The first thing to do is to make sure that you are receiving all of the benefits that you're entitled to. You can find out more about these by looking at our Understanding benefits pages or by speaking to a welfare adviser at your child's hospital, or contacting our welfare advice service on 0800 915 4439 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you decide to borrow money, it's always a good idea to weigh up the pros and cons first so that it doesn't cost you much more in the long-run. Go to Borrowing money for advice.
Decide what will be most appropriate for you when it comes to selling items that you don't need anymore. For example, you could consider:
- car boot sales
- garage sales
- advertising on Facebook, eBay, Gumtree or another trustworthy online selling site or app
- advertising your goods in the window or notice board of a shop
- advertising using a local newspaper
Online auction sites or apps such as eBay can be a good way to sell items and have the added bonus that you can do it from the comfort of your own home, and in your own time. You will have to factor in the time to post the item as well as taking into account the cost of delivery. Using a local selling site or app can save you the hassle of posting, as the item will usually be collected by someone who lives nearby.
Recycling gadgets for money
Remember that free upgrade you got for your mobile phone? If your old phone is sitting unused in a drawer, then you could end up making some easy money. There are many other gadgets that you could recycle, including cameras, sat navs, games consoles, laptops and MP3 players.
By visiting a valuing website you can find out how much your old model is worth. Once you've agreed on a price, they will send you a Freepost bag for you to send it back in. You will then receive a cheque or the money in your bank. Some websites will even arrange free collection for heavy items.
You may also decide to visit an auction site to compare the prices of similar models. It may be that you can earn more money by selling a gadget this way (but don't forget that it will cost you money for postage and packing).
Are you due a tax rebate?
Many employees end up on the wrong tax code and as a result, pay too much tax on their employment or pension. Contact HMRC to find out if you are due a rebate. You may also be able to claim back money if you wash or repair your work uniform. You can backdate the claim for up to four years.
If you are self-employed and have been filling out your own self-assessment forms, you may actually be paying more tax than you need to. An accountant can help you save money by looking at how to help you manage your business expenses so you pay less tax overall.
Making money from your property
If you or own your property, you may be able to raise extra income by renting out part of it, or a room. Of course, this option isn't for everyone and may not be something you wish to consider at this time.
If this is something you choose to do, it's important to find someone who understands your situation. For example, you may need them to keep music down after a certain time, or keep any shared areas clean and tidy. They will also need to sign a contract and provide written references.
Rent a Room scheme
If you have got an extra room in your home that you could rent out to a lodger, you own your property and you pay income tax, you could get up to £7,500 tax-free (£3,750 if letting jointly) under the Rent a Room scheme. You don't need to own your home to lease a room out to a lodger, as long as your lease allows you to do so. Find out more by visiting the housing and local services pages on gov.uk.
Renting out your garage
If you own your property you might also want to consider renting out a garage, especially if you don't use yours on a regular basis or can use a driveway or nearby road for parking.
This could prove an easy money-making scheme if you live in an area where parking is a problem, you are close to an airport or live in the city centre.
You may have to pay tax on any income you get from this, which could have an effect on any benefits you are claiming.
It's important that you draw up a written agreement (contract). If you use an agent they will generally charge a commission, but this could provide peace of mind if you are worried about the payment process.
- Keep an eye on your incomings and outgoings with our easy guide to budgeting
- It may be that you'll need to borrow money, so here's our advice on doing it sensibly and safely
- Being in debt can be stressful so read our step by step guidance on tackling it and relieving some anxiety
Updated July 2017, next review due 2018.