Written  by Stephanie Phillips

“Whe ther it ’s through t aking par t in focus groups or comple ting m arke t research forms, there ’s alw ay s a w ay to m ake sure you don’t end up out of pocke t . ”

Winter brings with it lots of excitement: the glamorous parties, gifts to buy and trips to see family and friends. But these indulgences can also make this fun-filled season an expensive time of year too.

To help you manage the added expense without pulling your hair out, here we look at the best ways to make a little extra cash on the side. Whether it’s through taking part in focus groups or completing market research forms, there’s always a way to make sure you don’t end up out of pocket.

Try One-Off Jobs

One of the easiest ways to earn a little extra when you’re feeling strapped for cash is by putting the skills you already have to use. Websites like Fiverr, Gumtree and Upwork are all great places to find one-off jobs and advertise your skills at the same time. Whether you’re a designer, an expert in business management or known for your stellar relationship advice, sell your skills and you’ll get to reap the rewards. Literally.

Focus Groups

Every brand out there is trying to market goods to you, so much so that you can actually get paid just to tell them what you think. If you have a few hours to spare and an opinion to share, you could make £50-£75 per focus group – solely from discussing your thoughts on everything from smoking to teabags. Sign up to agencies like Take Part In Research to discover exciting new money-making opportunities.

Walking Dogs

If you love all things furry and adorable then this will probably become your favourite way to earn a few extra coins this year. Many dog owners simply don’t have an abundance of time to devote themselves to their dogs, so this will grant you the opportunity to spend some quality time with their furry friends. Thanks to apps such as DogBuddy and Holidog, you can link up with dog owners in your local area and make a little extra cash walking, feeding and spending time with these fluffy friends. It’s a win win!

Make Your Own Products

Do you have a hobby that could be earning you a bit of extra money? Whether it’s knitting, making your own outfits or crafting trinkets, there’s always a skill you can utilise. Turn your hobby into a mini business and sell your wares on sites like Etsy which cater to small handmade businesses. Send your friends and family a few samples of your products and get them to spread the word as well. Before you know it, you could be onto something special that completely changes your career path for the better.

Get Thrifty

Most people have far too much clutter in their lives. Whether it’s that unopened set of golf clubs lying around the house or an ugly jumper your mother-in-law decided to buy you last Christmas, it’s now possible to make money from absolutely anything. Start off by making a pile of everything you want to part with and anything you don’t use, then organise and sell your unwanted ‘stuff ’ on sites like Gumtree or eBay. Top tip: Look up the average price your item is selling for to make sure you get the best price.

These are just a few examples of the opportunities available from the comfort of your laptop. There are many more ways to line your pockets when you need to, all it takes is some time and effort. So remember to look out for any one-off jobs in your local area, and think about gigs that could potentially turn into a self-made business.