6 Sociable ways to earn extra cash

Andy Webb

Whatever age you choose to retire at, you might see two very different, but equally significant, losses. First, and most obvious, is a drop in income. If you’ve saved well, your pension will hopefully cover the essentials—if not more—but most will have far less spending power than before. The second, which is likely to be harder felt if you’re the only one at home in the day, are your colleagues. Sound familiar?

So what if I said there’s a way to boost both your income and meet people? From dog walking to focus groups, I’ve six sociable ways to earn some extra cash.

1. Walk a dog

If you’re fond of dogs, then you’ll love this chance to hang out with some pooches, and no doubt chat to other dog lovers in the park. Website Tailster acts as an in-between for you and the owner, even managing the payment process. You could earn between £8 and £15 an hour for walking, and that’s per dog. Plus you’ll be getting some exercise too!

2. Tutor a student

It helps if you’ve been a teacher as you’ll be better versed in the curriculum—useful for helping school kids ahead of exams—but there are plenty of people learning languages or taking vocational studies that you might be well equipped to teach. Again there are online agencies which can pair you with students, for a cut of the fee. You can choose to visit the student, have them come to you, or even do it online via video chat.

3. Be a film extra

Ever dreamed of seeing your face on the silver screen? Well you can use your spare time to get yourself in front of the camera, even if it’s just as “woman on bus”. You’ll need to sign up to agencies (Casting Collective seems to be well regarded), and if your face fits you could earn up to £100 a day.

4. Take part in market research

One of the ways brands determine if their product is working is through focus groups. Yes, you can get paid for talking! Selection will depend on whether you fit the target demographic but, if you do, payments can range from £30 to £200 for a few hours’ “work”. Saros and Research Opinions are among the agencies worth checking out.

5. Share a skill or sell your time

There are a lot of busy professionals who don’t have the time or the skills to do even ordinary jobs. So your years of home DIY or gardening will be very attractive to the time-poor people where you live. You can sign up to sites such as TaskRabbit where people list what they want done and you can then pitch for the work.

6. Be a mystery shopper

Not only can you get paid for this last task, you can get freebies such as meals too. Brands will pay you to test out the service you receive at their shops or restaurants, then report back on what you found. The amount you can earn per “mystery shop” won’t be huge, but expect around £5 to £15 per assignment. Use the Mystery Shopping Providers Association website to find accredited agencies.

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