Rise above the doom and gloom of our economy and find ways to earn extra money - here are 12 top dosh tips to start off with:
1. Hire yourself out for a fiver: The site fivesquids.co.uk includes users offering to do anything, from writing a song to calling in sick on others’ behalf - all for a fiver.
2. Put your home on eBay: Not literally - just all that rubbish you don’t really need. I recently sold a cardboard box on eBay for £4. People will buy anything.
3. Get paid to fill in surveys: earnings range from pennies to as much as £100 for long polls. Sign up at valuedopinions.co.uk, YouGov.com, globaltestmarket.com or Panelbase.net.
4. Join focus groups: these usually pay between £30 and £50. Check out focus4people.com, indiefield.net, sarosresearch.com and www.claret-uk.com.
5. Start using a cashback card: If you’ve avoided credit card debt, sign up to a card from the likes of American Express or Capital One, which pay back up to five per cent of earnings.
6. Sell your photos: Have some nice shots lying around on your camera’s memory card? Upload your digital pictures to photo banks like istockphoto or Photobox and you’ll earn royalties for each one sold.
7. Claim back any money you’re due from the banks:
* Have you been a victim of missold Payment Protection Insurance or another financial product? Contact them to demand redress.
* Check whether you’ve forgotten about funds lying around in old bank accounts, premium bonds or investments pots. Visit mylostaccount.org.uk, a joint venture between the British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies Association and National Savings & Investments, and it will track down any missing money in any of 43 banks, 52 building societies or NS&I.
* Do the same for pensions: the Government offers a free pension-hunting service at thepensionservice.gov.uk. And for old unit trusts, visit investmentuk.org.
8. Sign up for some paid work projects: student-focused studentgems.com and, more general PeoplePerHour.com and Freelancer.com, together have thousands of projects listed. It’s free to join the site, then bid on work, although a fee is taken out of your total pay for each job.
9. Ask for a pay rise: If you don’t ask...
10. Rent out stuff in your house: free sites like rentnotbuy.com match up owners of unneeded items ranging from violins and shredders to dog crates, step ladders and sewing machines, with those who want to hire them.
11. Complain: Have a problem with your phone bills, bank account, or another service? Make your misery known 0 then demand compensation for your time. Many companies will pay compensation to those who have had to call their lines for complaints.
12. Rent out your driveway: with the help of a site like parkatmyhouse.com. Some users report earning hundreds of pounds a year - and it may boost your home’s security if it looks occupied too.