Fixed incomes are leaving pensioners struggling against the Brexit price hikes.
With the pound low against the dollar and the euro, many of our day-to-day purchases like food and petrol are going up.
This is particularly tough on over 65s who are on fixed incomes.
So here are some ways you can add to your income – on the side – to help pay for daily necessities and treats.
- Save on your bills by housesitting
- Get freebies as a mystery shopper
- Earn £80 an hour tutoring
- Make money from your hobby
- Get better savings rates
- Sell your body!….the legal way
- Pension benefits- make sure you’re claiming what you’re owed
- Get fab free stuff through competitions
- Rent, Rent, Rent!
save on your bills by house-sitting
Housesitting is a great way of saving money on your own bills while enjoying a break from your usual routine.
You can make a small amount of money from it too. The agency Homesitters says “While on assignment, you will receive a daily food allowance and travel expenses (both tax-free), and earn a modest remuneration to supplement your income.” A ‘modest’ income could be around £10-15 per day.
Another agency, Trusted Housesitters doesn’t allow payment but you should certainly ask for travel expenses at the very least
Of course, there’s also nothing to stop you advertising yourself as a private housesitter. You could even set up your own website or – easier – set up a Facebook page and promote yourself that way. Once you get some good references you will get more enquiries.
what does housesitting involve?
Sittings can be as short as a weekend or as long as a fortnight – a good agency will take on board your preferences and match you to a homeowner whose needs suit your own.
Older people are extremely sought after as they tend to have more home caring experience, and if you’re happy to look after dogs or cats you’ll be even more in demand.
If you don’t like the idea of leaving your partner behind then Homesitters is definitely the agency for you, as they allow you to take your better half along with you (but bear in mind that the person you’re sitting for is only expected to cover the expenses of one of you).
With Trusted Housesitters and Tailster the emphasis is as much on enjoyment as it is on work – they say daily chores should last no more than two hours (at most) and that the rest of the time should be spent exploring your new home and surroundings.
Eileen Higgins, a pensioner from Bristol, signed up to Homesitters twelve years ago and has never looked back.
Eileen says: “I first heard about housesitting through a woman’s weekly magazine and thought to myself, ‘this is something I can do.’ I love animals, especially dogs, and whilst I don’t have any of my own housesitting gives me the opportunity to enjoy pets but give them back at the end of my stay!
You do need to be a practical sort and it definitely helps having a car, but saying that I know sitters who don’t and still get by. I spend around 10-12 weeks a year sitting and have even be sent abroad to care for someone’s home- it doesn’t happen often but it was a nice perk. Homesitters sort out everything for you and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in sitting.”
Also, for even more information, see our article on how to make money house-sitting here.
become a mystery shopper
Mystery shopping is a good money maker for over 65s as it’s flexible, undemanding and fun.
Take it seriously and it could earn you a bit on the side as well.
One of our readers claims he makes up to £400 per month working for a small handful of mystery shopping agencies (but as the average pay-out is between £5-25 per assignment, we’re guessing he dedicates a fair bit of time to it!)
But still, just five assignments a month – at say £15 a go – would leave you £75 better off. Plus you usually get freebies, such as meals out, as part and parcel of the deal).
There are lots of different types of mystery shopping which means you get to be fussy and go with the one that most appeals.
- Become a “report-only” mystery shopper and you’ll find yourself out “in the field” making mental notes on whatever it was you were assigned to look out for. You might for example be set the task of eating at a well known restaurant and reporting back on its cleanliness of service, or going into a well known department store and noting how the staff react when you complain
- Or if you’re quite reserved and don’t like the idea of going out and about, you could become a postal monitoring, telephone or email mystery shopper- these pay slightly less but you can do them from the comfort of your own home.
- Get free goodies to test out for Toluna. They have loads of products they need to have tested so if you sign up for the testing side can get new things every month. Right now, for example, they’re getting people to test out Garnier Hand Cream and pots of caviar…yes seriously! So you can see the kind of things you could get to try for nothing. Click here to join up now and get all these great freebies.
The golden rule with mystery shopping is to NEVER pay to join an agency- there’s no reason why you should and plenty of agencies out there won’t charge you a penny for being on their books. Here are some of the more reputable ones:
For everything you need to know about mystery shopping, and a longer list of decent agencies, take a look at our article on mystery shopping here.
earn £80 an hour tutoring
Tutoring can be a really lucrative way of making money, and if you enjoy teaching others you could be on to a real winner. In London alone an estimated 43% of 11-16 year olds have used a personal tutor, with worried parents paying up to £80 an hour for their services.
There are lots of subjects that you could teach, from the big ones like maths, English and science to the more creative ones such as music, art and drama. Music in particular is a very popular hobby amongst youngsters, and would be a great subject for you to teach all year round.
You do need to know your stuff, so unless you’re educated to degree level, have a teaching qualification or a very obvious knowledge of the subject you want to teach, you might be hard pushed to find work.
If you think you’ve got what it takes there are lots of ways that you can go about advertising your services. Start by putting a notice in places like your local post office, newsagents, supermarkets and library, or go online and post an ad on a site like Gumtree.
Schoolstrader is a particularly good website for tutors as it allows you to post a free ad on the website and covers over 30,000 independent primary and secondary schools across the UK and Ireland.
To help ensure you get a decent wage you should also think about joining with an agency. Be warned, though, that a good agency will usually expect you to have a first class degree or teaching qualification. Have a read of the ‘Good Schools Guide’ in your local library to find out which agencies are worth signing up to.
Tutors are most heavily in demand during the lead up to exams (which are generally held between May and June), and you’ll either be expected to travel to your students home or teach them online- have a look at Home Tutoring Online to find out how this works.
make money from your hobby
Make money through your favourite hobby or hidden talent. If you’ve got time on your hands now is the perfect time to indulge in what you really enjoy doing.
Why not offer your services to neighbours and people in your local community. We’re not talking about completely landscaping someone’s garden (although if you’re good, why not!), but if you’re a dab-hand at pruning, planting and generally maintaining then your services will be in demand. For tips on how to get going take a look at the Royal Horticultural Society and Garden Advice websites. You could also grow your own fruit, vegetables and flowers to then sell on for a profit- take a look at this article to find out more on how to make money from your garden.
Surfing the net
It’s scary how much time some of us spend on the internet, but if you enjoy browsing online then make sure you put a little time aside to make yourself some money.
Online survey sites are a great way of making a little money (not a lot) without putting in too much effort.
The ones we like are:
- Nielsen Online Panel
- Valued Opinions
- The OpinionPanel Community
If you’ve got anything lying around the house that you’d like to sell then websites such as eBay and eBid are a must. You can also make cash from your old or broken gadgets by going onto websites such as Mobile Phone Xchange who will take your gadget and exchange it for cash. If you’ve got an old or broken mobile phone then check out the MoneyMagpie comparison tool which will work out who will give you the best price for it.
Baking and making sweets for cash
Rustle up some of your best cakes and sell them at local fairs and car boot sales. If you’re really good you could even sell them to local coffee shops.
From prettily decorated cupcakes to a creamy Victoria sponge, as long as they’re tasty you won’t have any problems selling them.
If you’re really good you could even think about specialising in wedding cakes for a much bigger profit.
The Cake Baker website will give you some good advice on how to go about it, as well as how to make other types of cake. See our article on how to make and sell cakes, jams and sweets – then get baking!
Don’t worry if none of these examples appeal- instead check out our Hobbies and Skills section where you should find what you’re looking for.
be clever with your savings
Savings accounts give practically nothing for your savings nowadays.
However, if you’re willing to take a bit more of a risk, you can get between 2.9%-6.1% with the peer-to-peer lender Zopa.
With Zopa, which is now covered by the Financial Conduct Authority, you put your money in and they then lend it out to people like you who want to borrow.
You can choose what rate you want bearing in mind that the higher the rate you choose, the more risk you are taking. Some of the lower rates guarantee your money back if one of the lenders defaults. The higher one doesn’t.
You do have to keep your money in Zopa for at least six months but if you have cash that you don’t need to get your hands on right now, that would be no problem.
Check out Zopa here to see what rates you could get on your money (or at least some of it)
sell your body – the legal way!
You don’t have to be a spring chicken to make it as a successful model. Granted your catwalk days are probably over, but then who wants to live on a lettuce leaf diet anyway? There are agencies out there crying out for more mature guys and gals.
Here are three types of modelling older people can definitely break into:
This is big business, so if you resemble a famous celeb you could be on to a really lucrative money-spinner. You’ll need to be signed-up to an agency, and the good ones will only take you on if you really look like a certain famous person.
Your best bet would be to call the agency directly to find out if they want a lookalike of the person you resemble, and if they do you can take it from there. For a list of good agencies and more tips on how to get started, read our article- “Be a lookalike for £100 a day.”
This has changed the face of conventional modelling- the emphasis isn’t on physical beauty but on unique features that make you stand out from the crowd. So if you’re extremely tall, short, fat, skinny, hairy, tattooed, pierced etc, character modelling could earn you a mint. One of the best agencies to sign-up with is Ugly Models(don’t be offended by their name, they’ve actually got some really attractive people on their books!), who are always on the hunt for new and unusual faces.
This is definitely one for the un-selfconscious, but if you’ve got heaps of confidence and fancy feeling liberated, then give it a go and earn yourself up to £12 an hour. It’s certainly not sleazy sitting in front of an art class, but it can be surprisingly hard work holding the same pose for minutes or hours on end (though you do get breaks!)
And don’t think that you need to be the epitome of physical perfection to get work, as artists actually prefer a body with flaws and character. To find out more on life modelling read our article on ‘How to make money as a life model’.
pension benefits – make sure you’re claiming what you’re owed
You don’t get a lot in life for free, but when you reach a certain age you really should be claiming what’s rightfully yours – others do, so why aren’t you?
Following an enquiry from one of our readers regarding benefits for the over 60’s, we decided to dedicate a whole article to this important topic. The frustrating thing is, there are thousands of people out there who aren’t claiming what they are entitled to, either because they don’t want the hassle, or are unaware of what they’re actually owed.
Here are a handful of perks the over 60’s should be enjoying, but for the full list please take a look at our main article here.
- Free prescriptions and free eye tests
- Half price discount on most National Express coach services if you live in England or Wales. If you live in Scotland contact Scottish Citylink who offer Senior Specials on 08705 505 050
- Save one-third on all standard and first-class rail tickets by buying a Senior Railcard for just £26 here
- Grants and discounts if you’re wanting to take an adult education class. Contact your local council direct or have a word with the people running your course
- Londoners can purchase a Freedom Pass which entitles them to travel for free on buses, trams, tubes and trains in London
- If you’re over 60 you should be getting help with the cost of heating your home during the winter months. Depending on your exact age this could be anywhere between £100-£300
- Free TV license for the over 75s. Find out how to claim your free TV license here
get fab freebies in competitions
Most of us never bother with competitions because we think our chances of winning are so minute. In some cases this is true, but if you know which ones to go for you could start winning a consistent stream of goodies.
Remember, the more people who don’t bother with competitions, the greater your chances are of swooping in and bagging some great prizes. They rarely take much effort to enter, and the rewards can be fantastic. Find a type which tickles your fancy and go for it.
- Firstly sign up to the Free Postcode Lottery which is TOTALLY FREE to enter and could net you £750 or more! It’s so easy to join – just your postcode and email address – and then you check the site every day to see if you’ve won. There you are!
- Also sign up to our newsletter here because we have new competitions EVERY WEEK that are free to enter.
- Shop competitions. If you ever come across a competition that asks you to write your answer on a postcard and send it in, make sure you do it. People rarely bother with this way of entering because it takes a bit of effort, meaning your chances of winning are given a considerable boost.
- Slogan competitions are a great idea if you’ve got a way with words. Companies often set competitions for members of the public to come up with catchy slogans to help promote their products. If this appeals to you then check out the website Winning-Slogans which will not only provide you with examples of past winning slogans, but also a beginners guide on how to get started.
- Writing competitions are not about the luck of the draw, but about the quality of the writing you produce. If you think you’ve got the talent you should definitely take the time and effort to enter, as the prizes are often impressive (think large cash sums and exotic holidays abroad). For a list of writing competitions and their closing dates visit the Writer’s Forum Competition, First Writer Website and Prize Magic.
If you’d like to find out more about the various competitions you could enter, as well as the scams you should always avoid, check out our article ‘Making money from competitions’.
make £60 an hour dog-walking
Dog walking is an excellent way to make money in your spare time. You can make good money doing it (expect around £10-£15 per dog, per hour) so if you walk multiple dogs it soon adds up. Some people even set up their own dog walking businesses. What’s more, it’s a great way to get yourself out and about doing a bit of exercise as well! You can sign-up to start advertising your service with Tailster.
Read our guide on how to make money walking dogs – we tell you how to get started, what to expect and the laws you need to be aware of.
rent, rent, rent!
Renting out your property is a brilliant way of making some serious money.
Here’s how to go about it:
Rent your parking space
The demand for parking spaces is huge, so if you’ve got a driveway, parking space or garage that’s not being used, rent it. Check out JustPark who will both let you advertise your parking space on their websites for free, and then charge a 10% commission from the rent you make. Is it worth doing? Well if you live near a popular attraction such as a football stadium or an airport, you could make yourself a staggering £500 a month. Not bad eh?
For more information on this see our article Renting out your driveway or garage.
Rent out your storage space
Garages also make great storage spaces, as do cellars and attics. Advertise your space on the website Spareground for free.
Rent a room
Did you know that if you rent a room in your house you’re allowed to make £7,500 a year completely tax free? Well you can, so take a look at Easyroommate where you’ll be able to post an ad for a roommate completely free of charge. Or if you don’t fancy having a lodger around at the weekends, go onto MondaytoFriday where you’ll people who only want to stay at your home during the week.
Also, you could have tourists renting your home for a few nights or a week or so at a time. That can be a really good way of making pretty good money fast. Try HomeAway to see how much tourists would be prepared to pay to stay in your home.
Find out more about renting a room here.
To find out what else you can rent and how to go about it, check out our article Rent it if you’ve got it!
warning: don’t let inflated energy bills bring you down
Energy prices are rising faster than inflation, and pensioners spend a higher proportion of their income on heating than those of working age.
If you haven’t already done so, we strongly recommend you do the following:
1. Check whether you are on the lowest tariff.
This is the very first thing you should do. According to Energyhelpline, 46% of households are on standard tariffs, despite online ones being potentially hundreds of pounds a year cheaper – so switching to an online deal could save you much more.
Why should you switch your energy provider now?
- Because it will save you money! You could save over £500 a year by switching.
- Because it’s simple. Your new supplier organises all the switching. All you need to do is take the final meter reading on the day arranged by the new supplier. Once they have this reading, the new supplier organises the final bill and the closure of your old account.
- Because it’s free. You don’t pay a penny to switch and there’s absolutely no obligation to do it immediately – you can simply compare and make a decision at a later date. Try it here.
2. Make sure you’re paying by the cheapest method
Some methods of paying your energy bills are more expensive than others. Many companies charge you more if you pay by cheque for example, while most offer you a significant discount if you pay by Direct Debit.
3. See whether you’d be eligible for an energy saving grant
There are all sorts of grants available to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Have a look at our guide to the energy grants you can apply for.