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12 easy ways to give yourself a Christmas bonus in 2017

Which? highlights the simple tricks to earn extra cash and vouchers

12 easy ways to give yourself a Christmas bonus in 2017

Not sure if you’re getting a Christmas bonus this year? Don’t despair – we’ve rounded up 12 ways to give yourself a financial boost this festive season. 

From switching bank accounts to using cashback websites, you have plenty of options for padding out your bank account ahead of the holidays.

Which? suggests 12 ways you can earn some extra cash or vouchers to treat yourself this year.

1. Get paid to search

Qmee is a company that pays you when you search online.

It works through a browser extension that pops up with a set of results each time you use an engine like Google or Amazon.

Qmee results will appear alongside your normal results in a side bar. It shows you available discounts and, in some cases, will offer a cash reward for clicking on links.

You’re not required to buy anything to earn cash and there’s no minimum cash out amount. Using Qmee also won’t impact on your search results.

But Qmee will monitor your use to ensure you are searching normally – so trying to game the system by running back-to-back searches is unlikely to pay off.

Qmee paid search results mountain bike
Qmee paid search results for a mountain bike

2. Swap old clothes for vouchers

H&M will give you a £5 voucher – which can be used on purchases over £25 in store and online – for unwanted clothing or textiles you hand in at its stores through its garment collecting initiative.

The clothes you bring in can be any brand. It doesn’t matter what condition they’re in but the donation should fill a supermarket carrier bag.

Marks & Spencer run a similar scheme called ‘Shwopping’ and there are two ways you can benefit.

You can fill up a bag with any old clothes and textiles, drop it off at an M&S store and pick up 50 points on your Sparks loyalty card.

Alternatively, you can take your donation – which must include a piece of M&S clothing – to Oxfam and get a £5 M&S voucher, which can be used when you spend at least £35 on clothing, home and beauty products.

3. Clear out your junk drawer

There are loads of websites that can help you quickly recycle your old stuff and raise some extra cash over the festive season.

Sites like Envirophone or Mazuma Mobile will pay you for the unusued mobile phones.

For things you don’t want anymore – including books, DVDs, CDs, games and other electronics like tablets – Music MagpieZapper and CEX are easy to use.

You can even recycle LEGO with sites like Zapper and MusicMagpie.

4. Unlock loyalty card rewards

It’s easy to sign up to loyalty cards and forget about the rewards you’ve built up.

So check out the points you’ve managed to accrue on all the schemes you’re a part of and go treat yourself!

Right now, Nectar cardholders can double their rewards through the Sainsbury’s Nectar Rewards Christmas Double Up event.

The promotion allows cardholders to swap Nectar points for a voucher worth double the value to spend in certain Sainsbury’s departments until 21 November.

Nectar points balance Normal value Double up value
1,000 £5 £10
2,000 £10 £20
3,000 £15 £30
4,000 £20 £40 

You can find out more about the scheme on the Sainsbury’s website.

5. Switch bank account

If you aren’t happy with your current account provider, there are plenty of banks that will offer you a cash bonus to switch.

Halifax will pay £75 to new customers, First Direct offers a £100 bonus, M&S Bank has a £125 gift card incentive and HSBC will give you £150 to switch.

Just remember you will have to do a full switch rather than a partial switch to benefit.

6. Refer a friend

Firms know the value of word of mouth and are willing to pay cash for recommendations of their products and services.

Take Nationwide for instance. Members – which include mortgage, savings account or current account holders – can earn £100 for referring a friend to its range of current accounts.

Nationwide is willing to pay up to £500 per tax year for each new member you refer, meaning you can earn a decent amount if you can convince five people.

If you’re not a Nationwide customer, you may find opportunities to refer a friend using a website called Refer Me Happy. It’s currently listing offers for RAC, Made.com, Sky and more.

7. Activate debit card cashback

Lots of banks and building societies now offer tailored cashback schemes that pay up to 15% when you spend with your debit card in-store and online.

Santander’s is called Retailer Offers, Halifax offers Cashback Extras, Lloyds Bank has Everyday Offers while Nationwide has Simply Rewards. HSBC and First Direct have also recently jumped on the bandwagon with Visa Offers.

The cashback opportunities are tailored to your spending habits but you will need to activate them.

You can do this through your online banking or mobile banking app. Once you’ve selected the offers you want, you just need to spend on your linked card to earn money.

8. Shop online with a cashback website

If you’re planning to do a chunk of your Christmas shopping online, make sure to use links from cashback websites like TopCashback or Quidco before heading to the checkout.

These free websites allow you to earn a slice back on what you spend by shopping through tracked links for retailers.

Doing your online shopping using a cashback website is a good habit to develop. TopCashback claims a typical user racks up £356 a year!

The hardest part is remembering to go use a tracked link from a cashback site before making a purchase online.

To make it easier, both TopCashback and Quidco have a browser extension you can download that will alert you each time you’re on a site where you can earn cash back — so you’ll never miss out on an opportunity to make money.

Find out more about how to use cashback websites in our guide or get a quick refresher in our video.

9. Pay using a cashback credit card

At this time of year, it’s likely that you’ll be spending more than normal on things like presents, eating out and travel.

According to research from discount website VoucherCodes, a typical household spent a whopping £780 last year on gifts, food, drink and decorations alone.

You can earn some money back by using a cashback credit card for purchases you were already planning to make.

The latest edition of the Which? Money magazine found the most generous cashback credit card can earn you over £160 a year.

10. Cash in on your photos

You could make some quick cash selling your best snaps to stock image websites.

Shutterstock, Alamy and 123RF pay contributors a percentage when members download images they’ve taken.

Rates will vary but it might be worthwhile if you think you have an eye for photography.

11. Rent stuff you own

You can make some easy cash this Christmas by renting out the stuff you own.

Fat Lama is a website that allows you to lend items to people that might need them for short time. You’re able to set your own price – though Fat Lama takes a 15% cut if someone accepts your offer.

It’s free to list your stuff and the firm has an insurance policy for lenders that protects your items against loss, theft and damage.

So if you’ve got a decent stand mixer, guitar pedal, projector, bike or hedge trimmer gathering dust, put it to work and rent it out for the day!

12. Sell unused gift cards (or buy discounted ones)

Be honest: how many unused gift cards are you holding on to from last year? If they’re just going to waste, it may be worth selling them off.

Gift cards for high street retailers typically only last 12 to 24 months, so time may be running out.

Zapper buys unused vouchers and gift cards for around 24% below face value. They just need to be valid for at least three months from the time of trade.

Alternatively, if you’re planning to shop at a specific store, you could pick up a discounted gift card online. Online marketplaces like Zeek allow people to sell unwanted gift cards at a cut-rate price.

Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.

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