21 ways to make extra money and boost your income

Are you looking to earn some extra cash? Whether you’re saving up for a holiday, or simply looking for some additional ways to make ends meet – we’ve got you covered. From selling unwanted clutter online, to renting out unused space at home, we’ve come up with some valuable tips and ways to help you make extra money and boost your income.

How to make extra money

1. Sell unwanted or unused items

sell unwanted items to save money

Have you got clothes that you haven’t worn for over a year, or kitchen appliances that are sat gathering dust? If yes, then it’s probably time you decluttered your life – and decluttering doesn’t have to mean throwing things away.

If you’ve got items that could still be useful to someone else, then why not sell them on eBay? It’s free to sell up to 20 items a month and you’ve got the option of selling your old treasure for a fixed price, or at an auctioned price (so who knows what price your antique silverware might sell for). Why not give it a try?

There’s many different ways to sell your unwanted items and different websites are better depending on what you’re looking to sell. If it’s time for a clear out then read our full guide on How to make extra money from your clutter. 

2. Rent out free space as storage 

If you’ve got more space at home than you know what to do with, then it might be worth renting it out to someone who needs a safe place to store their things. The list of items that people may be looking to store is endless; anything from bikes, to boxes full of treasured mementos.

All you have to do is register your space (e.g. a loft, garage or spare room) on a website like Storemates, indicating the location, size and rental price of the space (usually on a monthly basis). People who are searching for a space in your area will then be able to send you messages of interest and you’ll get to decide who you want to rent it to.

Who’d have thought you could make money just by letting someone else leave their things in your empty garage?

3. How to make extra money by trading in old electronics

Many of us hold onto old laptops and mobile phones either out of nostalgia, or out of fear that we might need them again if our new upgraded version happens to break. But holding onto every old electronic device ever, is a sure way to accumulate more clutter than you know what to do with.

Only allow yourself to keep one spare mobile phone and/or laptop if you feel you need to and trade in anything additional for extra money – you’ll be glad you did when you find yourself with more space and more money.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start then SellMyMobile.com  offer a fast and easy mobile phone comparison service to ensure you’re getting the best deal on your old handset.e

4. Claim a refund for tube and train delays

get refunds if your train has been delayed

Railway delays are all too common and they’ll cost you time and money – but it is possible that you might be able to claim a refund for each journey that’s affected.

You can get a full refund if your train journey is cancelled, and you will usually be eligible for compensation if your train arrives more than 30 minutes late (some train companies also offer this for a delay of 15 minutes or more).

You will need to keep your tickets and make the claim within 28 days of travelling and the refund you receive will depend on which company you travel with and how delayed your journey was. You can find out more about how to get a refund on the website of the train company that you travel with.

5. Recycle old printer cartridges for cash

recycle printer cartridges and save money

Rather than tossing those old printer cartridges away, why not collect them up and trade them in for money? All you have to do is sign up to a reputable website, arrange for someone to come and collect them, and wait for payment. It’s as simple as that. So the next time you go to throw your cartridges away, think of the money you could be making…

6. How to make extra money by checking your tax code

Tips to save money - check your tax code to make sure you don't overpay

It’s important to check that you’re on the right tax code so that you don’t end up overpaying tax and being out of pocket, or underpaying tax and having to pay back hundreds, or even thousands of pounds. 

If you’re overpaying tax then you could be entitled to a rebate. If you’ve been made redundant, or become unemployed midway through the year, then there’s a chance you will have overpaid tax (as its calculated assuming your earnings continue throughout the tax year).

A quick call to HMRC on 0300 200 3300 will tell you where you stand with your tax liabilities year to date and if you have overpaid, they should be able to provide you with a rebate. Alternatively, you can check online to see whether you’re on the correct tax code on the GOV.UK website.

7. Make money using websites and smartphone apps

smartphone apps make money

Smartphones are a great tool for making money on the go. It may sound too good to be true but there really are websites and free apps that will pay you to complete small tasks such as filling out surveys, taking pictures or watching videos! Some apps you can open up and use as and when you feel like it i.e. if you have a spare 5-10 minutes here and there whilst others will pay you to perform tasks in specific circumstances.

Which apps can I try free?

  • Pocket Rewards* – earn points for filling out surveys, which can then be exchanged for vouchers.
  • Citizen Me – get paid to fill out short personal surveys on topics such as your family set-up, your employment situation etc.
  • Pocket Bounty – earn some extra money by downloading apps, taking surveys, entering competitions and watching videos.
  • Zip Zero – take a photo of your receipts, answer short personal surveys and earn extra cash.

Note: Many of these apps will make their money from the data you fill in during the surveys etc. Most will only ever use it anonymously but it’s always worth making sure you are fully comfortable with how they plan to use your data before you sign up.

8. Use cashback websites everytime you shop

Using cashback websites is a good way to save money

TopCashback and Quidco are among some of the most popular cashback sites around. If you’re going to make a purchase online then try heading to one of these websites first and following the link to the company that you were going to make the transaction with. As long as the company is affiliated with the cashback site and you don’t use any unverified discount codes, you could receive cash back on your purchase.

9. Apply for any benefits you’re entitled to

apply for any benefits you are entitled to

Many people miss out on government benefits, simply because they’re unaware of their entitlement. The easiest way to find out whether you’re eligible to apply for financial support is to use an online benefits calculator, which will assess your individual circumstances.

10. Get paid to listen to music

get paid to listen to music and make money

Fancy getting paid to listen to music and give your opinion? 

By signing up to Slicethepie, you could get paid to listen to and review music from a wide variety of unsigned artists. Your feedback will go directly to artists, record labels and brands to help them make important decisions about each track.

You won’t earn much to start with but the more you review, the better your scout rating will get, giving you the chance to increase your earnings. Interested?

11. Take in a lodger 

Your spare room could be the key to your money troubles. If you wouldn’t mind sharing your space with someone else, then you could consider renting your spare room out to someone who needs it at an agreed weekly or monthly price. Having a lodger can not only help you earn extra money, but it’s also a great way to meet new people and make some new friends.

You could start by asking friends and family whether they know anyone who needs a room, or you might want to advertise your room online on trusted websites such as SpareRoom.com. Just make sure you get to know the person first and that you are always comfortable with who you’re inviting into your home.

12. Pay off expensive debts before you start saving

pay off debts before saving money

It’s not uncommon for people to try and save money whilst they’re still in debt, but by doing this you could be simply throwing your money away. In most cases, debts come with a higher interest rate than savings (the gap is how the banks make their money), so you’re usually better off paying off your debts first – and it will also be a weight off your mind!

13. Boost your savings rate

boost your savings rate

Although interest rates on savings accounts are quite low overall, there is still a notable difference between the best and worst paying accounts on the market, so it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the best deal out there if you want to make your money work harder for you.

If you haven’t checked your savings rates in a long time, it’s definitely worth looking at as banks have a habit of enticing you in on market leading rates which then dwindle over time. If you’re not sure whether you’re getting a good deal or not, try using a comparison site to see whether you’d be better off switching accounts.

14. Make extra money by attending a focus group

earn money by being a part of a focus group

Focus groups come together to share opinions through open discussions about new products and services. The responses are then studied by a company or organisation’s market researchers who are always looking for ways to improve their offerings. It can be quite fun to think that your opinions could help to shape the world that we live in. You will often be limited to attending a few a year, but could receive up to £160 for taking part in a single session.

Interested? Research Opinions and Paid Focus Group provide information about focus group opportunities across the country.

15. Become a TV extra

earn money by being a Tv extra

An interesting and varied way to make some extra money in your spare time is to work as a film or TV extra – which will allow you to see what really goes on behind the production lines. You’ll get to learn how film sets are run, meet people from all walks of life, and you may even end up staring in the background of your favourite TV soap. Casting agencies accept people of all ages to reflect real-life communities so you don’t need to look like a model to take part.

Try casting agencies like…

16. Sell unwanted gift cards online

sell unwanted gift cards online

Have you got a myriad of unwanted gift cards left over from Christmas and birthdays for stores that you never really shop at? The good news is that you can exchange them for cash. Cardyard or Zapper will offer you set price for each gift card that you register, which you’ll receive once you’ve sent them off.

17. Become a mystery shopper

If you enjoy shopping and dining out, but you want to hold onto the pennies, then why not consider becoming a mystery shopper?

Market research companies, watchdog organisations and/or manufacturers hire mystery shoppers to test out products and services and provide feedback which can be used to make improvements. For example, you might be asked to go and purchase a specific product from a shop so you can review the customer service experience, or you might be asked to eat at a particular restaurant so you can rate the food.

Mystery shopping is a great little hobby that will get you out the house, and give you a chance to earn some extra money! If you’re keen to find out more about how to get started, then you can do so with one of the mystery shopping services below.

18. Start a side hustle to earn extra money

side hustles can boost your income

Adopting a side hustle is a great way to test a business idea or explore something you’re passionate about, whilst getting paid. For example, you may decide that you want to write and publish your own books, set up an online shop where you can sell your own hand-crafted items or offer your photography skills.

Sound appealing? Our article Popular side hustle ideas that can help you make some extra money will give you some ideas that you could get started with today…

19. Enter competitions and earn extra money

enter competitions that reward you
Are you feeling lucky? Websites like Latest Free Stuff and Magic Freebies UK pull together a list of free competitions where prizes are still up for grabs. You have to be in it to win it, so why not give it a go…

20. Take part in scientific research projects

take part in scientific studies

There are plenty of scientific research studies or clinical trials that you could get involved in if you want to make extra money on a few one-off occasions.

Medical researchers and university students often need people of all ages to get involved in various different studies or projects and will typically offer a voucher or cash reward for your time. 

Projects vary but can include investigations into things like how people eat and appreciate new foods or what the effects of a new drug are. As well as getting paid for your time, it can also be an interesting way to learn something new and get involved in science! 

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in then you could try:

1. Getting in touch with your local university to find out whether they need participants for any scientific studies. To see an example of the types of offers a university might make, it’s worth having a look at these ones from the University of Bristol.

2. Signing up to a website like Trials 4 Us (which is the UK’s leading Clinical Research Organisation). Organisations like this will provide information on upcoming medical trials, and details on how to apply.

Note: it’s important to remember that some clinical trials can carry unknown health risks. Some will be about collecting benign research, whilst others could involve taking medicine that has not been licensed for public approval. As always, it’s worth making sure you are fully comfortable with what you’re signing up to before you commit to anything.

21. Get paid to taste food

get paid for food tastings

Fancy putting your taste buds to good use by sampling new food and drink products? Could you provide feedback on these products so that their taste and quality can be improved?

Companies that work on delivering food quality and safety, like Campden BRI and People for Research regularly recruit participants to take part in food research that’s used to develop and improve food and drink products. Participants may meet several times a year or on a one-off occasion to complete taste tests and fill out online surveys from time to time. You could earn anywhere between £5 and £50 in cash or get shopping vouchers each time you take part.

Sound like a tasty proposition?


We’re always on the lookout for suggestions that might help our member community. Do you have any tips of your own you’d like to share? If so, please email them to [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!

Links with an * by them are affiliate links which help Rest Less stay free to use as they can result in a payment or benefit to us. You can read more on how we make money here.


Loading comments...

    Leave a reply

    Thanks, your comment has been saved. We will review it shortly, check back soon.

    Sorry, there was a problem saving your comment. Please refresh and try again.

    Get the latest ideas, advice and inspiration​

    No spam. Just useful and interesting stuff, straight to your inbox. Covering finance, learning, jobs, volunteering, lifestyle and more.

    By providing us your email address you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the link in our emails.

    Enjoying Rest Less? Help us reach more people like you

    Leave us a rating Want to tell us something?