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As the cost of living continues to spiral, millions of households are looking for ways to cut back. But spending less isn’t the only way to boost your bank balance. With remote, or part remote, working becoming the norm for many, there are plenty of ways to earn a little extra cash from the comfort of your own home.
A quick word on tax…
Before you start earning some additional cash, it’s important to understand when you’ll need to pay tax.
Everyone has a tax-free personal allowance of £12,570 a year. But the introduction of the trading allowance in April 2017 means you can also earn up to £1,000 each tax year from a hobby or start-up business without paying income tax. Similarly, the property allowance lets you earn up to £1,000 tax-free each tax year on income from land or property.
Any earnings over this, however, and you’ll need to register for self-assessment, file a tax return and start paying income tax on those earnings. If you’re unsure whether you owe tax, get in touch with HMRC for advice.
Here are 10 ways to earn some extra money from home:
1. Rent out your driveway
If your driveway is empty for most of the day, renting it out through websites like JustPark and YourParkingSpace could be an easy way to boost your income. Your space doesn’t have to be available all the time, you can simply state which days or hours drivers can book to park there.
Recent figures from YourParkingSpace show that homeowners pocketed an average of £500 last year from renting out their driveway, with one driveway owner in Bristol earning an astounding £33,100.
Earnings are likely to be higher the closer you are to transport links or a stadium or concert venue, or if there is a lack of affordable parking in your area.
2. Hire out your storage space
If you don’t have a driveway to spare, renting out your home’s unused storage space could be another lucrative option. Use sites such as Stashbee and Storemates to rent out your spare garage, loft, basement or shed.
Stashbee charges a 5% host fee, while Storemates automatically deducts 16.5% plus 20p from each payment received from your storers.
Stashbee reckons you could earn around £1,488 per year for renting a garage out in Maidstone, Kent, while someone in Clapham, London could earn around £1,308 a year from renting out their loft.
Before renting out your storage space, contact your home insurance provider to check your existing cover will still be valid. You may have to extend your policy for a small fee.
3. Explore ‘passive income’ ideas
As the name suggests, passive income refers to income that – after an initial investment of time, money or resource – can generate an ongoing, steady cashflow with relatively minimal effort and monitoring.
Examples of passive income include asset sharing (such as renting your house and car which we cover in points 1, 2, 6 and 7), and asset building (such as creating your own revenue streams which we cover in points 8 and 10).
Another way to generate a passive income is to put your money (if you have any spare) to work – such as depositing in savings accounts or investing on the stock market. You can find out more about this aspect of passive income with our guide.
Just bear in mind that, as with any investment, your returns can go down, as well as up. Also that, income tax will typically be payable on passive income, unless you hold investments in a tax-efficient wrapper such as an ISA.
4. Sell what you don’t need
Getting rid of clutter at home can be a great way to reduce stress. It can also be a tidy little earner if you successfully sell any items online. Research from Wholesale Clearance UK reveals that the best-selling (and top earning) items on eBay in the 12 months to February this year were:
- Watches – £249.4 million
- Bikes – £208.9 million
- Fabric – £197.3 million
- Tables – £169.9 million
- Women’s dresses – £84.2 million
- Dumbbells – £75.8 million
- DVDs – £65.7 million
- Headphones – £63.7 million
- Men’s T-shorts – £42 million
- Women’s boots – £41.9 million
Private sellers on eBay can list up to 1,000 items each month free of charge (you’ll pay 35p a listing after that). There’s also a final value fee to pay for items you sell. This is calculated as 12.8% of the total amount of the sale, plus 30p per order.
Alternatively, you can sell for free on local Facebook groups or Facebook Marketplace.
5. Make money from tech
If you’ve got a drawer full of unused gadgets – think mobile phones, tablets and computer games – find out how much you could earn by recycling them using sites such as musicMagpie, Mazuma Mobile and Ziffit.
Also check out Cash In Your Gadgets if you want to sell an old laptop, Macbook or computer. Simply enter what you want to sell, receive your offer, and then arrange a free collection. Once your item has been received, all data will be wiped from your device and you’ll receive your cash within two working days.
6. Rent out your spare room
Under the government’s Rent a Room scheme, homeowners can earn up to £7,500 per year tax-free from letting out a furnished spare room to a lodger. This is halved if you share the income with your partner or someone else.
The tax exemption is automatic if you earn less than £7,500, but if you earn more than this you must complete a tax return, opt into the scheme and claim your tax-free allowance. You can advertise your room on sites like SpareRoom and Roomies.
7. Lend your car for a fee
If you’re working from home on a regular basis, your car could be sitting unused on your driveway. But while this will help you save money on fuel, you could earn some extra cash by renting out your car to others through sites like Hiyacar and Turo.
You’ll be able to set your own ground rules and customise when your car is available. Both companies also include insurance for each booking. Hiyacar says its owners earn up to £650 per month.
8. Tap into your skills
Whether you work in education, you’re a keen writer or an avid photographer, there are plenty of ways to use those skills to help boost your income.
Demand for online tutoring has risen since the Covid-19 pandemic, with many students still playing catch up after missing so much school during lockdown. Take a look at sites such as MyTutor and Tutorful to get started. Depending on your level of experience, you could earn anywhere between £20 and £44 per hour.
Alternatively, if you’re a writer, designer or web developer, you could pick up some freelance work by signing up to platforms such as Upwork and Worksome. You’ll then either be matched to jobs that suit your skills or you can bid on certain projects.
Budding photographers can sell their snaps online to stock photography sites like Alamy which lets you earn up to 50% of any sale. Photos can be uploaded onto the site within 24 hours. At the time of writing, photos of mountain scenes were on sale for £35.99 for online use and up to £180 for marketing packages.
9. Turn your home into a film location
Picturing your home as the next Downtown Abbey? Agencies such as Film Locations and Amazing Space let you register your home for free so that producers and creators can hire your property as a film or TV location. It doesn’t matter what type of property you live in and you could earn anywhere between £200 and £3,000 per day depending on the type of production.
10. Become a problem solver
If you’re good at solving problems and are technically minded, some companies will advertise problems online and offer cash to those who come up with innovative solutions. In some cases, this can be hundreds or even thousands of pounds.
Look at sites like InnoCentive where companies post ‘challenges’ for you to solve. Or Idea Connection which will send you email invitations to find solutions once you’ve registered to become a solver.
It won’t be for everyone, but if you’ve got some spare time and you have a good knowledge of the business world, it could pay dividends.