Participate in research
Take part in online surveys
Top up your bank balance by filling in online surveys when you’ve got a spare 15 minutes. Market research websites such as YouGov, Ipsos and One Poll offer reward points as an incentive to take part in their online surveys. Once you’ve accumulated enough points, you can exchange these for rewards. With Ipsos, every 1,350 points is worth a £10 voucher for places like Amazon, Argos and other well-known retailers or you can choose to donate the reward to a charity. YouGov offers money as payment but you can only cash in once you’ve reached £50 pounds worth (5,000 points) and this can take a long time. You also have the option to enter your points into draws for the chance to win a range of prizes. With short surveys and the ability to cash in at £40, One Poll is perhaps the better one out of the three. It offers small 10p to 30p surveys throughout the day but doesn’t send you email invites like the others so you’ll need to log in in order to access them. This is great when you’re spending a day at home and have spare time on your hands as you keep on top of the surveys by dipping into the site several times a day.
- Survey sites should always be free – never pay to join them, the scam sites that do exist will be the ones that ask you for money
- Set up a separate email account to avoid clogging up your main email with survey invitations
- Join at least five good survey sites – some sites will send invites out on ad-hoc basis so it can take a long time to reach the target amount of points. Join as many as you can, the more sites you register with, the more money you’ll make.
Attend focus groups
Agencies holding focus groups will shell out money to participants as thank you gestures. You could earn hundreds of pounds just from attending a one day session (and often a complimentary lunch too!) These can be limited to a few times a year but the rewards can make up for it. Most agencies have a pool of people registered on a database so that they can quickly track down the right personalities for a project. For example, they might require mothers to test out baby products or runners to trial some new sports equipment. Some of the well-established agencies include Saros and Research Opinions.
Become a mystery shopper
Make money whilst you shop, drink and dine out. Mystery shoppers are typically asked to visit a retailer and complete a questionnaire about how they rated the customer service. Well-known recruiters include ABAI, which works with shops like Selfridges. Another one to look out for is Grass Roots which specialises in retail, restaurants, banking, and leisure.
Make money online
Journalists are always on the prowl for extraordinary stories. If you’re a talented writer, put your skills to good use by freelancing for newspapers, blogging for company websites, writing for magazines or even trying your hand at play writing. Catherine Turner, a semi-retired teacher regularly circulates her play scripts to local theatre competitions. ‘I have a real passion for play writing so I send my scripts round to a number of companies and enter competitions. I’ve heard back from quite a few and have earned cash prizes on odd occasions’.
Showcase your work by uploading your portfolio pieces to sites such as freelancer. It functions a little bit like ebay – employers offer work and freelancers pitch for the job. Similarily, Contently has a writer’s network where freelancers can compete for work at well-known publishers such as Forbes and Buzzfeed.
Don’t forget about Twitter either. Lots of organisations source guest bloggers for their websites by identifying key influencers through social media. It’s always worth tweeting links to your work as you never know who might stumble across it.
In such a subjective industry, it’s normal not to hear anything back straight away so make sure you keep persevering. If you’re not sure on where to start, visit Freelance Advisor, it’s full of resources and helpful guidance on the freelancing world.
Upload videos to Youtube
Broadcasting funny or interesting videos through Youtube could earn you some money. If you regularly upload compelling videos that get lots of views, you might be eligible to get a cut from the adverts YouTube places next to the clips. You’ll need to apply to Youtube’s Partner Programme to see if you can qualify. Try and upload videos that are original or quirky, maybe you know how to fix something or perhaps you just have a funny video of your pet that you want to share?
Use cashback sites
Registering with cash back sites is a really easy way of racking up additional funds. Retailers such as Tesco, Argos, Boots and Sainsbury’s pay cash back sites like Quidco, TopCashback and imutual commission to push shoppers to their websites.
So how do cash back sites actually work? It’s quite simple: say you wanted to purchase a watch for a friend’s birthday, all you would need to do is visit the cash back site first to check whether the retailer is a partner. It’s then as easy as clicking through to the website via the deal and purchasing the watch as you would do normally. You’ll usually get a percentage of the money back – this is great if you’re looking at buying a TV, laptop or a big purchase, as the return can be quite significant. It can sometimes take a while to see the money land in your bank account, but they should pay out.
Rent out space
Take in a lodger
Have your children moved out and left you with unoccupied bedrooms you don’t know what to do with? If you’re willing to have additional company in your home, taking in a lodger can be a good way of generating a bit of extra income. Interestingly, you can reduce tax by choosing one of two options:
- the ‘rent a room’ scheme: take in a lodger to live in a furnished room in your home. It has a special exemption meaning you won’t have to pay tax on the first £4,250 you make each year (this is halved if you share the income with your partner or someone else.)
- deducting expenses: HMRC allows landlords to deduct mortgage interest costs and other expenses from any rental income. See Gov.uk for full info.
Rent out storage space
Storemates lets you rent out spare space to others looking for cheap storage which is great if you have spare space in your garage or an empty room in your house. It’s free to register, search and list, but charges a one-off fee of two weeks’ rent if you find a successful match.
Rent out your parking space
If you have a spare car parking space in a convenient hot spot such as the city centre or near to a football stadium, you could turn this into a goldmine by renting it out to a devoted football fan or a regular commuter. JustPark allows you to promote your space for free to drivers struggling to find a spare space.
Work in your local area
Become what is known as a ‘lifestyle courier’ by delivering parcels in your local neighbourhood on behalf of parcel giant ‘Hermes’. Retiree Martin Brown worked as a self-employed courier last year: ‘Over Christmas I would sometimes be delivering 150 parcels a day, it was around 50p per parcel at the time so that’s £75 a day’. Parcel deliverers are in high demand, especially over the festive period so it’s worth visiting the Hermes website and filling in an application form if you’re interested.
The internet has had a sweeping impact on the ability to do work-at-home jobs and there’s no sign of this slowing down. From completing online surveys through to renting out a car parking space, it’s great to know that there are lots of things we can do to make a bit of extra money in our spare time.
Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions.