5 easy side hustles to boost your income
Earning money to supplement your income is never a bad idea, especially if you're saving to buy a property, boost your pension pot or set aside a financial buffer for a rainy day.
The side hustle is the new norm for millennial and Gen Z culture – and has become even more popular during lockdown. In part, this is because many people have had more time to learn new skills or pursue their passions over the last 18 months. It’s also given people another cash inflow especially as the pandemic has brought some financial strains – and for others, it was about putting their entrepreneurial skills to use.
Here are a few ways you could boost your income and savings – but make sure you check your contract with your employer before taking on extra work to ensure you’re not breaching any regulations that could impact your main job.
1. Let out your spare room
If you already own your own home or have a mortgaged property, you could get a flatmate. Airbnb and other similar sites have made sourcing an extra income this way more simple, and this year, staycations and local holidays have meant short rentals are incredibly popular.
Another option is having a long-term flatmate. Yes, this would mean sharing your space with another person, but this can also mean extra company and a potentially lucrative set-up. House sharing can help you save money not only by splitting the mortgage but also the household bills, maintenance and perhaps even shopping. Just remember to look into the legalities of letting a room to make sure obligations are fulfilled on both sides.
Under the UK's ‘Rent A Room Scheme’, HMRC also offers a tax break to anyone renting a room in their home. This means you can generate an income of £7,5001 before you pay any tax (whether you rent the room for a whole year or less). You can also offset expenses against this gross income before you pay tax.
This information is based on our understanding of current taxation law and HMRC practice, which may change. The value of any tax relief will depend on individual circumstances.
2. Turn a hobby into a paying activity
If you have a hobby you’re good at and enjoy, chances are someone will pay you for that skill. Perhaps you’re an artist, make amazing cakes, or might even have an eye for interior design. Twitch, Instagram and TikTok have made new business development more accessible, so if you're social-savvy it's likely you can make a bit of extra cash from doing the things you love. Just remember, you should always declare any extra income to HMRC.
It’s easy to be carried away when you’re doing something you enjoy – but it’s important to look after your wellbeing too. Remember to relax and spend time with loved ones – you don’t want to burn out from being busy all the time.
3. Declutter your home and sell your unwanted goods
A Spring clean is a great way to generate cash. Not only does it create a clean and tidy space, it can make you a tidy sum too. Selling clothes on ebay, Vinted and Depop is probably the most common option but selling more valuable items is likely going to bring in a higher income. For example, a guitar or other musical instruments, maybe even a stereo or pieces of technology – this could all help make you a bit of extra cash.
4. Become a film and TV extra
If you love a trip to the cinema, why not consider being in a film rather than just watching one? You could be in the background of the next big blockbuster film or binge-worthy tv series – all while getting paid. You’ll need to be flexible about the time and place you're happy to work – there can be a lot of hanging around too – so keep that in mind when you apply. You can earn a decent daily rate as an extra plus, you’ll get the kudos of seeing yourself on the silver screen.
Most opportunities are for filming projects in the UK's biggest cities, but there are other chances available around the country. You can sign up as an extra at The Casting Collective or check out its urgent casting calls to get a feel for the kind of opportunities there are. Fees are varied and you will get paid more for night shoots and you can also get supplementary payments if, for example, breakfast or other meals are not provided.
5. Get a second job
As lockdown restrictions are lifted – more bars, restaurants and shops are starting to open up. To help boost your income, you could look at working a few hours in the hospitality sector, if you have the stamina. You could even consider mystery shopping by documenting your experiences with the retailer or restaurant.
If you have expertise in a specific area, you could also earn extra money from freelancing. Whether it's writing, social media, design, accounting, IT, hairdressing or teaching music – a bit of ad-hoc work can get the money rolling in. Just make sure your main employer has no problem with you doing this, and in particular, check any contractual obligations on working with competitors.
Sites such as WeWorkRemotely, peopleperhour, Fiverr and Remote.co provide access to jobs for freelancers who can work from anywhere in the world. The benefit of freelance work is you can do as much or as little as you want, and you can control your workflow so that you don’t overstretch yourself.
Make the most of your extra income
These are a just a few ways to secure some extra income but what’s the best way to use your extra cash?
Saving, investing and adding to your pension are just a few ways you can save for the future. If you're in any doubt, we recommend you speak to a financial adviser to find out which option may best for you. You can find a financial adviser through MoneyHelper. A financial adviser is likely to charge for their service and should provide details of their charges upfront.
1 Rent-a-room. Data source, Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, April 2021.
2 UKHospitality warns sector faces staffing crisis and calls on Government to stick to roadmap. Data source, UK Hospitality, May 2021.