We could all do with a bit of help when it comes to the battle to make ends meet. Of course we can do our best to cut back on what we spend, but sometimes the only answer is to boost the cash we bring in. If you have a great deal of brass neck, now could be time for your 'dog art' business to take off. Otherwise, there are a host of handy websites which will help you make a few extra quid.
Let's start with the most obvious answer - selling your unwanted stuff. This can be anything from duplicate presents to clothes we have grown or shrunk out of. The biggest auction site is eBay.co.uk, which means you'll get a huge audience for your stuff. However, it's also worth considering specialists. This includes people like Amazon for your secondhand books, CDs and DVD and Preloved for things like clothes.
Once you have flogged your unwanted stuff, you need to consider what you can create. If you have any flair for craft or art, then it's well worth considering setting up an Etsy site. Two recent sites came from a woman who made her own wedding seating plan and after people admired it she started a business selling them. Another made a sock monkey for her baby daughter and after getting compliments in the street started a site selling them. It's really that easy - just be careful to price them so you can make money from them, and that you have time to complete all your orders.
There are a number of websites which enable you to make money from uploading photographs, but Shutterstock.com is reasonably straightforward. You need to ensure all photos you upload are yours and that anyone in them has signed a release. Then you simply submit them and when people upload and buy them they'll pay you between $0.25 to $28.00 a time. It doesn't sound like a lot, but if you take great photos of popular subjects, tag them correctly and get lucky, you could start making some serious money - although it's worth noting that you won't get any payment at all until you have amassed $75 on the site.
There are a growing number of freelancing websites, which let you advertise your services on the side as an expert - or apply for a couple of hours' work here or there. Some of these sites tend to be fairly techie, but they are continually expanding. You can create a profile and let people come to you, or contact people looking for expertise in your area. Just a quick glance will reveal that your skills are surprisingly in demand.
This isn't technically a way to earn extra cash, but it will get you something in return for your time. The idea is that you consider your skills and add them to a local skills bank - whether it's gardening, DIY, babysitting, dressmaking, speechwriting, book-keeping or anything else you have a flair for. People will then contact you, asking if you will swap some time for theirs. So, for example, you could bake a cake for someone and get some help on your tax return in exchange for it. Or you could iron a handful of shirts and get someone to mend your lawnmower. It could save you a fortune.