The average UK household spends over £500 on Christmas every year (with many spending a lot more). But when things are already a little tight, finding that £500 isn’t easy. Of course, you can borrow the money or put everything on a credit card (as lots of us do every year), but there is another way: find a way to boost your income for a few months, and tuck away what you earn into the Christmas fund. Don’t get us wrong, we love Christmas here at Bamboo. We love the cheesy Christmas songs, we love the fetes and Christmas markets, and we especially love mince pies. But we know it needs to be paid for. How can you boost your income, you ask? There are lots of ways, from using legitimate loopholes and tax incentives to thinking outside the box. We’ve broken down seven ways to boost your income (and, because you’re going to be busy enough, we’ve made sure that they don’t involve too much effort).
Here are 7 ways to boost your income in the run up to Christmas:
Cash back cards (or loyalty cards)
We’ve written an article on this already this month, but it’s worth pointing out again. Before you do your Big Christmas Shop – you know, the one where you get the turkey, veg, puddings, cheese, crackers, etc. research supermarket offers. Asda and Tesco – offer cashback when you use their cards. Asda offer 1% cashback on all purchases in Asda (and 0.5% cashback on all purchases elsewhere) while Tesco give you one clubcard point per £4 you spend in Tesco (and per £8 you spend elsewhere). Although these seem a little small – they add up very quickly, and could end up saving you a bunch before the New Year arrives. They’re a great way to boost your income without changing your day-to-day life, too.
This is another way to boost your income with minimal effort. There will be a bit of research and paperwork involved, but you ever seen those incentives to switch banks? They’re often something like ‘£100 if you switch to our current account’? Well, that’s free money that’s ripe for the picking. It’s well documented that banks give the best deals and perks to new customers. So, why not switch from being an ignored customer to a new customer rolling in the perks? And the best bit? You can switch every time you see one of these deals, so you can just go around mopping up all of this free money. It’s not quite as simple as that, but it’s pretty easy. Check out this great guide by MoneySavingExpert for more information.
Sell your stuff for free
It’s the conventional wisdom of the internet age: ‘need to boost your income? Flog some stuff on eBay. But we’ve got some advice: forget eBay. Not only is eBay a hassle to use (seller ratings, postage, offers and counter-offers) but you also often get charged a percentage of your sale to use the site.
Why not use Gumtree or Facebook to sell your stuff for free? If you’ve got a load of stuff you don’t use anymore – maybe some presents from last Christmas that haven’t been used much – take some nice pictures of them with your phone, write a quick description and stick it on Gumtree and Facebook. Within a day or two, it’ll be sold, and you’ll have a nice bit of cash in hand.
Take on a lodger
Have you got a spare room in your house? Don’t mind the idea of a stranger using your shower? Then taking on a lodger is a great way to earn hundreds. And, best of all, the first £7,500 you earn from letting out your room every year is tax-free. Every single penny goes into your pocket. Not bad, eh? To get started, take some photos and head over to AirBnb or SpareRoom, write a nice description of you, your house and what it’s like to live there, and wait for the money to roll in.
Start a side-hustle
We’ve written about side-hustles a lot in the past, and for good reason; they’re a great way to boost your income. A side hustle can be anything from delivering packages for Amazon to driving an Uber. Or, take surveys/write articles online. The key thing to remember is to have fun: you’re taking on a job (or hobby that earns money, we should say) in addition to your regular job, so make sure you enjoy yourself and don’t run yourself into the ground. If you can walk that tightrope, there’s no limit to the amount you can boost your income by.
Check for PPI
You might have heard the jingles on the radio or seen terrible TV adverts. All those salesmen talking in Barry Scott voices about PPI, might have led you to the conclusion that it’s a bit of a scam. Well, it isn’t. If you’ve had a loan, credit card or store card and have had payment protection insurance (PPI) in the past decade, you might be able to claim back thousands of pounds. We’ve know of refunds of a couple of thousands, but it’s not uncommon to hear of people getting over £10,000. And, if you want to fill out the forms yourself, it doesn’t cost a penny to claim.
If the thought of staying in a hospital room on your own for 10 days doesn’t sound like your idea of hell, flu camps can be a great way to boost your income. The idea is simple: flu camps inject you with the flu (or a placebo) and then gives you a new drug to see whether it helps prevent or limit the effect of the flu. That’s all there is to it. You get the flu and feel rough for a few days, but, that could happen at home and you wouldn’t be paid a penny. Speaking of money, people regularly earn between £1,500 and £3,000 for a ten day stay at a flu camp. Not bad at all, right?
Have you got a secret way to boost your income? How do you do it? We’d love to hear from you!