If you discover that you are spending more money than you have coming in, the first step in finding a solution is to try to find ways of increasing your income and/or cutting back on your spending. This can be easier than it sounds. Follow our handy step by step guide to see where you might be able to free up some extra cash.
- Income – Firstly, look at what money you have coming in. Are there any ways you can add to this? If you can manage it, then taking on a new job or extra hours where you’re already working can be a help. Look at Your Council Jobs for local job vacancies. Even just a few hours a week babysitting or offering to housesit for someone who is going away could be a help – put the word round with friends and neighbours that you’re available, or try signing up with a local agency. You may also want to look into other ways of increasing your income – try some of these more unconventional suggestions:
- Sell any old or unwanted items – try a garage or car boot sale or an internet site such as EBay where you can sell unwanted items for a small listing fee – look out for special offers where these fees are reduced or try recycling sites like Freecycle.
- Earn money online – there are many sites which recruit people willing to take part in online research, filling out questionnaires and surveys, and will pay for your time. Check out Money Saving Expert for a list of top survey sites. Be warned though, this isn’t a quick method of raising cash – many sites won’t pay out until your earnings reach a certain level , which may take months or even years, depending on how many surveys you qualify for.
- The Car Club lets you sign up to hire your car out to other members or rent someone else’s car for the day – you’ll be fully insured and you can name your own price. This could be a handy alternative to running your own vehicle if you only need use of a car occasionally, as it is likely to be much cheaper than hiring from a commercial company.
- If you have a spare room, why not consider renting it out with a site like Air B&B? Alternatively, next time you fancy a break, why not check the site to see if there are any vacancies in the area you’re looking to stay? The site also offers advice on staying safe if you do decide to stay at someone’s house – take care to read it thoroughly before deciding to go through with any trip.
- The Easy Car Club is set up for people to rent out their driveway or garage to members of the public for an agreed fee. This can bring in quite a bit of money if you live near a town centre or a large sporting or other events venue.
There are even more ideas on the money Savings Expert website, you can view it here.
- Remember, before you contemplate any of these suggestions you must declare any extra income you make in order to avoid getting into trouble with the tax office. You will be liable to pay tax on anything over your personal allowance – check out our page offering Advice for those who are Self-Employed for more info.
Benefits – It may also be worth checking whether you are claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to. According to the BBC, about £16 billion of income-related benefits and tax credits go unclaimed in the UK every year and some of this could be money you are entitled to. Try using an online benefits checker like from DirectGov to make sure you’re not missing out. More information can be found on our Welfare Benefits pages.