Christmas bonus looking unlikely this year? Not to worry – we’ve got eight ways to give your budget a boost this festive season.
From getting paid to recycle old John Lewis clothing to shopping on cashback websites there’s bound to be something you can do to give yourself a little treat. Here, Which? explains all the ways you can earn some extra cash or vouchers before the end of the year.
1. Use the American Express Shop Small scheme American Express has brought back its Shop Small scheme for another year. From now until 22 December, American Express card holders can get £5 cashback for every £10 they spend with participating small retailers, up to £50. You just need to enrol your card into the scheme online, or using the app, and the credit should appear on your billing statement within five days. Find out more: best and worst credit card providers 2. Swap old John Lewis clothes for cash or vouchers John Lewis has launched a trial ‘buy back’ scheme at its Oxford branch. It will accept all used womenswear and menswear brands stocked at John Lewis from the 20,000 local ‘my John Lewis’ members invited to take part. In return, the customers will receive £3 per item (up to a maximum of £9) on a gift card, which can then be spent in John Lewis or Waitrose. If you haven’t been invited to take part there are alternative schemes you can try. H&M will give you a £5 voucher for each unwanted bag of clothing or textiles you hand in at its stores through its garment collecting initiative. This can be used on purchases over £25 in store and online. Marks & Spencer offers ‘Shwopping’. This scheme allows you to fill up a bag with any old clothes and textiles, drop it off at an M&S store and pick up 50 points on your Sparks loyalty card. Alternatively, you can take your donation, which must include a piece of M&S clothing, to Oxfam and get a £5 M&S clothing and home voucher to spend in-store. 3. Get paid for Google searches You can turn searches for electric toothbrushes, laptops and more into money with Qmee. This works through a browser extension that pops up with a set of results each time you use a search engine like Google or Amazon. Qmee results will appear in a sidebar alongside your normal results. It shows you available discounts and, in some cases, will offer a cash reward for clicking on links. You’re not required to buy anything to earn cash and there’s no minimum cashout amount. 4. Visit Quidco or Topcashback before paying Cashback websites such as TopCashback, Quidco and newcomer My Money Pocket partner with retailers to offer you back a percentage of what you spend when you shop through tracked links. The hardest part is getting into the habit of remembering to head to a cashback website and use one of its tracked links to complete your purchase. If you really want to commit to never miss a deal, TopCashback and Quidco have web browser extensions you can install. These alert you each time you visit a retailer that offers cashback. Find out more: cashback websites explained 5. Turn on debit card cashback A growing number of banks and building societies offer tailored cashback schemes that pay up to 15% when you spend with your debit card in-store and online. Santander’s is called Retailer Offers, Halifax offers Cashback Extras, Lloyds Bank has Everyday Offers, while HSBC and First Direct have Visa Offers. Find out more: bank accounts that pay cashback 6. Recommend your bank Even though switching offers are getting rarer, you may be able to earn money by referring a friend. Nationwide will offer £100 for each friend or family member you recommend up to a maximum of £500 per tax year. Elsewhere, TSB will offer £75 per recommendation up to a maximum of £375 for getting friends and family to sign up. If you’re not a Nationwide or TSB customer, you may find opportunities to refer a friend using a website called Refer Me Happy. It’s currently listing offers for Graze, Sky and Virgin Media. Find out more: best and worst banks 7. Trade-in junk for cash There are loads of websites that can help you quickly recycle your old stuff and raise some extra cash over the festive season. Sites like Envirophone or Mazuma Mobile will pay you for old mobile phones, tablets and smartwatches. For items you can live without – including books, DVDs, CDs and games – Music Magpie, Zapper and CEX are simple and quick to use. You can even recycle Lego with sites like Zapper and MusicMagpie. 8. Rent out things you own Fat Lama is a website that allows you to rent out items to people who might need them for a short time. It’s free to list your stuff and the firm has an insurance policy for lenders that protects your items against loss, theft and damage. So if you’ve got a mixer, guitar, projector, bike or hedge trimmer gathering dust – put it to work and rent it out for the day.