Sterling Effort

15 tips to save and make money in your spare time

November 25, 2012 by Jay in Saving with 7 Comments

Stretching the Pennies!

With the UK poised on the cusp of a triple dip recession, a recent report by First Direct has revealed that even those of us in full or part-time employment, and with a relatively stable income, are still worried about our future prospects. 52% of those interviewed felt that they were not saving enough, while 33% were concerned that they couldn’t reduce their debts as quickly as they would like. Add to the mix that the nation’s weekly shopping basket of the 38 most widely purchased items has risen 14%, meaning that the price of feeding the average family will now cost up to £720 more per year, and you really can’t blame us for feeling a bit dispirited!

So what can we do to make a few extra pounds to supplement the family income and help with those little extras on the Christmas list? Are there any changes we can make within the household to cut down on outgoings and save some of our hard earned cash? Read on for 15 handy tips which may help you through the festive season and beyond!

From Tat to Cash!

One of the quickest and painless ways to make a little extra cash is to sell your unwanted items; remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

1. If you are updating your smartphone, trade in your old model to a company like Envirophone who will give you cash back as well as making a donation to charity. Expect to receive up to £40 for certain models from Motorola or around £12 for something from the Nokia range.

2. Now that we all have our CDs and DVDs transferred to download, what about clearing some space and selling your back catalogue of Kylie, Take That and the Rocky collection? Music Magpie will pay upwards of 30p for each CD and DVD and offer free collection. Your earnings can be paid by cheque or directly into your bank account.

3. For the avid reader, Green Metropolis offer an online site where you can sell all of your unwanted books to other bookworms. Prices paid for a paperback are £3.75 (to include P&P) and larger books can be sold for higher prices.

Using Your Talents

4. How about getting paid to be your very own Simon Cowell? Music review website, Slice The Pie will pay listeners 5p for each piece of music they listen to and review. As you become more experienced and your opinion more valued, this could rise to 25p. It may only earn you an average of £30 per month but that’s not too bad for listening to music for 10 minutes while you have your elevenses, is it?

5. Budding Jamies and Nigellas could think of starting their own pop up supper club. If you love cooking and enjoy meeting new people, why not consider turning your kitchen or dining room into a bistro once a week? Advertising could be done by word of mouth around your family and friends or school-gate mums, or you could start your own cookery blog and put the word out through that. Just make sure that you charge enough to cover your expenses.

6. How many times have you read the letters page of a magazine and thought, ‘I could do better than that’? Why not have a go! Online publishing website Featureworld can give you useful tips and suggest which publications will be best suited to your work. You could expect to earn up to £50 for a star letter or £150 for a story or anecdote.

Make Money from What You Have
7. If you live in a town or city where parking is at a premium, perhaps you could rent out your driveway or parking spot outside of your house when it’s not in use. Parklet will allow you to register online, with a photo of your vacant space and details of when it is available. Contracts can pay as much as £200 per month from drivers in the major cities.

8. How about doing some advertising on the school run or on the way to the supermarket? Get Paid To Drive will ‘pimp your ride’ with advertising details for a particular product or service while paying you £200 – £800 monthly for the privilege! Just make sure that you are not easily embarrassed as you could find yourself driving around with literally anything on your car!

Make Do and Mend!

9. Save some money on your grocery bills by starting a shopping club with family, friends and neighbours. By purchasing non-perishables such as rice, pasta, flour and cooking ingredients in bulk, you can shop at discount warehouses and save yourselves some money.

10. Whether you have a garden, patio or window box, it is still possible to grow some of your own vegetables and herbs. Not only will it save you some money, but they will taste better and save on your gym membership doing all that digging instead!

11. It may seem a little like wartime rationing, but give some thought to portion control when you cook. How often do you find yourself throwing food away at the end of a meal? Most of us eat more than we should and by cutting down a little you can save on ingredients and on the energy it takes to cook them.

12. We’ve all heard it before, but by turning down your thermostat by 1 degree you can make savings of £30 annually. Also try turning out the old ‘sausage dog’ draught excluder your great auntie Val made you for Christmas last year – this way you can add a little retro to your lounge and cut your heating bill! We all waste a lot of heat through ill-fitting doors and windows and remember, if it’s good enough for Kirstie Allsopp it’s good enough for you!

13. Place a layer of aluminium foil between your radiators and the wall. It will heat the room more quickly and save on electricity.

14. Remember to look after what you have; keep kettles regularly descaled, fridges and freezers defrosted and your property maintained. A little money and time spent on upkeep can save you major bills in the future.

15. Life is too short! Don’t waste your precious time on worrying about things you can’t alter. Go for a walk in the park with the kids to feed the ducks, phone up your mum (off-peak of course!) and tell her you love her, give yourself and your partner an indulgent early night; all things which cost nothing but will make your life a whole lot better.

If you like what you just read, maybe you want to stick around. Why not stay up to date with our latest articles by subscribing via Facebook, Twitter or RSS?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Related Posts


  1. Jamie DickinsonNovember 26, 2012 at 10:06 amReply

    Top tips there lads!

    The number one way to save money on food is to plan. Write a menu, write a list, check the cupboards and don’t go shopping hungry. Freeze what you can and use up perishables first. Supermarkets make it too easy for us and then BOOM! We’re in every day impulse buying shit we don’t need.

    I also used to enter design comps on 99Designs which used to get me big bursts of extra cash once in a while. Although the freelance work I do now pays more regularly.

    • JayNovember 26, 2012 at 11:53 pmReplyAuthor

      Agree on all these points here Jamie; many a time i’ve thrown away food I haven’t eaten! Wasteful and costly!

      Freelance is often the way forward!

  2. Rosie Slosek @1ManBandAcctsNovember 26, 2012 at 11:06 amReply

    Some really good tips there. I’d add make sure you keep records if you are selling anything, especially if you’re self employed, like Jamie, so you can prove the income isn’t earned.

    If you do take on freelance or casual work, you may need to register as self-employed, or keep business records, depending on the amounts involved and what you’re doing, so it pays to check.

    (Buzz me if you want to check :) )

  3. John@MoneyPrincipleNovember 27, 2012 at 9:28 amReply

    Good list Jay – time to put a few into action. I particularly liked the idea of getting rid of all the CDs and being paid to listen to things. But books? I have a collection of valuable photographic tomes from which I would be very reluctant to part. That’s a line in the sand for me!

    • JayNovember 29, 2012 at 3:19 pmReplyAuthor

      I got rid of my CDs ages ago – not that I had that many it just seems the media is outdated these days. All my music is now on my phone or tablet.

      Yeah I guess some books are well worth keeping or have sentimental value and of course, they should be kept. There’s nothing quite like the look and feel of a favourite book in your hands! buy the same token, old books you have no use for may make a few quid and allow someone else enjoy them!

  4. chris_moneyandiNovember 27, 2012 at 2:58 pmReply

    Nice post Jay! I’ve just checked out slice the pie. It seems as it can be quite useful to some music freaks such as myself. Fact is that for now I’ve stumbled only upon some pop crap but looking forward to getting deeper into it.


  5. JeremiahAugust 23, 2013 at 1:58 amReply

    Thanks for the post! I always saying to myself that I don’t really have anything to sell, but I honestly had not considered selling cds or dvds. I am going to try to do a bit more research on this and try to make a little extra money!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sterling Effort was created to stuff some financial knowledge into those of us who grew up without being taught how money really works; how to make it, save it and grow it. Our aim is to give you clear and concise information regarding personal finance and hopefully provide some entertainment along the way.
Sterling Effort is a collaborative blog written by a pair of idiots as well as third party writers. Any information contained within this site is for informative and entertainment purposes only and should not be considered as legal, financial or investment advice under any circumstances. For further information, please check the Terms and Conditions.