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hidden potentialWritten by: Tamsin McCahill
With the green shoots of spring nearly upon us, thoughts invariably turn to spending more time outdoors to make the most of brighter skies. But with finances already stretched after the Christmas period, finding ways to pay for the days out we crave can be tricky.To really make the most of the season it can be a good idea to find ways of making some extra cash. But how?
Before you go and get a paper round, take a good look around you. Chances are you may be sitting on a goldmine without even realising it. There's a wealth of ways to earn extra cash from your home, it's all just a case of unlocking its true money-making potential.There's a
wealth of ways
to earn cash
Find your home's
hidden treasuresChristmas brings an avalanche of new items – that's why spring is the perfect season for a spot of domestic decluttering. It could even be lucrative.The average
Brit has over
goods in their
home.According to research by CollectPlus, the average Brit has over £850 of unused consumer goods in their home that could be sold on for a profit. And if you think that figure couldn't possibly apply to your home, just take a look at sites such as eBay. It's amazing to find out the kinds of things people will pay hard cash for online, from faulty electrical goods (normally taken apart and used for spares) to carrier bags, while traditional toys such as Lego, train sets or anything with collectors' appeal like Star Wars figures can really hold their value.
And don't forget the booming trade in vintage clothing. Designer clothes and costume jewellery which no longer interest can be a rare retro find for someone, as can perfumes or cosmetics. Recently a rare, 'Black spotted'shade of OPI nail varnish went for eight times its value, according to the Daily Mail.
Lend out your things for moneyIf the thought of selling all your prized possessions leaves you in a cold sweat, fear not. Rent them out for cash instead, thanks to lenderise.com – a great new site. It's a good way to make money on the things you're storing but don't have use for all the time – for example your lawnmower, inflatable airbed or electric drill. Listings are free, but the website adds on its 10% fee to the borrower.Find a car boot saleIf you've got lots of little things to sell, you could try to get rid of the whole lot at a car boot sale. Be prepared for an early start, a long slog exposed to the elements and the chance of leaving with only a modest amount of cash, once you've factored in the cost of your pitch. If that doesn't put you off, you can search for car boot sales in the UK, which tend to be held from late March until late autumn, on carbootjuntion.com.Make money from gadgetsIf you got a shiny new smartphone recently, you may be wondering what to do with your old one. There are many online sites that specialise in buying second-hand technology. Sites like Weeebuy.co.uk or cashinyourgadgets.co.uk let you enter the make and model you're selling for an instant valuation – they'll even send you a jiffy bag to post your goods in. Shop around though as there can be huge variations on prices, particularly on iPhones. To get an independent idea of your phone's value, visit mobilevaluer.com".Bring out your books
the vintage“While doing a New Year's clearout of our study, I came across a pair of sunglasses from years ago – I think from my university days in the late 80s. Looking at the logo on them, they're Gianni Versace, probably my first designer pair. It got me wondering, though, if they might be collectible since the brand is now just Versace since Gianni's death.
It'll help get us
through the final
dark days of
winter with a bit
more cash.“A quick Google search confirmed that they are indeed desirable, fetching from £150 in the UK to up to $350 on some US-based sites. Last summer, I gave eBay a go to sell a few designer tops and handbags I no longer used, which gave a boost to our summer holiday fund. It was quick and easy once I got the hang of it. So I'm planning to do the same with these. Why not? It'll help get us through the final dark days of winter with a bit more cash.”
Trisha Brandon, 45, Brighton.
Turn your home
into a film setFrom posh and swanky to the downright ordinary, magazines and TV production companies are always searching for new locations to shoot in. Here are some things to be aware of.
The TV and film industry is mostly based in London and many location agencies will only take on properties within the M25. If you live further afield try locationpartnership.com or lavishlocations.com.
Registering your property with a location scouting company such as Amazing Space or Location Works is free. You'll need to send them some good photos and they'll decide whether or not to take you on.
You'll need to stay out of the way while filming is going on, and not be too precious about your home as paintwork can be damaged with the amount of equipment coming in and out.
Visually interesting homes or ones with lots of character are usually in high demand. You'll also need to live somewhere big enough to accommodate a crew of around 30 people or more with adequate parking facilities.
If you've got the right house it can be a fantastic income. A photography shoot can bring in £500 per day, while rates for commercials or dramas start from £1,000 per day.
home's spaceWhether you've got room to spare or space to swing just the tiniest of kittens, your home itself could have lots of hidden money-spinning potential. With a bit of creative thinking (and some lifestyle compromises) you can quickly make more of your biggest asset.Rent out your spare roomOne in ten homeowners earns extra cash by letting a room to a lodger, according to research. And no wonder, as in some parts of the country, the combination of rising rents and rock-bottom interest rates could even mean that some homeowners could live mortgage-free, just by letting out a room.
Homeowners with spare space in their home can charge lodgers up to £4,250 a year tax-free thanks to the government-backed Rent a Room scheme. You could, of course, make more money than that, but would have to include it on your tax return. Before you open your doors to all-comers,remember to tell your mortgage lender and insurer of your plans to make sure you're not breaching any of their terms.One in ten
cash by letting
Good places to find a lodger include www.spareroom.co.uk, roomads.co.uk and roombuddies.com – just try to make sure you choose someone whose lifestyle is compatible with yours. Also, set up a Direct Debit to avoid any money-related awkwardness and set out the ground rules in an email before they move in.Make sure
suit. Being a
hours at night.One such ‘rent a room' entrepreneur was Serena Lacey, 32, a journalist from London.
“I really wanted to go travelling but was finding it impossible to save – so I advertised for a lodger on Gumtree and a French chef got in touch. It was pretty awkward at first because his English was quite limited, but he was friendly and wanted to learn.
“The downsides of having a lodger would be never feeling fully relaxed in your own home. At first I felt like I had to be polite all the time, like offering to switch the TV over to the football when I was in the middle of watching something.
“It's a good idea to put a TV in their room and I would also recommend setting up a Direct Debit as it can get awkward asking for money.
“And make sure that your lifestyles suit. Being a chef he worked long hours at night, but it meant he would come home at two or three in the morning andstart cooking his dinner. Not fun when you and your partner need to be up for work at six.”
Host a foreign studentIf renting to a lodger seems like too big a commitment, you could try short term lets to foreign students. Universities, colleges and language schools rely on a network of host families and, while there are some longer courses, most will only want to come for a fortnight.
Reputable language schools will want to meet host families and inspect accommodation in advance. You'll be expected to provide a room, breakfast and an evening meal and can expect to get from about £100 to £150 per week, depending on where you live and the time of year.Christine Gauci-Green, 46, a teacher from north London and mother of three, found students were an invaluable way of making ends meet in the recession.
“My husband has been made redundant twice. Both times we had to face the daunting prospect of either selling up or finding a way of making our home pay for itself. We chose the latter and took in foreign students. I don't regret it as it allowed us to go on living in our home, but would never do it again unless we absolutely had to. A family with young children living with students can be a real source of friction – especially as we shared a kitchen!
“For anyone thinking about opening their home to students, I'd definitely recommend going through a reputable language school. Ours were not only great payers but they really looked after both parties. They came and inspected the room and asked us what our ground rules were in advance.“In the end we did have some great experiences, and happy memories. For example, we had a man from Mauritius staying with us who really integrated with the family. He watched the World Cup with us and joined in with family life.”Try
lets to foreign
driveParking is a real issue up and down the country and, chances are, if you live near a train station, hospital or even a popular sporting arena, there could be people willing to pay for the privilege of parking on your drive or in your garage.
Register at parkatmyhouse.com or parklet.co.uk and for a small fee you could get anything from a one-off booking to a long term arrangement.Turn your home into a hotelIf you have a spare room and live somewhere that tourists love to visit, you could register your property on Airbnb.com – it works almost like a site taking hotel room bookings. The kind of service you provide is up to you and will reflect on the rates you can charge. You could offer a five-star experience complete with chocolate on the pillows and Egyptian cotton sheets, or just a basic room.Rent your loft, cellar or garage
for storageRegister any unused space in your home at Storemates.co.uk – an alternative self-storage service where users pay to stash their belongings. The site charges a fee equal to your first two weeks of income. If, for example, you charged £10/week for 15 square feet of storage space you could bring in over £500 a year.There could
willing to pay
Work harder for
your homeFinally, with the property market grinding to a halt in many UK locations, many of us are staying put and concentrating on improving our home rather than moving. So consider spending your free time on these sunnier spring days on giving your home some much-needed TLC instead.
Spring is a great time to replace your heavy winter curtains with some light voiles or blinds to really make the most of the increased light. You could give your garden a quick revamp by painting your outdoor furniture and planting some spring bulbs. And what about heading to the kids' rooms and giving them a really cheap makeover by moving around their furniture or putting up some new
wall stickers?It needn't cost the earth and by making your home and garden a more attractive space to spend time in, you might not need all those spring days out after all!You could
The views expressed here are solely those of the author,
and do not necessarily reflect the views of M&S Bank.
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