If you’re like me, you are often spending little bits of money on little things (Boots Meal Deals, train tickets, Dairy Milks, what-have-you) and often finding that you spent just a little bit more than you actually anticipated. Sometimes it’s nice to make a bit of extra money here and there to cover these kinds of things, and that is why I have created this list of ways to make a buck or two in your spare time:
1) Get an eBay account.
This is something I always push aside unless I am REALLY strapped for cash, because by the time I’ve taken the photos, listed the items, answered all the annoying questions (NO I WILL NOT POST TO SPAIN) and packaged and posted each parcel, the £3 I receive for my old denim jacket feels a little measly. That said, if you sell a few things at once or a particularly popular item, eBay is a fantastic way of making money fast, and there are ways to get a little bit extra from it, too.
Firstly, make sure you list your item as thoroughly as possible. Post at least three photos of it, and write a detailed description of what the bidders are actually bidding on. Is it worn? Is it in good condition? Are there any defects? Why are you selling this particular item? – if it sounds too good to be true, people will smell a rat. I always find it helps to be honest and often write something along the lines of: “Selling to raise money for my next holiday!”, which is always true. Other reasons could include the fact that it’s too big/small for you, that you have a replacement item, etc. Do you accept returns? Will you post to outside the UK? There are a whole host of things you need to consider, but when you become more comfortable with eBay it becomes a lot simpler and quicker a process to list items.
Secondly, you can always overcharge slightly for postage. I know, I know, bad. But the way I see it, you never know exactly how much the postage will cost, and it is perfectly within your rights to charge for a little more than you expect to part with, to allow payment for packets, tape and the like. Say for a standard top – I charge £3 postage. £1.50 to post (ish), 50p for the packet, and £1 for me. It sounds like nothing, but when you’re posting 5 or 6 items at a time, it all stacks up. People are used to paying £4 or £5 postage for items from Topshop or Zara, so they often don’t have an issue with doing the same on eBay.
Another idea is to take a photo of you in the item you’re selling (if it’s clothes-related, of course!). I always find that a photo of me in a coat sells a lot better than a photo of a coat on a hanger. And when I am shopping on eBay myself, I am always more drawn to the listings where someone is wearing the item. You don’t have to show your face (I don’t) but as long as you are wearing the item, this can often work. It also pays to think about if you have something less common to sell – your mum’s old trainers probably won’t go down too well, but certain things that you wouldn’t expect to sell, do. If in doubt, do an eBay search and see what the typical selling price for something is – I have found that six bottles of my surplus-to-requirements contact lens solution have sold for up to £20 in the past.
2) Join a survey-answering site.
As long as you find a good one (i.e. one that isn’t a scam), you can be in with the chance to make a regular few quid. I use a site that provides me with £3 of Luncheon Vouchers for every questionnaire I complete – there’s also the opportunity to receive my incentive via Paypal, but I quite like the fact that I can put some money aside for a meal out or a trip to Nando’s as something to look forward to.
The only issues with these sites are that a lot of the time, you will only be making a minimal amount of money – if any. Some pay a good £3-5 per survey, whilst others pay pennies or only enter your name in a prize draw, which could be fruitful but could be entirely worthless. Ask around and see if anyone you know is a member of any of these sites, or alternatively, have a look at the Student Beans panel. As a member of this team, you’ll be sent regular emails to see if you qualify for surveys and questionnaires, and rewards for completing these can range from anything from around 40p to £3.
3) Look after the pennies (literally).
Most people have a ‘penny pot’ of some sort – a jar or money box in which they dump all of their loose change. I personally cannot stand having any denomination under 10p in my purse – 1ps and 2ps don’t do much, and 5ps are too small and always fall out when you’re not looking. So for that reason, I save them in my Toy Story alien money box (thank you Disneyland Paris) and watch them stack up. Obviously with pennies you won’t be making a huge amount of money any time soon, but it’s still nice to count them after a few months and see how much you can pay into the bank. When I was a waitress, I stored all of my 20p and 50p tips in a jar, and it was well worth doing, as I had over £100 in there when I came to need it all for my holiday. So start saving your small change, and after a while, get yourself some coin bags from your local bank, count up your pennies and see how much you’ve managed to make.
4) Look into new current accounts or savings accounts.
I find it hard to have as much time for savings accounts as other customers seem to, and when people fuss about how much interest you’ll gain it irritates me because I don’t see the point in spending weeks attempting to find the ‘best’ account, when it only gains me an extra £20 in the long run and I will have to swap around next year when the offer changes, anyway. But if you’re savvy or have family or friends who are good with finances, you can still use this sort of thing to your advantage, and see how much interest you could gain from any savings.
Alternatively, buy some Premium Bonds. It’s like a less risky lottery – every month you’re automatically entered into a draw, where you can win anything between £25 and £1 million. I’ve had mine for six months and sadly have yet to win a bean, but you never know, right? Alternatively, search around for deals on current accounts. If you don’t have one, or are looking to swap, spend a bit of time doing your research. At one point last year, for example, Halifax gave £100 to everyone who opened a regularly-used current account with them.
5) Use your skills.
What can you do, that other people might want to buy or see? Are you arty? Make some cards and sell them on Etsy! Do you like to perform? Make your own Youtube channel and start vlogging or singing. Run a blog alongside it and place ads on both. You won’t make much from them but every little helps! Do you have a degree in English Literature and nothing to do with it at the moment? Place an ad in the local paper for an English tutor! All you have to do is be a little creative and inventive.