Top tips for making money when faced with job loss

Money Advice Service

Facing redundancy? There are lots of ways to make money when times are tough. Here are a few examples of how other people have managed to make some extra money and boost their income after losing their jobs.

Get all the benefits you’re entitled to

“I didn’t look into it for weeks. Well, I was embarrassed wasn’t I? It’s bad enough losing your job, but to look for hand-outs… Eventually, Reena convinced me I wasn’t looking for anything I wasn’t entitled to. We did it online, and it took no time at all. Turned out, we were eligible for tax credits, which make a huge difference to the weekly budget.” – Hiten


  • It can take less than five minutes to check.


  • None.

Next step: Use a benefit calculator on the GOV.UK website to find out what you might be entitled to.

Also consider: Claiming a tax rebate, or claiming on any insurance you took out to protect a mortgage, loan or credit card payments.

Rent a room

Did you know?

You’ll need permission from your mortgage provider or landlord to have a lodger and you should let your buildings and contents insurance companies know.

“To be honest, the spare bedroom was just a place to put the laundry. But when Phil got a six-month contract at Jill’s work and was looking for somewhere to stay Monday to Friday, it seemed like the perfect solution. The rent really helps out while I’m looking for work, and Phil’s an okay bloke. We even get the weekends to ourselves.” – Frank


  • With the government’s Rent a Room scheme, you can receive up to £7,500 each year tax free.


  • You’ll have to forgo a degree of privacy. If you are renting your home, your landlord might not agree.

Next step: Let your landlord, mortgage lender and buildings and contents insurance companies know. Register your room for free on sites such as Easyroommate and Spareroom.

Also consider: Taking in foreign students, or renting out your car parking space if you live in the city.

Sell unwanted stuff

“I’d been meaning to clear out the loft for years but when I lost my job I had no excuse. I spent a day up there, and then a day putting it all on eBay. Dad’s old football programmes, my old 45s… I even sold an old-fashioned sewing machine that hadn’t worked for years. The money made a big difference at Christmas. Now for my wardrobes!” – Priya


  • Get cash for stuff you never use and de-clutter your home.


  • Unless you make a big effort, the returns aren’t great.

Next step: Do your research online or check out car boot sales to see what’s selling.

Also consider: Websites for recycling mobile phones, laptops, game consoles and other electricals.

Home working

“I used to enjoy ironing – it was my time to switch off and listen to music. Who would have thought it would get me through these last few months. I started by taking in ironing for neighbours but word soon spread. I’m now working nearly four hours a day, but I’m always here when the kids come in from school.” – Margaret


  • You can often work when it suits you, and there are no travel costs.


  • Motivation can sometimes be difficult at home. So is finding the space!

Next step: Do your research, then start spreading the word.

Also consider: Turning a hobby into a sideline.

Take on a new job

“I wasn’t going to go to the cosmetics party because I’d just been made redundant and I didn’t want to be the only person not to buy anything. But I’m so glad I went. Elaine told me all about the company and how running one party a week makes a real difference to her family’s income. She helped set me up and it’s been going great.” – Anne


  • Getting out of the house to work again can boost self-esteem.


  • Be prepared to work evenings and weekends and to sell to friends and family.

Next step: Make a list of all the sales parties you’ve been to, or know about, and check them out online.

Also consider: Being an election clerk or school exam monitor.

Benefits and tax – a word of warning

Making money is all very well but it could affect any benefits you receive.

And don’t forget that the taxman will want his share if your income goes over your tax-free allowance (£11,850 in the tax year 2018-19).

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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