20 weird and wonderful ways to make money

posted by in Budgeting, Money maximising

Have you ever stood in the middle of your living room, your hands clinging to a pair of inside-out turned pockets, and exclaimed, “There’s GOT to be something I can do to make a quick couple of quid?” 

No? Just me? Alrighty then, moving on…

Believe it or not, there are so many ways you can boost your income. The problem is that many ideas simply sound too weird or wacky to ever be taken seriously. Never fear! Your friendly neighbourhood money geeks have managed to find 20 ideas that might just be crazy enough to work…

[July 2016 update: Yes, we’ve done it… 20 weird and wonderful ways to make money part two and part three!]

1. Trade in empty ink cartridges for cash

Ink cartridges
I’m no statistisst-isst-ician (yes, that’s a word) but I’m pretty confident that most homes in Britain have empty ink cartridges lying at the bottom of a drawer.

Instead of letting your ink cartridges languish away in the shadows send them to The Recycling Factory, who will pay you up to £4.10 per empty cartridge. Cash for Cartridges will pay as much as £4.50 a time. You could even have a cheeky rummage through your friend and family’s old printers when they’re not looking (just kidding…obviously).

2. Get paid for your holiday snapshots

Holiday snap

Stock photos can get samey, so businesses are always looking for brand new images to buy. Why not cash in?

You don’t have to be a camera wizard to take photos worth paying for. If you have some digital snaps with decent resolution, consider selling them to online agencies such as Fotolia and 123rf. Every time someone buys one of your pictures you’ll get a royalty fee, and the subject matter can cover anything you want (within reason).

3. Become a life model

Life model

You don’t need to have the body of an Adonis to become a work of art. Local colleges and universities constantly cry out for body types of all shapes, size and age as subject matter for their Da Vincis in the making. Some models earn around £10 per hour, and you may even be able to pick your favourite drawing to take home and keep!

4. Donate old clothes for cash

Pile of old clothes

Every year, tonnes of textiles are dumped in landfills. This is a crying shame because as much as 95% of the clothes we throw away could be used again.

H&M are now collecting clothes and textiles of any brand, in any quality and any condition. What’s more, they’ll give you a £5 voucher to spend in store for each bag of material that you donate (limit two bags per day). With summer on the horizon, get to bagging up your unwanted clothes now so you can trade it in for cooler clobber!

5. Sell your hair

Hair and scissors

Since the dawn of time, long hair has been a hallmark of a woman’s beauty (the occasional man too – romance novel model Fabio Lanzoni springs to mind). Hair extensions are more popular than ever, so if you have lovely long locks you can cash in!

Hop on Gumtree and you’ll find a plethora of ads from wigmakers willing to pay cold hard cash for your hair. It’s also worth contacting your local colleges and hair salons to see if they need ‘hair models’ to fine-tune their craft on.

6. Rent your back garden out to campers


If you live in a leafy or rural area and have a large back garden or patch of land here’s a clever way to make some quick cash while the sun’s shining: rent out your lawn to some happy campers!

AirBNB is an online hub that allows folks to list their back garden for camping. This is great news for holidaymakers wanting to set up camp for a relatively cheap price.

It’s free to list your garden as a potential camping spot, and you can even choose the amount you want to charge to campers (you pay 3% upon a successful booking), so everyone wins!

7. Flog it for a fiver


Ever wondered how you can make a quick few bob from your writing, acting or drawing skills? Maybe you’re a master photo retoucher or you’re happy to wear someone’s logo on your face for a day.

American site Fiverr.com lets you earn money by doing anything from writing a sweet ukelele jingle to creating a custom cartoon character. You can net $4 (roughly £2.50) each time you do one of a wide variety of small tasks. It won’t turn you into a millionaire overnight but it’s a great way to earn pennies in a pinch.

8. Get paid to buy booze

Get paid to buy alcohol

Got an 18-19 year old skulking around the house? Maybe you are that 18-19 year old, stuck indoors on a sunny day with no cash. If you’d sooner be down the pub with your mates, you can now get paid for it!

Serve Legal needs young folk to find out if pubs are serving people who could potentially be underage. It’s a paid gig and your drinks and travel costs are also covered. Find out how to apply.

9. Take some tourists sightseeing


You love where you live, and you love to show it off when far-off friends or family come to visit. You probably also hate falling into ‘tourist traps’ when you yourself go on holiday, so why not help others avoid them too?

Sign up to Vayable and put together a cheap and cheerful tour that visitors will love. You get to set your own rates for what each tourist will pay (Vayable take a 3% cut) while showing off what you believe are your hometown’s best features.

Get some punters through the doors of your favourite family-run pub, or take them to that little-known local pencil museum you’ve been meaning to check out (okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea). Who knows? You make some out-of-town friends who can give you a tour around their home town in return!

10. Earn clubcard points for empty cans

Empty cans

We found this great tip on MoneySavingExpert.com. Instead of putting your empty drinks cans out for the dustman, take them to Tesco and trade them in for Clubcard points. They’re worth 1p in store but up to four times as much if you redeem them on things such as days out or breakdown cover, so it’s really worth doing.

All you need to do is check that your local Tesco has a recycling service. Go to the Tesco store locator to find a Tesco near you. If it has a recycling logo under the store name, you’re sorted!

11. Sell your trees

Monkey puzzle tree

Yesterday, James told me that one of our debt advisors recently sold a monkey puzzle tree from her back garden on eBay.

Firstly, monkey puzzle trees are the weirdest looking trees ever*. Secondly, selling your unwanted shrubbery makes total sense. Trees take ages – sometimes half a century – to grow into anything remotely impressive. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

If you’re debating taking a hacksaw to your hawthorn, check first to see if someone’s willing to dig it up and cart it off for you. Better yet, they’ll pay you for the privilege.

(*MoneyAware does not share the opinions of the writer. We’re actually big fans of the majestic monkey puzzle tree.)

12. Refer a friend that’s perfect for the job

Job hunting

We all have that one fantastic friend who’s hardworking, loyal, and pretty much the bees knees, if only they could net the perfect job!

Should you have such a pal (or are that pal), then jobsearch site Refermehappy wants to hear from you. Join as either a ‘referrer’ or a ‘friend’ and you’ll get a referral bonus from the company should your friend get hired for a job you connect them up with.

13. Answer some bizarre text messages

Person texting

If you’re a bit of a texting fiend, then this tip is for you. ChaCha lets people text any question – no matter how random – and can get an answer back in minutes. If you reply to these questions, you get paid!

It couldn’t be simpler. Log in to ChaCha to answer questions ranging from ‘What Pokemon takes less steps to hatch?’ to ‘How do I make myself more attractive?’. Again, at 15p per question, it’s a ‘slow and steady wins the race’ way to boost your income but hey, who doesn’t like racking up some pennies on a lazy afternoon at home? Plus, it’s fun and educational – or funducational! (Sorry.)

14. Reclaim lost assets

Lost assets gold

Ever wondered if your eccentric great-uncle was really a famous explorer with a stash of pirate doubloons in his attic? No? Well maybe you should!

Up to £15 billion pounds of unclaimed financial assets are collecting dust right now in forgotten UK bank accounts, pensions, life assurance and investments – yet most are easy to reclaim. Whether the account’s yours or a deceased relative’s, it’s worth reading through this brilliant guide on MoneySavingExpert.com and finding out how to reclaim lost assets you may be entitled to.

15. Rent out your parking space

Parked car

Finding affordable parking can be a real pain in the neck. If you have a private parking space lying empty, it’s possible that some frustrated commuter would gladly pay to rent it off you.

JustPark and YourParkingSpace will let you list your parking space and set your price for free, taking a small cut from the rental fee you charge the person parking up.

Please note, some local councils view renting out your parking space as a ‘change of use’ to your property, and will expect a £385 planning application fee. You must make sure this fee doesn’t apply to you and if it does, a price check on parking sites in your area will show if it’s worth the hassle.

Read MoneySavingExpert’s.com’s dedicated Rent Your Parking Space guide for more information.

16. Try stuff out before it hits the shelves

Applying cosmetics

Granted this won’t earn you cash per se, but it does mean that you can stock up on some goodies that you potentially would have had to buy….which is kinda the same thing. Sort of. Maybe.

Set up a tester’s account on Toluna and they’ll send you all kinds of doodahs to try out from kids shampoos and herbal teas to lip liners and Spiderman stationary kits (nice). They also give out free vouchers for coffee shops, holidays, clothes and more.

17. Get paid to review music


If you fancy yourself a bit of a music buff, Slicethepie is a nice little earner that’s sure to hit all the right notes (again, sorry).

There’s a gazillion unsigned bands out there, and they need you to listen to and review their tracks. Initially you won’t make much, but writing trustworthy reviews will increase your scout rating, earning you more and more.

Interested? Read MoneyMagpie’s great guide on how to make money by listening to music to help you get started!

18. Become a hangover helper

Man with hangover

If you live in an area densely populated by students, you could clean up by becoming a ‘hangover helper’. Literally.

The idea was originally founded by two students in Colorado USA, and their clientele consists mainly of worse-for-wear students after a long night of partying. For a nominal fee, The Hangover Helpers bring their clients a hearty breakfast burrito, a sports drinks to replace fluids, and will give the place a good tidying while the students sleep off their woes. By the time the alcohol-afflicted roll out of bed, it’ll be like the party never happened.

19. Rent out your shed or garage

Rent your shed

Your lawnmower you haven’t touched since 2009, the Christmas tree, that box of LPs you’re definitely going to take down to the car boot sale one of these days…they’re lonely! Find them some new friends by renting out the available space in your garage or shed. Check out Share My Storage for more details.

20. Let your spare room to a student

Student reading

Foreign exchange students come to study in the UK for a whole host of reasons, and for varying degrees of time. Students learning English are usually only here for about six weeks, while university students and lecturers tend to stay for up to six months.

Letting a spare room out to a foreign exchange student is a pretty easy way to earn some regular cash. Throw in extras such as laundry, wifi and meals to bump up the rental fee.

Read this extensive guide on MoneyMagpie to find out more.
(DISCLAIMER: MoneyAware cannot in any way guarantee the success or safety implications of the above mentioned money-making tips. This article, while written with an intent to provide helpful ideas to increase income, is also written for entertainment purposes.

We strongly encourage clients and subscribers to declare all additional income to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Next article

Do you have any wacky money-making ideas to share? Maybe you’ve done one of the things on this list. Tell us about it in the comments!


Rachel Connor has been with the charity for over 8 years, starting in Helpline before joining the MoneyAware team in 2012. Rach enjoys travelling, video games, watching anime, reading and creative writing in her spare time (currently writing a Young Adult fantasy series). She had a previous life as head writer on Cartoon Network's Ed Edd n Eddy and as a copywriter for LivingSocial. She's also written comics and graphic novels for the animated series Regular Show.

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