space), but could you rent out your driveway instead?
If you live near a town or city centre, a railway station or popular music or sports venue you might find there are plenty of people willing to pay you to park their car at your house.
However, there are some things to consider before taking the plunge with this money-making idea.
For example, you’ll need to speak to your insurance company and mortgage provider to check it’s allowed – and that you’re covered for any damage or other legal liabilities.
You’ll also need a legal agreement in place – lots of the websites and apps in this space (no pun intended) provide one as part of their service.
Get paid for completing online surveys
If you have some time to spare and enjoy filling in questionnaires, this could be the way for you to earn a little extra cash.
Usually you have to complete a lot of surveys before you can withdraw any money (or a gift card) – but if you get going now, you could have a few extra pounds in the bank before Christmas.
For those who are available during the school day, it’s worth keeping an eye out for local job adverts for exam invigilators, particularly during the summer months.
Watch TV or go shopping (mysteriously)
Shops pay mystery shoppers to test their products and suss out the in-store purchasing experience.
So if you love shopping, this one might be worth a go.
Shop assistants in various stores have asked me if I’m a mystery shopper in the past, but I’ve never tried this particular money-making trick myself…I must have that ‘mysterious’ air about me!
Bear in mind that you may be given money to spend on purchases in a particular shop or on a meal in a restaurant rather than being paid cash.
Or if watching TV is more up your street, you can give your views on new programmes – and get paid!
Check out The Viewers website – you can earn from £50 for a group discussion or up to £10 for an hour-long survey.
I hope you find these money-making tips useful and they help you boost your Christmas budget, even by a little.
Let me know how you get on – and if you have any other Christmas money-making ideas!
Please note I’m not a financial adviser, and you should seek advice from someone qualified (and fully independent) if you’re struggling with debt.
Information is correct at the time of writing (Friday 12 May 2023).