Nationwide Building Society’s UK consumer confidence index plunged nine points to 53 in September – its lowest level in over a year – as consumers fretted over looming job losses and higher prices.
Jittery consumers are pulling in their purse-strings in this new age of austerity, but some entrepreneurial spirit could help you boost your bank balance – using what you already own. Here, we look at ways you can monetise spare space in your home and car:
RENT A ROOM
Anyone with a spare room can rent it out, either on a short- or long-term basis. Spareroom.co.uk helps to match spare bedrooms with permanent lodgers, and the average Londoner earns £6,968 a year through the site.
If you don’t fancy something so permanent, Crashpadder.com facilitates short stays from one night to three months, with average bookings lasting less than a week. Those keen to make a bit of extra spending money from an otherwise redundant bedroom rake in an average £3,495 a year, a figure that rises to £3,614 in London.
Crashpadder.com has 12,000 members in 100 countries, with 1,500 people joining in the last month alone. Hosts earn anything from £15 to £100 per night.
“Our average host is 38 and a professional,” says founder Stephen Rapoport. “Some have children at university or boarding school, so short stays are ideal. It’s also great fun. I host four or five times a month and really enjoy it.”
Gary Jones, a 56-year-old mining consultant, and his wife Joni live in the US and are renting out their London second home, a penthouse in Lambeth, through the site for £160 a night, with the help of a key-holding neighbour.
Thanks to the government’s Rent-a-Room scheme, you could keep all of your earnings. Anyone can make up to £4,250 a year by renting out their spare room without paying a penny of tax of it.
LET OUT YOUR DRIVEWAY
Parking spaces are a rare commodity, especially in central London.
According to ParkatmyHouse.co.uk, anyone with a driveway or garage in London can make up to £487 a year by unlocking the value of space that would otherwise be left to languish.
Other sites that offer similar services include Yourparkingspace.co.uk and Parklet.co.uk.
How about carpooling? GoCarShare.com earns £320 per empty car seat per year for its users, assuming that a third of miles covered have a paying passenger.
Up to 80 per cent of cars travelling to work during rush hours only have one driver, according to Shareacar.com. It has over 200,000 members and charges a £5 membership fee but claims to verify every member’s identity.
There are other car-share schemes out there too, including Nationalcarshare.co.uk, Rideshare.co.uk and Liftshare.com.
WhipCar.com, meanwhile, is a neighbour-to-neighbour car rental service that works by allowing motorists to register their cars for hire on the website. Members without cars can then search the list of available vehicles in their neighbourhood before booking them by the hour or day.