How to make money (because it's a horribly expensive time to be alive)

Feeling the pinch this year? There are some simple ways you can make money. (Getty Images)
Feeling the pinch this year? There are some simple ways you can make money. (Getty Images)

We could all do with tips on how to make money. After all, it’s a very expensive time to be alive.

Prices are rising fast but wages aren’t growing fast enough to keep up. And we’re about to see our energy bills and tax bills rise, taking another bite out of our spending power.

But you can fight back! There are many small ways to make some money. Check these out for inspiration and maybe you can give yourself a pay rise in 2022.

Switch banks and get £150

A number of banks will currently offer you a switching bonus of up to £150 to move your main account to them.

It’s a genuinely quick process and the Current Account Switch Guarantee means it’s not the mammoth effort it used to be. Your new bank will switch your payments and transfer your balance and the old bank closes the account – so it really is minimal effort.

Read more: Woman's savvy, money-saving tricks have helped her save £5k

Just remember to look carefully at any new account, to work out if it is a good fit for you. For example, if you’re always in your overdraft then some accounts are much cheaper than others, so find the best account for you and not just the one that pays the best golden hello.

Watch: How to keep energy bills down

Rent out your driveway

One of the weirder ways to make some extra money but it may be possible to rent out your driveway as a parking space during office hours – particularly useful if your car is away during the day.

There are dedicated companies that match driveways with customers, so consider signing up and making some extra cash.

It’s extra lucrative if you live near a football ground or hospital, where there may be real demand for parking.

Just do read the small-print of any contract to understand what exactly you’re agreeing to and read the reviews for any platform you decide to advertise through.

Make use of Tax-Free Childcare

If you have a child in nursery, with a childminder or in pre-school then the bills can be steep, even once the free/funded hours kick in.

But there’s an underused government scheme called Tax-Free Childcare, where the government tops up your spending by up to £2,000 a year per child. For every 80p you pay, it adds 20p – taking care of a fifth of your childcare bill.

And it’s not just for small kids, this can be used to help cover the cost of wrap-around care and even holiday clubs, making a big difference.

Read more: Woman previously 'drowning in debt' takes control of finances with budgeting strategy

Childcare in the UK costs a crippling amount. But there's a government scheme that could help you claw some money back. (Getty Images)
Childcare in the UK costs a crippling amount. But there's a government scheme that could help you claw some money back. (Getty Images)

Check your benefits

Millions of people fail to claim all the state help they are entitled to – meaning they miss out on support that the government wants them to claim.

But that’s money that’s intended to help you cope with costs, so it’s no wonder if you’re struggling without it.

In fact, the chancellor recently expanded the scope of Universal Credit, meaning that even some higher-rate taxpayers can qualify – for example, a single parent of two kids paying £750 in rent could earn just under £52,000 before losing the ability to claim, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

So find a good benefits calculator online (Turn2Us has a good one) and make sure you are getting the help you are entitled to.

Earn some cashback

When times are tight, it’s nice to earn money whenever you spend it. And there are quite a few ways to start earning a little back.

  • Some debit cards have cashback deals on certain spending, which you may need to activate via the app or website to use.

  • There are cashback credit cards that can pay a small but steady amount on your spending – as long as you never leave a balance on the card, because that will cost more than anything you earn.

  • You can also shop using a cashback website, that rewards you for clicking onto purchases through its pages. Just make sure you understand the potential pitfalls – for example, if you visit a product before clicking through the cashback website then you may need to delete your cookies first to claim the cashback.

Just DON’T use cashback as an excuse for spending more than you meant to.

Sell your stuff

There’s been a craze for decluttering recently, with books and even TV shows raving about the joy of having less stuff.

But there’s another joy to consider – the joy of having less stuff you don’t want and more money. There are many websites now where you can sell unwanted things, including local selling pages on social media if you can’t face multiple trips to the Post Office.

Get the best prices by researching and comparing what your item is worth, taking a good photograph and describing the item truthfully so you don’t waste time.

Selling through the right platform – like a clothes website – can make a real difference too, because you can tap into interested customers.

There are now multiple websites, included Depop, that enable you to sell you unwanted possessions for minimal hassle. (Getty Images)
There are now multiple websites, included Depop, that enable you to sell you unwanted possessions for minimal hassle. (Getty Images)

Rent a room

This on won’t be suitable for everyone but it’s worth considering if times are hard. There’s a shortage of rental properties and a good government tax break for anyone taking in a lodger.

Under the Rent a Room Scheme, you can earn up to £7,500 a year without paying tax by letting out a furnished room in your home (your individual allowance is halved if you live with a partner).

Having a lodger can also mean splitting the cost of groceries, if that’s what you agree, so there’s the potential to save even more money. You don’t have to be a homeowner to use the scheme, but you do have to have your landlord’s permission to sublet.

Read more: Super-saver mum does food shop a year in advance

Rent some space

Storage space is really sought after in the UK so if you have safe, dry space in your attic or garage or a spare room then there are dedicated websites that connect you with potential customers. They take a cut but you can still make a little extra every year.

Just make sure you tell your home insurer what you’re up to, so it doesn’t affect any future claim.

Get a side hustle

Ideally, we’d all use our free time to rest and relax but there is a cost of living crisis just now so making a little extra from your skills could help.

So if you have a hobby or a skill that’s in demand then could you monetise it? For example, if you teach then could you become a tutor?

Or if you work in admin, could you take on some at-home data entry work?

If you love to bake then could you consider selling birthday cakes locally (do check what your local authority needs you to do to register and train in food safety)?

Maybe you could babysit? There are lots of potential ways to make some extra money, without having to spend even more time away from home.