The new year is typically a time when a lot of people take a look at their finances, and with the cost of living crisis adding pressure to household budgets, it’s even more important that consumers make their money go further in 2023.
Which? has collated 11 tips to make consumers extra cash this year – combine a few of them, and they could reach £1,000 – the maximum amount of tax-free income covered by the trading or property allowances.
1. Switch bank accounts
A relatively easy way to make up to £175 is to find incentives to switch your bank account to a different provider. Currently, First Direct is offering £175 to new customers. Terms and conditions apply – so check with the bank before switching to find out what steps you need to take.
You must use the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) to switch, and deposit £1,000 within three months of opening the account. You must be a new customer to First Direct, and cannot have been an HSBC current-account holder on or after 1 January 2019.
Although there’s only one offer right now, Which? has seen lots of banks introduce time-limited switching incentives over the past year, and expects more to launch soon.
2. Boost your savings
If you have savings in an account paying a low-interest rate, it’s a good time to shop around and find a more competitive rate.
While no accounts can currently beat the rate of inflation, you can get 7% AER with First Direct’s regular saver. Which?’s guide to the best savings rates is regularly updated, for those looking for instant-access and fixed-term accounts.
If you follow our other tips and hit the £1,000 money-making goal, you could also lock that away in a savings account to maximise your earnings.
3. Share your skills
It is possible to be paid for skills, such as photography or doing DIY. For example, Taskrabbit connects people who need a hand with odd jobs, and people who have the time and know-how to do them.
4. Sell your old clothes
It’s also worth selling old clothing or accessories. A Which? journalist made £160 selling clothes at a car boot sale – or another way to sell preloved items is via secondhand marketplaces such as Vinted, Depop, or eBay.
Before making a listing, do some research to see which platform is best for your item, and how much people have sold the same or similar items for. Users should also factor in seller fees for using the platform. Which? has a useful guide on the best and worst places for shopping secondhand online.
5. Make cash from your trash
Old or unwanted items such as toiletries, clothes and printer ink cartridges can often be recycled in exchange for money and vouchers.
Empty printer ink cartridges can fetch as much as £2.50 on some websites – and if you do this multiple times per year it soon adds up. For example, recycling two printer cartridges (colour and black ink) three times a year would add up to £15 – how much you can earn will depend on how much ink you use. Sites such as The Recycling Factory and Inkviro can give an estimate of how much empty cartridges can fetch.
Some stores also offer rewards when shoppers return empty beauty products. For example, John Lewis, Boots and Lush have recycling schemes offering vouchers or loyalty points that can be used towards your next purchase.
6. Make money from your car or driveway
You can earn money from your driveway or garage by listing it on sites such as JustPark and YourParkingSpace, and renting it out to motorists searching for a cheaper or guaranteed parking spot. You can register your space free of charge, and earn anything from £50 to £800 a month.
Owners of electric vehicle chargers can also rent them out. Sites including JustCharge and Co Charger allow you to set your own rates for electricity and manage bookings.
7. Check for unclaimed benefits
More than seven million UK households could be missing out on help and benefits like council tax discounts, pension credit, and Universal Credit, according to entitledto.
What you can get depends on your circumstances. For instance, people who are out of work or on low incomes may be able to claim Universal Credit, where you’ll receive regular payments to top up your income.
It can be tricky to know which benefits you might be able to claim, and how much you’ll get. Which? suggests checking what might be available to claim by entering details about you and anyone else in your household into the entitledto calculator.
8. Try cashback sites
Shoppers can claim cashback on their purchases via sites such as Quidco and TopCashback. Retailers may offer cashback as a fixed amount (up to £50 on fridges, for example) or a percentage of the purchase – anything from 0.5 to more than 20 per cent.
However, be aware that you’ll need to use the cashback site’s link for your purchase to be counted. What’s more, cashback is not guaranteed and could take months to reach your account. It’s still important to compare upfront costs first, as even the most generous cashback offers may not compensate for a high headline price. Cashback is an added bonus if you’re set on buying an item anyway, but not necessarily worth basing your purchase decision on.
9. Rent out your belongings
You can make money renting your clothes, as well as sports equipment and household items.
Clothes rental schemes have become more popular in recent years. Prices vary, but renting an outfit could be cheaper than buying a new one. For example, prices for renting a dress from By Rotation begin from £9. Other similar sites include My Wardrobe HQ, Hurr, and, for children’s clothes, Bundlee.
Most apps add a small usage fee, so be sure to check the terms and conditions. While renting can be a more environmentally-friendly alternative to purchasing something new you’ll only wear once or twice, dry cleaning and transportation have a big environmental impact, so check to see what rental platforms are doing to mitigate them.
If you don’t fancy renting your clothes, you could rent out household items on Fat Llama and Pa-rent. On Fat Llama, Which? found cameras listed for £35 to borrow for the day, and you can earn £30 for renting out a paddleboard.
10. Flog old books, CDs and even Lego
11. Complete surveys and tasks
Consumers can earn money for undertaking simple tasks, or sharing their opinion in a survey. Sites such as Swagbucks and Gift Hunter Club pay users to complete short tasks, such as playing games, answering polls and surveys, and watching videos. Be aware that it can take a while for the money to add up. You can get the money you earn as a gift card, or as cash paid into a Paypal account.
Apps such as Shepper and Field Agent pay users to complete mystery shopping tasks. Which? tried Field Agent from a south-west London address in December 2022 and around 10 nearby jobs came up for in-store shopping, offering £5 for photographs and a video of the task.
Says Reena Sewraz, Which? Money Expert:
“Many people are feeling financial pressure at the moment as high food, energy and fuel prices squeeze household budgets. However, there are steps you can take that could help you make some extra cash this year.