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How to make money even when you’re broke

Marc Crosby 9th Jul 2019 4 Comments

Reading Time: 8 minutes

At MoneyMagpie we’re constantly coming up with new ways to make money.

But, sometimes, money-making ideas require you have a fair amount of cash to make an initial investment.

It’s for this reason we’ve put together this guide to making money even if you’re broke. Follow our guide and see what money-making opportunities out there are available if you don’t have money to begin with.


Make money by not wasting money

Unhappy woman after spending too much on shopping

One of the first things you should do is to make sure you’re not wasting any money.

It might seem that you’re making every penny count, but it’s amazing how much money we waste on things we don’t need to – in fact, we’ve got a whole article about making money by not wasting it here.

Things you can do include:

  • Making home cleaning products
  • Using every bit of food you buy
  • Making packed lunches
  • Getting free phone calls

Plus there are a load more ideas, so do read the article.

Just make sure, in general, that you’re getting the best deals. For example, some people are able to save £538 a year just by switching energy supplier – click here to use our energy comparison tool to to see if you’re getting the best deal.

Other things to look out for include your insurance (whether it be car, holiday or life insurance) and your broadband.

For more information read our article on how to save money when you don’t have any.


Get a job


Ok, this step isn’t for everyone, you may already have a job or you may be a full-time parent.

But if you are looking for a job – or indeed, a second job that you can do in the evenings or weekends – and you’re struggling, here are a few of our top tips.

Firstly, when applying, make sure you have a strong CV.

You’ve got to make sure your CV is concise, persuasive and professional if you’re going to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Read our guide to writing a killer CV here.

If you’ve been unemployed for a long time it can make it even more difficult to get a job, particularly if there are gaps in your CV, so make sure you take advantage of all the available government schemes and network as much as possible. Read our guide to overcoming long-term unemployment here.

Got an interview?


If you’ve landed yourself an interview then make sure you dress the part – people take just three seconds to form an initial first impression!

Click here to read our 9 ways to make a good first impression.

Suits can be expensive so if you don’t have the money to afford one, why not trying asking your friend if you can borrow one of theirs?

If you’re on Job Seekers Allowance you may also be able to get help to buy a suit from the Flexible Support Fund. This fund was set up to give support and training to those looking for work, and if lack of suitable clothing is proving a barrier to you finding work then you may be able to get help.

However, the fund is given out on a discretionary basis so you don’t have a ‘right’ to it, but if you can put forward a good case for needing it, then you should get something.

If none of that works out there’s a charity Suited and Booted who provide suits to men who are unable to afford one.

You’ll only need to borrow one for a while because once you’ve, hopefully, landed the job, you’l be able to buy one for yourself!

Click here to read our 16 top tips to help you if you’ve lost the confidence to go for jobs.



Online surveys

Woman completing Online Survey

Just to get you started, and bring in a bit of cash while you’re at home, do a few easy online surveys.

We’re a big fan of online surveys at MoneyMagpie as they’re a great way to earn a little extra money in your spare time.

You can read our full guide to online surveys here, but surveys we’d particularly recommend are:

  • Inbox Pounds – They give you £1 just for signing up!
  • Toluna – Toluna offer points that can be redeemed for gift cards or PayPal cash.
  • iPoll – Get paid to influence major brands around the world.
  • MintVine – A very easy to use survey site which gives you nearly £2 just for joining.
  • Nielsen Online Panel – Not really an online survey, but instead all you have to do is download the app onto your computer/smartphone and then you’re entered into a prize draw of up to £30,000!
  • Swagbucks – earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards at top retailers like Amazon

You won’t earn a fortune, and you’ll have to be signed up to a few to make sure there’s always a survey to complete, but they’re a nice way to supplement any money coming in.

What if I can’t afford a computer or broadband?

No Internet?

As you’re reading this information on a website we’ve assumed you have access to the internet, but you raise an interesting point.

If you’re after a cheap computer you should visit [email protected] which offer discounts to people who are receiving certain government benefits.

The offers vary but it’s possible to get a computer from about £60.

You’ll still have to pay for broadband but it shouldn’t cost the Earth – click here to find the best home broadband deal for you.

Many of you are probably now using smartphones to access the internet, which brings an entirely different set of costs. Read our 9 ways to reduce the cost of your smartphone to see if you can save yourself any money.

Not only that, though, your local library will have a free computer you can use here and there so make the most of that.


Rent or sell your stuff

Use your stuff first to get some cash in. You can either rent it – that’s best as you get to keep it – or sell it.


Room for rent sign

If you’ve got anything of value then chances are you’ll be able to make money by renting it out.

If you have a spare room, you can rent it out for cash (even if it’s on a part-time basis). It can bring in thousands of extra pounds a year – and the first £4,250 you earn from a lodger is tax free!

If this sounds like something you could do, have a look at Easyroommate – it’s free to post an ad. If you don’t want to commit to a full time lodger, check out MondaytoFriday.

If you’ve got a driveway you can make money by renting it out -try Parklet or JustPark.

In fact, you can rent out all sorts of things for cash – from your DVD player to gardening tools with RentNotBuy. And the beauty of lending is that you can do it again and again, making it a cash stream that can last.


Sell your stuff

If you’ve got stuff lying around your house that you no-longer use, don’t throw it out!

Remember, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, so you may well find a buyer.

One of the most popular ways of selling items is through eBay. It’s easy and doesn’t require too much effort, although they will take a fee from everything you earn.

If you’re not sure about selling on eBay, read our 8 steps to making money on eBay.

If you’ve got a lot of stuff to sell then why not consider having a car boot sale? It’s a great way to turn your trash into cash. Click here to read our guide to having a successful car boot sale.


Fun, easy and bizarre money makers

Weird woman wearing horse head mask

Looking for some easy, fun or bizarre money makers that don’t require any money upfront?

Then here are some ideas for you – they won’t provide a regular income but they’re a nice way to make some extra cash.

Get paid to test – Getting paid for your opinions is a nice, easy way to earn a bit of extra cash. For example, you can get paid to test food…yes, even chocolate! You can earn up to £55 just for one tasting session. Focus groups for other things can pay up to £250 so it’s definitely worth checking out.

Get paid to be tested on – If you’re brave and fully understand the risk, you can make up to £4,000 for taking part in clinical trials. Of course this will involve an element of risk – you’d be one of, if not the, first person the drug is being tested on! If you’re after something safer, you can get paid to take part in psychology experiments. You can make up to £10 an hour being the subject of a psychology experiment!

Donate from your body – We did promise you bizarre! You can make money donating from your body. For example there are women right now making a lot of money selling their breast milk! There’s also money to be made from donating sperm or eggs, although technically you’re not allowed to profit from this. A much more popular option is making money by selling your hair – in fact some companies will pay up to £200 for your hair!


Low investment money making opportunities

There are money making opportunities that can provide regular income but which don’t require much in the way of initial investment.

Dog walking

Dachshund on lead

For example, dog walking or dog sitting is something you can do without needing to spend any money setting yourself upfront. You can advertise your services for free with a dog walking agency and in return you pay them a small amount of the profit you make.

Other low investment money making opportunities include face painting, house sitting and setting up your own blog.

Find out more ways you can make money with your hobbies and skills here.

Be an extra

Male actor behind clapper board

We’re also big fans of being an extra on films, TV programmes and adverts.

The money’s good – about £100 a day on the whole – you don’t do much (a lot of it is sitting around waiting to be called) and you get fab food on set!

The only downsides are that you need to live in or near a city where they do filming (London is an obvious but also Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester and more) and you need to be careful which extras agency you join. There are many sharks out there that will charge you to join and then won’t get you any work, so take a look at our article here to find out how to weed the good from the bad.


Get cashback

Cashback graphic

Once you have a bit of extra money to spend, join up to a cashback site like Top Cashback and starting getting money back each time you make a purchase.

It might not seem a lot at first, but eventually you’ll realise you’re saving a lot of money!


Which of these money making methods are you going to try? Maybe you’ve already given one a go? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Ganesan Mangan
Ganesan Mangan
3 years ago

I want earn money

4 years ago

Haven’t read the article yet (my next move) but does anyone know of an extras company in Worcestershire or Warwickshire?

5 years ago

Some good money making advice.

shruti Thakur
shruti Thakur
9 years ago

Hey jasmine.. I am a big fan of you and your team…. I have a few doubts in mind.. As I am from India.. I become restricted to most of the foreign sites and opportunities.. So I have come up with few queries.. 1: if I win any of the magpie ‘s competition then will the prize be delivered in my country also..??? Will I have to pay for the shipping charges??? 2:if I register to a UK freebies site,then is there any chance that they can send free stuff to my country too??? 3:in India, we have less money… Read more »

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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