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How to make money when you’re unemployed

Web Admin 1st Feb 2020 3 Comments

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Unemployment sucks. It takes forever to find a job these days! Being unemployed affects our mental health, self-worth – and financial situation. Bills occur every month even when you have no income!

The good news is that there are ways to make money whilst unemployed! This buys you a bit more time to search and land a role suited to your background. There’s no need to panic and grab the first opportunity that comes your way!

If this situation sounds familiar and you are in desperate need for a quick cash fix as the job search continues, take a look at the following ways to make money when you’re unemployed.


Sell items online

girl using laptop surrounded by clothes to sell
Selling unwanted items on the likes of eBay and Amazon is a great way to earn some money whilst you’re out of work. You need not be a technical whizz or a digital maestro either, as selling on large e-commerce sites is pretty straightforward.

Set up an account, take some photos of the items you want to sell, then list them on sites like eBay and let the cash roll in!

If you don’t have any items to sell, try visiting local charity shops or car boot sales and purchasing some bargain items. You can sell these for more on auction sites like eBay! It can be a fun, rewarding and easy way to generate an income whilst you’re looking for work.

Before you take the plunge, research what sells well online and how much profit is in different items. If, for example, second-hand designer clothes and accessories tend to sell for substantial price tags, you’ll know what to look out for as you browse the car boot sales on a Sunday morning.

Find out more about making money selling online.


Have a car boot sale

Car boot sale
If selling online doesn’t tickle your fancy, you could always join the sellers who congregate at car boot sales across the country in the early hours of a Saturday or Sunday morning.

Get up in the attic, dust down those trinkets that haven’t seen the light of day in years, and display them with pride at a forthcoming car boot sale. You never know what you’ll find! The money you generate from items that were gathering dust at home could be enough to take care of your groceries for the whole month.

Read our whole article about car boot sales here.


Rent things out

Room for rent sign
You might not have a property portfolio to enjoy the lifestyle of a landlord with multiple properties, but you might be sitting on something that will generate some revenue in rent. A spare room, for example, in your home could potentially be turned into a monthly source of income.

Though it’s not just property that you can rent out – the more creative you are with prospective items to rent, the better. You may have read about the lady who turned her designer handbag addiction into a lucrative business. She rented her Prada, Burberry and the rest of her £40,000 designer handbag collection to punters keen to be seen with a designer handbag by their side for a night!

There really are all kinds of things you can rent out including your driveway, your home as a film set and many more things.


Participate in surveys

Online Survey
It is possible to make money, or at the very least earn vouchers, completing online surveys. The trick of getting decent rewards is knowing where to go.

One of the best survey sites that offer cash incentives is Crowdology, which pays hard cash via PayPal as soon as you reach the £4 withdrawal threshold. Also good are LifePoints, which has an abundance of surveys and enables participants to withdraw funds when their balance reaches £3, and Inbox Pounds, which pays £1 just for signing up.

Ever wanted to have your say on products BEFORE they hit the market? By completing Pinecone Research’s online studies, your opinions will directly influence tomorrow’s products today, and you get rewarded.

Read our full article about online surveys here. 


Be a mystery shopper

Mystery Shopper
Being unemployed and a self-confessed shopaholic doesn’t bode too well, unless you’re a mystery shopper! We’ve all heard of the term ‘mystery shoppers’, but is there really any money to be made through disguising yourself as a shopper and ghosting round supermarkets and department stores?

Many of the big UK retailers, including John Lewis and the Post Office, use mystery shoppers in their stores for purposes related to aspects such as identifying training issues or determining staff bonuses.

According to Market Force, frequent mystery shoppers can make as much as £2,000 per year – not bad while you’re looking for a ‘real’ job!

Find out more about becoming a mystery shopper here. 


Be a human guinea pig

Docotor giving young woman medication
If spending hours upon hours in busy stores and supermarkets doesn’t fill you with enthusiasm, you could always put your body forward to be involved in medical research. Clinical trials pay well. Your current health, age, location and other factors will affect your eligibility. However, you don’t always need to be in perfect health! Some studies and trials look for people with specific conditions like asthma and diabetes.

Find out more about how you could make money taking part in paid clinical trials. 


Give blood

Man giving blood
Again, depending on your age, location and health, you may be able to earn some money by giving blood. Some plasma banks offer a fixed rate per pint of blood.

Discover more ways you can make money with your body.


Start your own blog

Woman sat on the sofa by a gas fire
The internet is awash with blogs devoted to all kinds of topics. Most don’t make any money, some make a pittance, others drawn in a lucrative regular income. Take the ultra-popular genre of fashion blogs as an example. Research suggests that a typical fashion blogger earns £1,116 a year. Whilst not a liveable amount, making over a grand a year from blogging could certainly be useful, especially when you’re unemployed.

Earn extra pennies through something you’re passionate or have buckets of knowledge about. Set up a blog to generate revenue from getting sponsored posts on the blog, or from affiliate marketing, sales and commission.

Find out more about making money blogging here.


Walk dogs

Beagle on lead
Why not turn your love for dogs into hard cash? As many dog owners simply don’t have the time to take their furry friends on walks during the day, money is there to be made by walking dogs. Get exercise, make cash, spend time with dogs – what’s not to like?!

Find out more about making money dog walking here. 


How earning money might affect unemployment benefits

Earning any kind of income may affect any unemployment benefits you might be receiving and should be taken into consideration.

Permitted Work

Mother holding baby working at a desk

For example, whilst claiming Employment and Support Allowance you may be allowed to do some limited work, which is known as ‘Permitted Work.’ Permitted Work is geared towards enabling claimants to maybe gain new skills and test your own capacity for certain types of work.

Talk to your Job Centre for more advice about permitted work.

Job Seeker’s Allowance

Job Centre Plus Sign
Job Seeker’s Allowance is available for those who are available to work but currently work on average less than 16 hours per week. You’re paid through the Universal Credit system. The amount you get depends on whether you work at all or have other income from pensions or investments.

To be eligible for Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance, you must work less than 16 hours per week on average. If you have a partner, they must work less than 24 hours per week on average. You mustn’t have savings over £16,000. Any savings over £6,000 will affect how much JSA you’ll get. If you own a property you don’t live in, you won’t be eligible for benefits.

Visit the Government website to see how any money you earn whilst you are unemployed my affect the benefits you might be receiving.

Registering as self-employed

Home Office

When earning an income independently, it is important that you register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as self-employed. You will then need to fill out an annual self-assessment form each year. This determines how much tax and national insurance contributions you may owe. The current threshold that you can earn and not pay any tax on is £12,500 per year.

When trading or making an income from property, you are permitted a tax-free allowance of £1,000 per year.

For more information about working for yourself and registering for self-employment visit the Gov.uk website.

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3 years ago

Some useful ideas here.

6 years ago

great article, personally, i was unemployed but i must say that there are so many opportunities today with this online network, im for example found my self consistently through koocam website. and there are more sites like this. your article helped me, thank u

6 years ago
Reply to  arava

Yes it’s helpful to learn new skills. We have an article here on how to learn new skills for free https://www.moneymagpie.com/make-money/boost-your-job-prospects-for-free

Jasmine Birtles

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

Jasmine Birtles

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