Ways to Make Money in the Credit Crunch

There are ways to generate income outside the 9-5 grind – get busy in your free time and you could see the pounds rolling in. Liam Tarry shows you how with his top money making tips.

The economic climate means many people will have to tighten their belts over the coming months. While sticking to a budget and finding ways to cut back are advisable, especially during times of financial hardship, with a little imagination and effort you could find there are ways you can actually make money.

Moneywise has come up with 10 ways to make money during the credit crunch – some are easier than others but all of them could see you make some extra cash.

1. Track down old accounts According to the British Bankers’ Association, there is more than 15 billion sitting forgotten in bank and savings accounts in the UK, with the average balance estimated to be 600. The good news is that tracing lost funds has become easier with Mylostaccount.org.uk – a free online service that covers all UK bank and building society accounts. All you need to do is to go to the website and type in your details.

2. Claim tax credits It’s always worth checking that you are receiving all the tax credits you are eligible for. Research by entitledto.co.uk found that people across the UK are collectively missing out on benefits and tax credits worth more than 8 billion a year. So while you’re tracing lost funds, why not visit the entitledto.co.uk website too and work out how much you could claim.

3. Sort your savings Another easy way to make money is to make sure your savings are working as hard as they can. After all, you worked hard for your savings, so they should do the same. If you’ve had the same savings account for a while it might be worth shopping around because new customers tend to get the most competitive rates. Good rates come and go, but if you’ve had a savings account for more than a year the chances are the interest you are earning is not the best out there. If you have a lump sum that you are prepared to lock away for 12 months or longer, then a fixed-rate account might be best. This type of deal will also protect you from interest rate cuts. If you want to start a savings habit then a regular savings account is a good way to ensure you put a set amount of money away each month. But if you want to make deposits as and when, an instant access deal could be the one for you. However, if you haven’t yet used your ISA allowance for the current tax year then this sort of account should be the first home for any savings. You can save up to 3,600 each tax year as cash in an ISA and this will not be taxed.

4. Mystery shopper If you are longing for some retail therapy but can’t afford to hit the shops, why not earn a few pounds as a mystery shopper? Websites such as Retaileyes.co.uk employ mystery shoppers to drop in unannounced in shops and restaurants and rate their experience. After you send in your feedback, you’ll be paid for your time and reimbursed for any purchases you made. You could make up to 20 a day, and get a meal or a night in a nice hotel thrown in for good measure.

5. Use cashback credit cards If you pay off your credit bill in full each month, a cashback credit card could be the way to go. These offer you moneyback on purchases in certain shops or on goods such as petrol. -Cashback credit cards are a great way to reward savvy spenders,- says Andrew Hagger, from Moneynet.co.uk, a price comparison website. -You can earn extra cash without even having to change your shopping habits.-

6. Cashback sites You can earn even more money from shopping online. Cashback websites will automatically pay you every time you buy a product or a service from selected retailers, from your weekly groceries to switching your utility provider. For example, CashbackKings.co.uk would pay you 1.50 for a 50 weekly shop at Tesco.com, up to 18 if you switched your gas and electricity provider through uSwitch and as much as 85 if you were to take out an ISA with Legal & General.

7. Take in a lodger While most of us pay a fortune for our homes, it’s possible to make your home make money for you. According to Abbey, you could make as much as 368 a month from renting out a spare room. Under the government’s -rent a room’ scheme, you don’t need to pay tax on the first 4,250 you receive either, which means you could charge up to 354.16 a month without being lumbered with a tax bill.

8. Rent out a parking space If you live close to a city centre, train station or football stadium and don’t use your parking space or garage, you’re sitting on a proverbial goldmine. Renting an empty parking place to a commuter or football fan could see you rake in the pounds. Parkatmyhouse.com is a website where you can advertise your space free of charge and let frustrated drivers get in touch. A parking space in the West End of London, for example, can fetch 500 a month, while in a leafy suburb of Leeds a space could net you 100.

9. Auctions We’re all guilty of hoarding items that -could come in handy one day’. But one man’s rubbish could be another man’s treasure, which is why online auction website eBay.co.uk is so successful. In fact, eBay estimates the average British house has about 450 worth of unwanted items that could be sold on the site. For more valuable items, it could be worth going to an auction. Jonty Hearnden, antiques expert and presenter of BBC 1’s Cash in the Attic and Sun, Sea and Bargain Spotting, says you should contact a local auctioneer if you think an item could be valuable. “You could be asked to email across a digital photo, which the auctioneer will assess for free, or the auctioneer might visit you at no extra cost to take a closer look – especially if it is a large item,” he explains.

10. Car boot sales If you’d prefer money in your palm instantly, a car boot sale is the place to go. Thousands of people flock to car boot sales every weekend, with pitches costing about 10 a day. To find out where to flog your booty, check out Carbootjunction.com.

Lisa Mills runs two websites, one selling baby gifts and the other promoting childrens gift baskets.

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