As the colder weather sets in, there’s the temptation to begin a hibernation process in your living room. It’s all well and good if you have a trust fund, but that’s not the case for most of us. Earning usually means leaving the house… unless you try one of our top tips to make cash in your living room and bedroom.
So – slippers on, kettle boiling. Let’s go:
1. Rent out a spare bedroom
Renting out a spare bedroom can make you up to £7,500 a year tax-free. According to the government’s Rent a Room Scheme you can let out as much of your home as you want. The only exemption is if you earn less than the threshold.
Depending on your space and preferences, you’ll need to decide what kind of housemate you’re after. Could you manage a permanent co-resident who freely uses common areas like the living room and kitchen? Or would you prefer short-term visitors who simply need a pillow to lay their heads on at the end of the day?
Advertising your room
cover the whole of the UK. They’re the perfect platforms for advertising your room for a lodger.
Airbnb currently dominates the global market for vacation rentals. It’s a good place to list your spare room for occasional holidaymakers.
Claiming expenses to save on tax
If you take hosting on Airbnb seriously, you could be looking at making more than the £7,500 tax threshold. You’ll then need to look at claiming some expenses to bring that income down.
Think about claiming things such as:
- accountants’ fees
- insurance covering the building and contents
- your utility bills (gas, water and electricity)
- maintenance and repairs – but not improvements
- council tax
- services you pay for, such as cleaning and gardening
- costs racked up by letting the property (think your telephone calls and advertising).
Do you prefer tourists or students?
Your location also determines the kind of people who may be interested in your accommodation.
If you’re close to a university, for example, you can expect lots of student applications. In a more central spot in close proximity to transport routes, you could target the tourist market.
Hosting foreign students is another avenue to explore. You could make even more money by potentially giving English tutorials to students staying in your home for a few weeks.
Other than this, you should consider a bunch of additional points. For more tips on:
- furnishing the room,
- insuring the contents,
- screening candidates based on references, and
- drafting a water-tight contract
2. Cash in your junk
We say this a lot but it really works: you can easily make money from your living room and bedroom by de-cluttering. Spend a few hours doing a good clear-out and sell the items you no longer want or need.
Our Clear Your Clutter campaign has oodles of ideas for making money from your junk.
It might not seem like you have anything worth selling. But just look around and ask yourself: what haven’t I picked up in years?
- Do you really want all the novels on your bookshelf?
- When did you last pick up that violin?
- And the dining set that has stayed in the Christmas drawer three years in a row?
- Not to mention the clothes occupying valuable wardrobe space and which haven’t seen the light of day in years.
That’s right: Someone will pay for your junk
When it comes to second-hand household goods, one man’s junk truly is another man’s treasure. You may even have collectables lying around that could be worth good cash.
Nope, we’re not talking silver candlesticks or Victorian carved furniture. Surprisingly, they’re worth very little at the moment. Instead, dig out the things that’ll bring in the bacon:
- plastic action figures
- first editions of popular books
- children’s toys and books
Not show-room condition? That’s okay
The good news is that the things you sell don’t even have to be in good condition. A really old, broken mobile phone, for example, could bring in a fiver or so. Go dig out your old phones from the back of your drawers and make cash.
Okay, now HOW to sell it
What you find to sell will largely determine how you sell your stuff. Hit the online markets first. Which do we recommend, you ask? Try:
- eBay: this online auction platform is the ideal place to sell unwanted bits and pieces. Even half-used bottles of perfume and partly-used cosmetics will sell! Check out our handy guide to selling things on eBay here.
- Gumtree, essentially an online classifieds site.
- Facebook Marketplace makes it easy to sell to your local network.
- Ziifit is great if you’re looking to get rid of games, CDs, DVDs and books. Available via its website or app, the free service scans bar codes on any book, CD, DVD, Blu-ray or game. It arranges and pays for the collection of any items, and pays customers within a few days of items being received.
Offline? try these:
If you prefer to conduct your sales offline, car boot sales are always a winner. There isn’t much you can’t sell at a car boot sale. Make sure you raid your wardrobe, cupboards, drawers, attic and shed to see what hidden gems you might have stashed away.
But if you find a rare item, consider an auction.
Getting auction action
Lastly, if you have rare or highly valuable items to sell, an auction might be the best channel – think antiques, jewellery or vintage items. Most auction houses have specialists on site that will provide free verbal valuations on your items and guide you through the process from beginning to sold.
3. Host a product party or pop-up event in your living room
The traditional ‘tupperware party’ has long since had a makeover. Today’s home selling events are the place to go for everything from vintage clothes to skincare. If you enjoy hosting people in your home, you can use your living room to invite friends and their friends round to try out various products.
Step 1: Social butterfly? Try this…
As a hostess, you won’t earn cash as such. But you’ll benefit from free products, discounts and special offers. A company consultant will facilitate proceedings, guiding everyone through what’s on offer and giving them the opportunity to purchase whatever tickles their fancy.
Step 2: Things go well, what’s next?
If things go well, you could become a consultant yourself and represent a company. This will:
- enable you to host parties
- put the commission earned from sales into your own pocket
- help you to earn money flexibly – you can choose how many parties to book, whenever you like.
Step 3: Things keep going well, what’s next?
The business will assign you a mentor and train you on everything there’s to know about the product you’re selling, as well as the company behind it.
Your training will be specific to the brand. For example, as a Body Shop At Home consultant you’ll be taught all the ethics that the products endorse. That’s fair trading, protecting the planet and anti-animal testing. Working for Ann Summers, you’ll learn to arrange party games so you can tailor the event to your customers.
Step 4: Like what you’re reading? Here’s what to do now
To get started as a hostess or consultant, you just need to fill in your details on the websites of the companies you’re keen to represent. They’ll get in touch to get you started.
- Read more about it: Find out more about the nitty gritty of how much you can potentially earn from using your living room this way, as well as some of the costs to bear in mind.
- Do it, just with your own home-made products: we also look at the idea of creating your own DIY product party if you make cosmetics yourself. Making beauty products at home is actually easier that it sounds.
Step 5: Maximise your living room’s earning potential
Of course, you don’t need to limit yourself to selling products. You could use your living room to host a pop-up vintage clothes market or – the latest thing in food – a themed supper club (you’ll need to use your kitchen and culinary prowess for this one). If you can picture yourself whipping up a gourmet meal to serve to a bunch of strangers, you could well start raking in gourmet cash. And perhaps even make a name for yourself in the home cheffing world too.
Love the idea of gourmet cash? While supper clubs can pop up and disappear without notice, visit the Supper Club Fan Group for a round-up of UK supper clubs to get a taste for what’s cooking in this arena.
4. Care for kids in your living room
Get paid to look after your own children
Are you home looking after your own kids during the day? Why not add a few more in and make six a party. If you’re confident your living room (and psyche!) can handle it, it could be a particularly good way of making money.
A childminder working full-time may earn between £10,000 and £18,000 a year. You could make more – childminders set their own fees. Depending on where you live and how much experience you have, you could charge from £3 to £10 an hour per child.
Pay levels are set locally rather than nationally. They depend on the number of children you look after, the setting in which you work and the number of hours you do. The better qualified you are, the more experience you get and the higher your level of responsibility. This also translates to a higher salary, of course.
Remember that as a childminder you’ll need to:
- make arrangements for paying your own tax
- sort out any insurance
- meet costs such as providing meals and buying toys and equipment.
5. Use your skills to provide a service
In the UK, you don’t need any formal qualifications to, say, teach yoga. Technically, anyone can open their living room doors and charge customers for a class. Without the right experience, we wouldn’t recommend it – and no, being able to do some downward dog poses does not classify as expertise! But if you’re skilled in a particular field – be it pilates, massage, still life painting or street dance, you could pass on your knowledge to others and make money in the process.
Clear the decks… of your living room
Step 1: Your living room will need to suit the purpose and be appropriately equipped. Before you set up shop go through the logistics of what is required. Need pole dancing poles? Or a pottery kiln? It’ll help you budget for the initial investment.
Step 2: Once you’ve worked out what your service offering will look like, advertise it. You could do a shout-out on Facebook or stick posters in your library. It’s best to target a local network who may not have found a provider in close proximity.
Or, just lease your lounge. If you don’t want to be involved in actually providing the service itself but have a space that could work well, consider renting it out to someone else. It’s an easy way to make some monthly dosh.
6. Rent your living room as a film set
Lights, camera, cash!
Location scouts look for all kinds of properties for photo shoots and film sets. They pay up to £2500 a day. You never know, your bedroom or living room may just have the look they’re after!
To get started, sign up with an agency such as:
Register your property with these sites and they’ll help provide you with work. You could also contact the BBC locations department or your local film commission directly to ask if they’d be interested in your home.
- Your chill pill. If your home is going to be used as a film set, you need a laid-back attitude. You could have a film crew of 30 to 40 people lugging around their equipment and it can be very intrusive – you may even need to move out for a while.
- Parking requirements. You’ll need to consider whether you have enough parking nearby to cater for the entire crew. Perhaps they’ll be interested in buying coffee from you?
- Your neighbours. Consider your neighbours to make sure they’ll be happy with the arrangement. Night shoots, for example, could mean the road is lit and noisy when they try to sleep. It might not impress the rest of the street. If such practical implications don’t phase you, it could be a great way to make extra cash and maybe even meet a celebrity or two.
7. Earn cash while you watch tv
Believe it or not, you can easily make money without moving from the sofa. Or almost.
Got pins? Knit for cash
No clue where to start? Fear not. We can help you learn everything you need to know, from how to cast on to where to find the cheapest wool. We’ll also show you how you can knit items to sell and how to teach others to knit.
You can earn as much as £12 an hour doing other people’s ironing. Sounds appealing?
For most of us, ironing is one of those horrible chores we avoid for as long as possible. If you’ve got a knack for it, though, there’s plenty of people out there willing to pay you to take that stack of creased shirts off their hands.
Make more money from watching TV
If you try out all of our ideas to make money from your bedroom or living room and have no luck (unlikely), just take a look down the back of your sofa. It’s never going to make you rich, but finding money you didn’t know you had can put you in the positive mindset you need to go out there and turn those rags to riches. Happy hunting!