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Make money and save money in the country

Joanna Robinson 12th Jul 2011 No Comments

Reading Time: 8 minutes

While living in the country can do wonders for your lifestyle, sometimes you can feel disadvantaged when it comes to getting hold of the best deals. Well, here at MoneyMagpie we’re all about showing you the best ways to make and save money in the county , and there are plenty of ways you can start making some extra cash!

Money saving

Money making


Making savings

Kit yourself out for free

There’s that old saying: “you can’t get something for nothing”.

Well, we beg to differ.  There are always loads of interesting items up for grabs on sites like Craigslist, Gumtree and Snaffleup, all you need to do is head to the freebies section on each website and you could find a real treasure in there. These sites are update regularly so keep looking throughout the day to see what you can find.

For specific local freebies it’s a great idea to sign up to Freecycle.com, where local people will put out adverts for things they don’t want anymore including duvets, computers and even pets! If you can collect, you can have it!

Although you’re not allowed to pick up anything that has already been dumped, you can try approaching people who are about to chuck things out. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all that…

Some dumps also resell the best of the dumped items, so keep an eye out for these bargain sales too.

Trade your skills with somebody

You’ll be amazed at what skills you have to offer if you put your mind to it. Knitting, cooking, gardening or DIY, it’s probably one of those things that you think anyone can do, but you’d be surprised!

Local Exchange-Trading Schemes (LETS) have been set up all over the country to help people swap their skills. They work by creating a unit of ‘currency’ which can be collected when you use your skills, and then used to ‘buy’ the skills of others.

So if you’re a naturally-gifted cook for instance, you can bake someone a birthday cake, and then use your credits to get another member to mow your lawn. Check out LETSLinkUK for loads of information and to find your nearest scheme.

Free energy

If you live out in the country you may well be lucky enough to live somewhere where logs are readily available for free, and don’t come in pre-packed plastic bags at the petrol station. Make the most of it! You can save loads of money by using a wood-burning stove to help heat your home if you’re clever about it.

If you live near a woodland, or if there’s a copse of trees nearby just go on a walk with a big bag and pick up as much as you can carry. A good tip is to look out for any overhead cables, as you’ll find that the council comes round every so often to chop the tress down around them and they’ll usually let you have off-cuts for nothing. Larger land owners in the area are very likely to have logs available, either for free or a small amount of cash, so it’s always worth asking around.

Whilst it’s not a foolproof solution, if you use a wood stove one or two days a week over the winter period you could save about 10% of your energy costs. Even if it only cuts down the time you have your heating on for, it should still be a fairly significant saving.

Cost cutting

There are hundreds of easy ways to save cash on a daily basis without very much effort. For loads of great ideas have a look at our Smart Spending section. It’s also a lot easier than you think to reduce your outgoings, we’ve worked out how you can save £1,000 a year  find out how here. Also it’s a good idea to check our Best Buys pages so you can make quick comparisons on any financial products and make sure you’ve got the cheapest and best deals around.

Save money and the environment

By making your home more energy efficient you can help the environment and save yourself a packet on energy bills. You can even find out if you’re eligible for a grant to insulate your home which could save you as much as £670 a year.

It might also be a good idea to think about getting a water meter, especially if you live on your own as it only charges you for what you use, so you could save a fortune. In most cases, local councils will be able to install one for you free of charge.

You might be concerned about doing something too radical. But remember, that even a little change can make a huge difference. Anything from using energy saving light bulbs to turning off the tap while you’re cleaning your teeth can help you save money on your utility bills.

For loads of inspiration have a look at 50 Ways to Save Money and the Planet and our Green Living section.

Oil-fuelled central heating

1.5 million houses in the UK use oil for central heating which means that that a winter of snow and sub-zero temperatures probably didn’t help your finances. And, while it may seem to be the least of your worries now, it’s a good idea to start thinking about your heating bills before winter hits again.

Don’t do it all on your own though, help is at hand with these two great websites: Boilerjuice and Fueloildirect

Both sites offer a free service which allows you to enter your postcode and then search all the suppliers in your area to come up with the cheapest quote. You can order online and because they buy directly through the supplier, you stand to save even more.

Boilerjuice groups orders in the same postcode area together so you can get a bulk discount, so get together with your local friends and neighbours, order at around the same time and you can all save loads!

Share the load

Living in the country can mean that you have to travel a fairly long distance to work each day and with unreliable public transport it probably means you have to drive quite a lot. We’re all feeling the pinch as petrol prices rocket, but it is particularly hard for those who live in the country.

Car pooling is a fantastic way to save money and the environment, plus it means you have a companion on your journey and you don’t have to drive as much.

If none of your friends or family go the same way as you then Liftshare.com is a great website where you can find yourself a car sharing buddy for free. For more information on car sharing and alternatives to owning a car, click here.

Grow your own

If you’ve got a bit of space in your garden then growing your own fruit and vegetables can really save you quite a bit of money. As well as that it’s also a really rewarding way to spend your time and can produced delicious results. Plus, we all know how much better home grown produce tastes compared to anything you can buy in the supermarket and it’s really easy to do!

Take a look at BBC Green which has some really helpful advice on how to get great results without too much hard work. There are some step by step guides on gardening, and growing your own food so you can learn how to create a successful, organic garden.

Check out Marshalls and Thompson & Morgan, two great websites to help you get started. Pick up seeds, get delicious recipes and get guides to growing the best fruit and veg.

Natural ingredients

Even if you’ve not got your vegetable garden going yet, you can still make all sorts of things from jams to cordials, with various fruit found in hedgerows and along footpaths. Blackberry season will soon be on its way, marking the end of summer and the beginning of winter. Go blackberry picking for tasty jams and pies, and why not try picking some sloe berries to make some delicious sloe gin, traditionally picked in late October or early November.

From the first signs of spring, through to late autumn, there are plenty of wild fruit and vegetables for you to pick, from elderberries to mushrooms. Take a look at the FSA website, for lots of information and ideas and check out the BBC Good Food homepage is full of fantastic recipes and tips.

Do a good deed

Free range eggs can be pretty pricey, and while it’s tempting to go for caged hens eggs, it’s also pretty unethical. So we’ve found a way where you can have delicious free range eggs and save a battery hen for just £3.

Get in touch with the British Hen Welfare Trust who can give you all the information about how to adopt a hen. Once you’ve bought your hen, the only expense will be to feed your birds and provide a run and hen house for them. This should just be a one-off purchase but it’s important to get it right, because foxes can be surprisingly cunning.

The British Hen Welfare Trust has a special page on caring for hens and will be able to give you loads of advice on how to care for them. After the initial few months, while they’re adjusting to their new home, you could be getting four or five eggs a day from ten hens.

For more information check out our article on keeping chickens, and take a look at the British Hen Welfare Trust website.


Make money

Grow and sell your own

If you’re growing enough fruit and vegetables for yourself, and you’ve got some left over, then selling them on is a great way to make a little extra cash, and stop all your delicious produce going to waste. Sell your extra fruit and veg from your driveway, or nip down to the local market and set up a stall there.

If you’ve got really green fingers then you could get ambitious and try and grow some specialist ‘deli-veg’ like asparagus, artichokes and spinach. With vegetables like these you can make even more money at a farmers market.

We’ve got our very own guide on how to make money selling cakes, jams and sweets. You could’ve made some amazing apple pies or perhaps some scrumptious strawberry jam, check our guide to find out how to make money from it!

Rent out your garden

Growing your own veg might just not be your cup of tea, but if you’ve got the space and the soil’s good then it seems a shame to let it go to waste. So you could consider renting some of your land out as allotments, so others can grow their fruit and veg.

It’s absolutely fine to let out privately owned land for allotment, and since there are always such huge waiting lists for plots, you could stand to make yourself some easy money pretty quickly.

To find out exactly how to start off, it’s a good idea to check out the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners who have loads of useful information and advice, and take a look at our article on hiring our your garden for allotments.

Keep bees

Our article on beekeeping has loads of great tips and advice on how to make money from the wax and honey that bees produce. Obviously you’ll need to have the space for hives but beekeeping doesn’t take up much time and as well as being able to sell the honey and wax, you’ll also have enough honey to last you all year.

This isn’t a job for those with allergies to bee stings, and it’s a good idea to check with any nearby neighbours, as you don’t want any accidents to happen.

Your home as a film set

You could make around £1,000 if your home’s used by a film crew for a day. You don’t have to be lord of a country mansion to make money either, although that does help! Series like Heartbeat often use quite ordinary farmhouses and cottages when filming, even Hollywood films will sometimes need a remote house in the countryside for a particular part of a script. Register for free with locations agencies and then sit back and wait for them to call!

Check out our full article on renting your home for a film set here, for all the ins and outs, pros and cons, and a full list of location agencies!


Useful links

  • Battery Hen Welfare Trust

For more great ideas on making and saving money in the country, or if you want to post any of your own, then share them on our facebook page:

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Jasmine Birtles

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

Jasmine Birtles

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