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How to maximise your income

Making the most of your money and knowing how to maximise your income is important whatever your situation. It doesn’t matter how much you earn or how much you spend.

So, what are the best ways to save money? Well, make sure you’re making the most of the money you are, or should be, getting already. You could be dealing with debts, thinking about retirement, trying to save for a house or would like to build up an emergency fund. It may seem difficult, but there are some simple ways to boost your income.

Once you’ve been through these steps, check out our advice on how to reduce your spending and get the lowdown on savings and insurance. 

Six steps to boost your income

1. Do a free benefits check

Are you getting all the benefits you’re entitled to? Use our free benefits calculator to see if there are any benefits you should be claiming.

The benefits checker has been updated in line with coronavirus measures. And, it’s especially important if your circumstances have recently changed as you may be missing out on payments.

2. Search for grants

Grant-giving funds, or you may know them as charitable funds, give financial help to people in need. Grants can help you maximise your income and can be given as money, products or services that don’t have to be paid back.

You may be eligible for a grant if you’re in financial need or on a low income, if you have a disability or illness – or depending on things like your age or where you live.

Turn2Us have a free grants checker tool that you can use to see if you, your partner or child is eligible for a grant.

Find out if you’re eligible for the government self-employed income support scheme if you’re self-employed and have been impacted by coronavirus. 

3. Help with school meals, uniform and activities

You may be able to get free school meals for your child if you receive certain benefits like child tax credits, income support or income-based jobseeker’s allowance. Apply for free school meals on the gov.uk website.

If you are on a low income, you should tell your local council as you may be able to get other help with school costs. They may be able to help with the cost of uniforms, learning a musical instrument or school trip. Find your local education authority contact on the gov.uk website too.

4. Check you’re being paid the right amount

If you are a worker aged 25 and over, you are legally entitled to at least the National Living Wage of £8.72 per hour. This will be different if you’re in your first year of an apprenticeship, though. 

Check you’re being paid the right amount – and that needs to be at least the national minimum wage. Have a look at your contract, payslip and bank account to make sure they match up. If you feel uncomfortable to talk to your employer about it, call Acas for confidential advice and support.

5. Secure and switch your bank account

Although it’s rare, banks can take money from your account to pay off your debts if you’ve fallen behind with payments. This is called the right to offset.

If your current account is with the same provider that you owe money to, then you should set up a new basic bank account. Once your bank is secure, our savings guide will help you to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your saving and help to protect you against income shocks.

As part of your budget, you’ll have reviewed your outgoings. Therefore, you’ll be in a good place to spot if you have enough in the bank to cover upcoming payments.

6. Ways to maximise your income and make more money

  • See if you can bring in a second income – side hustles help you to bring in extra money. So, think about freelance or self-employed work alongside your main employment. Roles can vary from professional services, private tutoring or providing a caring or cleaning service. Remember though, if you are bringing in a second income, you’ll need to declare it to HMRC.
  • Ask for overtime or a pay rise – it’s always worth asking your employer whether there are further potential earnings you can make. You won’t know if you don’t ask!
  • Sell unwanted items – have a good clear out once or twice a year and you might find a gem of an item (or two) that you can sell for some extra cash. You can sell your items on sites like Facebook, Gumtree and eBay or local car boot sales near you.
  • Rent out a room – the Government’s Rent a Room scheme lets you earn up to £7,500 a year (or £625 a month) tax-free by renting out a room in your house. Sites like Airbnb can advertise your room for free before taking a small commission after a booking is completed.

Need help managing your money? Use our online debt tool to find out your options

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