CHRISTMAS is just around the corner, and preparing your finances for this festive season may feel quite daunting.
With energy bills and the cost of essentials skyrocketing, many households may find it difficult to balance their budgets.
But there are some savvy ways you can make some quick cash between now and December 25.
Here we've rounded up all the ways you can earn some money and add more to your Christmas shopping fund.
1. Claim tax back for working from home – up to £280
The Covid-19 pandemic meant working from home for a lot of people.
While you may have saved on travel and food costs, you can also claim a tax break from the government.
HMRC encouraged employees to claim working from home tax relief, to make up for higher electricity and internet bills that come with a home office.
The maximum you can claim is around £140 per tax year.
The rebate offer has been wound down, but if you haven't claimed yet you can still apply – and you can backdate the payment too.
You have until April 5, 2025, to make a backdated claim for the 2020/21 tax year and until April 5, 2026, to make one for 2021/22.
So if you worked from home in both of these periods, you could claim up to £280.
If you think you might be eligible for a claim, you can visit the government's website.
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Note, though, you cannot claim this relief if it is your choice to work from home.
2. Have a clear out – up to £1,000
Having a clear out could not only make space ahead of the big day but give you some extra cash too.
Selling unwanted items from around the house could easily make you more than £1,000, eBay expert Clare Seal said.
Laptops, pushchairs, musical instruments and even gardening tools can be sold.
You could go for a traditional car boot or jumble sale, or choose to list items online.
Local forums like Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace can help you find someone nearby and is free.
Selling sites like eBay and Depop for clothes will help you reach more potential buyers, but there are fees for using these platforms and you might have to post the items.
You can earn up to £1,000 a year from selling items without having to pay tax.
3. Flog your old phone – £200
You can dial up some extra cash by selling your old phone.
You could make up to £200 according to Mazuma Mobile.
It can depend on the make and the model as well as the condition the phone is in, so if you upgrade your phone often the more you could make.
A 64GB iPhone 8 Plus in good condition could be worth £200 and newer models even more.
Older models are worth less, but if you have more than one laying around it could easily add up.
You can sell your old phone online with the selling sites above, or use phone recycling websites.
Here are three things to watch out for when selling old gadgets online either way.
4. Find a simple side hustle – £150
Retired Church Minister Dawn Lacey now makes £800 a month after starting a side hustle selling beauty products online and in person.
In the last year she's increased her takings through her Temple Spa business from £50 to £800 a month.
But if you fancy yourself as a bit of a star, you could make up to £750 a day from working as an extra in adverts.
If you're an animal lovers- dog walkers can earn around £15 per hour.
There were a rush of people who added a pup to their family during the coronavirus lockdown, and that means more demand for dog walkers.
If animals are not your bag there are other options too for making a bit of cash on the side.
Lots of people don't have enough time to get everything done at Christmas – you could help them get shopping and complete other jobs.
Running errands for someone could pay £15 per hour through Task Rabbit, which links up people who need a job doing with others who can get them done.
Two hours a week of running errands or walking a dog could bring in £300 before Christmas day.
If you have a particular skill, like DIY or baking, you might be able to make more, while anyone with transport – a bike or car – could make some extra pounds doing deliveries for companies like Amazon, Deliveroo or Uber Eats.
5. Dig out spare cash – £100
Coronavirus has pushed us towards using cards more, and that means you might have cash left lying around the house.
It's worth digging through coats and bags you haven't used for a while to see what's hiding in the pockets, and even having a clean out of your wallet could turn up a note.
It's estimated that there's £155m of lose change down the back of everyone's sofa's – that's £5.77 each on average.
Meanwhile, we have leftover foreign currency hiding in our homes worth £97.74.
Don't forget to check your change for any rare coins which could be worth hundreds.
6. Married couples tax break – up to £1,220
Couples who are married or in a civil partnership, who can claim up to £1,220 in tax back.
The marriage tax allowance was introduced in 2015 yet around 2.4million couples are missing out on the help.
The maximum amount you can claim is £1,220, but exactly how much you will get depends on how long you have been married or in a civil partnership for.
The allowance applies to couples where one of you is a non-taxpayer (earning less than £12,500) and the other is a basic-rate taxpayer, meaning you earn less than £50,000 a year.
It allows you to transfer £1,250 of your personal allowance (the amount you can earn tax-free each tax year) between you to cut your yearly tax bill.
Once you've made a successful claim, HMRC will automatically lower the higher earner's tax bill for the next tax year.
You need to fill out a form on the Gov.uk website and you’ll need your national insurance numbers and a form of ID for the non-taxpayer.
7. Scrap your weekly takeaway – £100
Treat yourself to a takeaway each weekend and this could easily set you back £10 a pop, including delivery fees – or quadruple the price for a family of four.
Ditch this between now and Christmas and you're adding £100 to your Christmas savings pot.
Look up recipes for cheap "fakeaways" you can make from home to curb takeaway cravings.
8. Do a survey (or two) – £200
If you fancy earning a bit of cash in your lunch break, look into filling out surveys.
With sites such as Swagbucks, Toluna and i-Say, you can start earning cash with just a few clicks.
Surveys will be distributed to you depending on who you are, where you live, and what you’re into.
Typically, they will take between 10 and 15 minutes to complete.
If you qualify for surveys and check in regularly, you could make around £5 an hour.
With a bit of discipline, you could get close to earning £100 a month and with around 10 weeks to go until Christmas that could be double.
Payments are usually made via PayPal once you’ve reached a certain threshold, but check carefully, as this can vary from site to site.
As a general rule, steer clear of survey sites where you have to pay to be a member.
9. Go mystery shopping – up to £1,500
What could be better than being paid to shop for nothing?
Some brands pay you to shop free of charge, and you can even do it online in some cases.
MoneySavingExpert forum users have put together a comprehensive guide to how you can start mystery shopping.
You could make hundreds as well – we previously spoke to one dad who makes a whopping £1,500 a year from filling out online surveys and mystery shopping.
10. Get paid to watch TV – up to £70
Theviewers.co.uk puts together research panels for broadcasters and programme makers so that they can get feedback on TV programmes before they hit the box.
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You can either attend face-to-face research groups, fill in surveys online or do both.
You can earn between £40 and £70 for a discussion group and it's usually cash in hand.
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