And with the Office for National Statistics showing that real wages (average earnings after inflation) fell by an average of 2.2% a year between the start of 2010 and January 2014, the need for extra cash is becoming more and more urgent for many.
Make money from your home
For most of us, however, taking a second job to improve our earnings simply isn’t on the cards.
But there is one asset that many people own which, with a relatively small amount of work and some imaginative thinking, can be put to good use to help with the family fortunes: Your home.
Here are five of the best ways to utilise your bricks and mortar, and the things you keep in it, for financial gain:
Offer storage space
Your house might have a good deal of extra space that you don’t really use; perhaps a garage or other outbuilding, or at least a spare room.
You could rent this out as storage space (storage is a growing business in the UK) to people who are moving, have business reasons and need a ‘lock up’, or simply own too many things for where they live.
Storemate.co.uk puts people with spare space in touch with those who would like to rent it. They recommend you charge around 50% of what a commercial operation would charge.
Get money by taking in a lodger
One of the quickest and easiest ways to make extra cash is to rent a room, or rooms, to a lodger.
Under the Government’s ‘rent a room’ scheme you can make up to £4,250 from letting out a room without having to declare it and pay tax. You can charge more if you like, but you would have to declare the extra earned on top of the tax-free limit.
You’ll find any number of willing renters on Gumtree and other web sites, such as Spareroom.co.uk.
And if the idea of having someone around all the time is too much, consider a Monday-to-Friday lodger only. You could possibly find a week-time lodger on fivenights.com or mondaytofriday.com.
Remember that you need to tell your insurer, as your home cover may need to be adjusted to take the new member of the household into account.
Rent out your drive
With parking space hard to come by in many towns and cities for commuters and other workers, renting out a driveway is becoming an increasingly popular way of making extra cash.
It’s also being done by those living near airports as an alternative to what can be fairly expensive airport parking.
If you live in central London, you can charge a small fortune for your drive (hundreds, if not thousands of pounds a month!), but for most, between five and fifteen pounds a day might be achievable.
Parkatmyhouse.com is a website set up to assist those looking for parking spaces and those renting them out. You can check what other drives are being rented for in your area and advertise your own.
Open an Amateur B&B
Sites such as Airbnb.com and Rentasofa.com are now big business, and thousands of people in countries around the world have signed up and essentially turned their homes into part-time (or even full-time) B&Bs.
Many people look for a more ‘authentic’ experience when they go abroad, and staying in someone’s home is one way of achieving it.
From luxury bedrooms in grand old houses with breakfast served every morning, to tiny room shares and studio flats, people offer all sorts of accommodation and you can make good money.
In a town or city in the UK with a decent level of tourism, anywhere between £25 and £100 might be achievable for many, depending on position, type and standard of accommodation.
Listings are free, and you can ‘vet’ guests by checking other people’s comments about them.
Sell your old ‘junk’ on EBay
From old DVDs, CDs and books, to televisions, bicycles and even cars, people’s attics, sheds and spare rooms are often crammed full of stuff that’s no longer used or needed.
If you open an eBay account you could be making good money selling all or some of it within days. It’s amazing what people will buy and also how much you might make once you’ve totted up everything you have that you’d like to get rid of.
And if you don’t fancy putting the effort in, some people now make a living out of selling other people’s ‘junk’ by doing all the work involved for you, in return for a cut of the profits.
EBay calls such individuals ‘trading assistants’ and has a directory of them to help you find someone local to you (look under ‘Trading Assistants Programme’ on the EBay site).