Nearly everyone is feeling the pinch. Food up, fuel up, insurance up, inflation up, wages frozen.
Making a few bob on the side to help out with hard-pressed household budgets is becoming more and more attractive.
If you’re struggling to keep your head above water, there are a number of ways to help boost your finances and keep the wolf from the door.
Take in a lodger
A sure-fire quick and easy way to earn a little extra. If you don’t want to share your home the whole time you can be flexible, renting out a room say from Monday to Friday, and enjoy the weekends to yourself.
Popular with students and long-distance commuters, week-day renting allows people to avoid prohibitive peak travel costs.
The taxman will let you off income tax on your rental earnings of up to £4,250 in any tax year. Contact university student housing or your local town hall to locate potential lodgers. You’ll also find websites like mondaytofriday.com a useful resource tool. Be careful though, you may get charged a fee.
Rent a drive
Live close to one of our railway stations or popular attractions? If you’re retired or don’t have a car, then cash in on driveway renting. Charges will depend on your location, but undercut greedy parking outfits to make that little extra on the side.
Top potential locations will also include anyone living near the bus stops serving the rapid bus service from Gosport to Fareham. Advertise on social networking sites like twitter, or the internet.
Go mystery shopping
Jump on the TV customer care bandwagon, and become a mystery shopper. You can earn between £10 and £50 per assignment for going undercover and judging standards of customer satisfaction in shops, restaurants, department stores, and online shopping. Where to start? Go online and sign up with companies like retailactive.com or mysteryshopperjobs.co.uk.
If you’ve got a spare room another way to make a pretty penny is to play host to foreign language students. You can host students for a complete academic year or just a few study weeks.
Visit the websites of local language schools to sign up, or try Homestay at homestayagency.com.
Flog it back to Amazon
Anyone who can’t resist a good book could have hundreds of pounds sitting on their bookshelves. Sign up with Amazon at Amazon.co.uk and sell your old textbooks, novels, biographies, and DVDs.
Pay to party
Turn that garrulous, outgoing, and friendly personally into hard cash, and become a party consultant. You’ll arrange parties to demonstrate products to the host and their guests. Earnings can be impressive, depending on the number of parties you host and your sales.
Party animals who want to turn themselves into cash opportunities should try well-known brand names like The Body Shop, or look up direct selling opportunities with firms at netmums.com.
Make your views pay
Swap your point of view for cash by becoming a member of a focus group, or earn a fistful of shopping vouchers for filling in online surveys.
For opportunities try focus-finder.co.uk or check out focus finders on Facebook. For online surveys go to valuedopinions.co.uk.
Play an instrument? Good at maths? Translate special knowledge or skills into cash by starting a home tutoring business
There are lots of opportunities to help with GCSE and A-level cramming, or earn a bit extra by teaching others what you love to do best.
Don’t forget that whatever you earn on the side you’ll need to declare to the taxman (or woman).
Call the HMRC helpline to get the lowdown and the paperwork, on 08459 1545 15.