Personal Finance

10 Ways to Earn £500 Before Christmas

Christmas can put a real strain on our finances. With the costs of presents, food, trimmings and even affording a new outfit for the holidays—it can soon add up. Here are 10 ways to earn extra money to pay for holiday expenses with cash, to help avoid debt that you'll be paying off well into the new year.

If you find yourself spending way more towards the end of the year you’re not alone. The Bank of England found that the average British household spends an additional £500 in December compared with the rest of the year. Trying to find that extra £500 can leave you struggling with debt in January. So what if there was a way to earn cash to pay for Christmas without dipping into your overdraft, or being tempted by payday loans?

If you are looking to earn some extra cash in time for Christmas 2019, here are 10 ways you can earn £500 before the festive period:

Freelancing

If you have a skill why not freelance in your spare time? Maybe you’re a writer or a graphic designer—there are plenty of people who need these talents for their business! You could even offer people legal advice or help with their accounts if you have the relevant training. There are literally hundreds of skills in demand from clients all over the World.

One of the best freelance platforms is Upwork, but you could also try Fiverr or Freelancer. The rate you can charge will depend on your skill level and area of expertise. If, for example, you're able to charge £20 an hour for your services net of taxes, you’ll need to work an extra 25 hours to earn that £500 in time for Christmas.

Sell your stuff

Take a look around your house and there’s bound to be stuff you can make a profit on. Maybe there’s an unused power tool in your shed, a dress in your wardrobe you’ve never worn or some antiques collecting dust—it can all add up to some serious profit if you’re willing to put the work in.

Check out any local car boot or tabletop sales. You can even hold your own yard sale for free with very little hassle involved.

There are also online sales sites such as Ebay, Gumtree and Shpock making it easier than ever to sell your stuff—it just takes a few photos from your mobile phone and a few minutes to post an item for sale.

Get a second job

If you currently work part time or are struggling to make ends meet, then taking on a second job can make things a lot easier—especially in the run up to Christmas.

In fact, Christmas is one of the best times of the year to get extra work, as most industries (e.g., retail and hospitality) take on more staff. Plus, it’s not uncommon for Christmas temp staff to be given full time positions after Christmas, too.

Over just a few weeks the hours can really add up, reducing the strain of having to cut back or helping you to avoid going into debt to afford Christmas. Taxes aside, if you earn the National Minimum Wage of £8.21 per hour, you'd need to work an extra 61 hours to earn £500 for Christmas. Better start now!

Make money from your videos

Can you believe You’ve Been Framed are still giving £250 for your funny videos? All you need is 2 hilarious clips of your family or pets, and that’s £500 in the bag. It’s going to earn you a lot more than simply uploading them to Facebook!

If you’ve got a talent for video editing, you could also start a YouTube channel and monetize your videos through Google Adsense. This can be a great little earner in the background, and some have even quit their jobs to become full time YouTubers—although there's no guarantee this will earn you any money!

Reduce your bills

It’s one of those tasks we know we need to get on top of, but rarely find the time to do—switching up our bills and insurance. Whether you use comparison sites to reduce your gas and electricity bill, or downsize your mobile phone contract, there are plenty of savings to be made!

Don’t forget to cancel any unwanted direct debits, including gym memberships that haven’t been touched in months. If you spend a bit of time on this, you’d be amazed how much you can save even in a short space of time.

Check for unclaimed assets

It’s estimated there’s over £200 billion in unclaimed estates and assets. If this money isn’t claimed, it goes back to the government.

The money could come from inheritance, pensions or savings. Click here to start the process rolling and see if you are entitled to claim.

Sell your story

Do you have an interesting story to tell about your life? If so, it could be worth hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

There are countless newspapers and magazines in the UK who will pay for your story, pictures or video. So, it’s definitely worth sharing if you are in need of some cash. Given the average Brit works 33.4 hours to afford Christmas, this can be a way to earn money that doesn't require as big a time commitment.

Become an uber Driver

Fancy earning between £8.75 and £15 per hour? Uber are constantly on the lookout for new drivers, so if you pass their criteria it could be worth your while.

Given it’s a 24/7 operation, you could become an Uber driver full time or outside of your regular job. If you own a car and need to make some extra cash, this can become a nice little earner. Those earning £10 an hour would need to work for 50 extra hours to earn wages of £500 for Christmas.

Get a lodger

This one might not suit everyone, but it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. Depending on where you live and the size of your property, you could earn hundreds every month renting out your spare room.

If you don’t fancy bringing a stranger in, why not see if any friends or family want to move in? An unused bedroom is just untapped financial potential, so start renting it out and watch the pounds roll in.

You can also rent a room on Airbnb.

Babysitting

If you are a teacher, nanny or have other child-care experience, babysitting can be a nice way to earn extra money. If you're not one to advertise your services to friends and neighbours, you can always sign up to a service like Sitters. Plus, after the kids go to bed you work on your Christmas gifts, whether for you that involves knitting a scarf or searching for deals online.

A typical midweek evening babysitting booking through Sitters pays around £30, but even more can be earned at the weekend, for daycare bookings or in central London. If you earn £30 an evening, you'd need to babysit 17 times to earn £500 for Christmas.

Another long-term side hustle: start a business

While this might not work if you're looking to earn money quickly before Christmtas, if you’re stuck in the 9 to 5 with dreams of starting your own business, why not work on your idea during your lunch hour, or after work? By being self-employed as well as employed, this could top up your earnings in a big way. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to have your own mobile nail salon, or even a new handyman business—the world really is your oyster!

Plus with social media you can easily spread the word about your new venture, picking up customers without having to shell out on business cards or expensive marketing. Plus, if you earn under £1,000 from your business you don’t have to register a self assessment tax return with HMRC, so that £500 is all yours. However you'll need to do your research before heading on this path, as you may need to buy business insurance or meet other requirements, depending on the business you want to start.

Some top tips on what NOT to do to earn extra cash this Christmas

  • DON’T resort to payday loans, as they tend to charge ridiculous interest rates which could leave you in terrible debt and ruin your credit rating.
  • DON’T turn to gambling to raise extra cash. Remember, these companies are rich for a reason (they always win in the end)!
  • DON’T resort to borrowing money from friends or family. You will feel a much greater sense of satisfaction earning this money yourself, plus you won’t have to pay it back!
  • DON’T overspend on Christmas shopping. Write a list and stick to it!
  • DON’T waste your time on pointless survey websites that pay 2p a time. You will never earn a decent amount of money off them, and it will just frustrate you.
  • DON’T give up just because it gets tough. The harder you work, the more likely you are to succeed.

Note: As everyone's tax situation is different, the numbers mentioned above are net of taxes.

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