60 second guide: how to get free moneyWhich? reveals 9 ways to boost your bank balance
01 March 2013
As times are tight it can be difficult to manage your budget - we reveal how to boost your bank balance with Which? Money experts' round-up of innovative ways to get free money.
While some ways to get 'free' money are widely known - such as the banks that pay you around £100 if you switch your bank account to them - there's often a limit to how many times you can take advantage. So the Which? Money team has sought out some more unusual ways to get free cash.
1. Scan your shopping
Get vouchers for scanning the barcodes of the products you buy and submitting receipts for market research. While membership of ShopandScan.com is by invitation only, you can ask to join at Volunteer4panels.com. If your application is not successful, you may be invited to join another panel.
Action point: Find out for a basket of branded goods this month, plus expert tips on how to get a good deal when grocery shopping online.
2. Cash in your printer ink cartridges
The next time your printer ink cartridge runs out, get paid to recycle it. Rewards can be as much as £5 per cartridge, depending on the type of cartridge. Some sites will require you to reach a certain threshold before payments are made. Try Therecyclingfactory.com, Cashforcartridges.co.uk, or Infotone.co.uk.
Action point: Find the best printer for you with the help of our reviews while you can also find out how branded printer ink cartridges compared to cheaper alternatives for price per print and quality.
3. Refer a friend
Many companies have recommend-a-friend schemes which can sometimes earn customers big bucks. Refermehappy.com collates these deals and acts as a social network, giving more people more opportunities to benefit from the rewards. But make sure services you recommend to friends are suitable first.
Action point: If you shop online, make sure you know about your consumer rights.
4. Get paid to play
Do you like playing games online? If so, sites such as Playandwin.com offer you the chance to win cash and prizes by entering prize draws using points and tokens you earn. If you prefer competitions, sign up to Myukcompetitions.co.uk, which emails a list of competitions that are free to enter on a weekly basis.
Action point: Before you log on to websites you don't normally use, make sure your computer's security software is up-to-date.
5. Click and cash in
If you're a regular online surfer, you could get paid to click on adverts, visit websites, and open emails. Websites such as Archerfish.co.uk, Mailpay.co.uk and Inboxpounds.co.uk offer you the chance to do just that. You'll have to reach a minimum payout threshold before you can reap the financial rewards.
Action point: Make sure you stay safe online by following our top tips.
6. Test products, earn pounds
If you're interested in testing new products before they are launched - from food to the latest technology - you can get paid for giving your opinion on them. Rewards come in the form of either a cash payment or gift vouchers, and you'll be told in advance how much you'll receive. To take part, sign up to Paidproducttesting.co.uk.
Action point: If you are on the lookout for a new laptop, want to buy a new TV, or need a new digital camera read our reviews before you buy to make sure you're getting the best product for your money.
7. Sell Sim cards
Mobile phone network- operator O2 is currently letting people order up to 500 pay-as-you-go Sim cards free of charge. You can distribute them however you like, and each time a Sim is topped up for the first time you earn £5 - that's a potential earning of £2,500. Visit O2startrader.co.uk for more information.
Action point: Our technology experts have tried and tested a wide range of mobile phones in our labs so read their reviews before you buy.
8. Turn clutter into cash
Turf out your draws and sell old phone handsets, iPods, cameras, CDs, DVDs, books, as well as clothing and more via a multitude of websites. You can also sell undamaged clothing for 60p per kilo at sites such as Clothesforcash.com and Returntoearn.co.uk, but check what items are accepted
Action point: Read more ideas about how to make money from your own home in our guide.
9. Shop and earn
Get money for buying products you were already going to purchase by going through cashback sites such as Topcashback.co.uk. Quidco.com has an app for iPhones, iPads and Android phones, which typically pays between 10p and 25p when you 'check in' at participating shops even if you don't buy anything.
Action point: Make the most of cashback sites and be aware of the problems to watch out for with our advice.