Having a dry (wallet) January? Here's how to survive until payday
Ten ways to get your hands on some extra cash during the longest month of the year
If your wallet is getting dusty, bring someone on a tour or rent out your house. Photograph: Getty
January always feels like a threadbare month, not least in comparison with the excess of December. By the time the third week of January rolls around, it’s not unusual for our finances to teeter close to peril. Here’s how to get some quick money together to survive the longest month of the year.
1. Get fit for free
January adverts might hint that pricey gym memberships and gizmos are the best routes to wellness, but it can be done for the princely sum of zero.
It’s thought that about 82 per cent of folks who make New Year’s resolutions fall off the wagon by the end of January, meaning a new gym membership is money frittered away for many. A host of free smartphone apps (including 5k Runner, MyFitnessPal, Ease Into 5k, Ab Workout) should see you on the right track. YouTube is also a treasure trove of free, full-length workout videos (such as FitnessBlender’s channel).
There must be some manner of dodgy Christmas present you picked up that you’d gladly part with for a fee. If not, you’re either easily pleased or lying. A tip for new sellers: wait until the site has a ‘no insertion fees’ weekend, meaning you can list items for free. Also, the site is busiest and gets most traffic on Sunday evenings; be sure to list your item, along with a photo and concise description, for seven days on a Sunday. That way you get two weekends’ worth of traffic.
3. Try bartering
First things first: pinpoint your particular skill. Can you look after someone’s social networking accounts in exchange for services such as personal training or bookkeeping? Can you offer babysitting/dogsitting duties in lieu of a beauty treatment or haircut? Through websites like freetradeireland.ie or tradefirst.ie it’s possible to trade and barter services with others in your area.
4. Go to the blood bank
If you're in dire financial straits ahead of payday, a visit to the blood bank on D’Olier Street, Dublin 2 might get you over the line. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but for the grand sum of a pint of blood, you will be given juice, crisps, biscuits and tea to ensure your blood sugars don’t dip dramatically after a donation.
5. Sign up to Airbnb Experiences
Thanks to Airbnb’s latest feature, visitors pay good money to be shown the sights by a local. From music and crafts to food and comedy, there are many areas of expertise that can make you money.
The Photograph Dublin City tour, for instance, is €97 per person. This amounts to nice pocket money after Airbnb’s modest fee.
Kat Ryan and her partner Kevin run the Crafty Connoisseur Beer Walking Tour of Dublin, and a Brewing Beer and Pub Grub tour. “It’s quite a long application process, but once we got accepted, Airbnb rang us to say they were really interested in the tour,” says Kat. In the summer, the pair can do about two tours a week. “If we take 10 people on tour, we might make a couple of hundred euro,’ she says. “I think generally you have to be personable, but people are looking for an experience they wouldn’t normally have. If I was giving advice, I’d tell people to think about where their passions and areas of expertise lie.”
With certain websites, before 10am I’ll have made four or five times the hourly wage
6. Try your hand in the gig economy
Booterstown native Mark Manning has made a lucrative living out of voiceover work, and now voices everything from RTÉ documentaries to elearning materials and audiobooks. His work is mainly online and he cites fiverr.com as a particular outlet for those willing to put time in to building their business there.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say I’m making a living out of it,” he says. “At the very least, it pays the bills. On Fiverr, and similar sites like Fivesquid and Upworthy, everyone from designers and translators to SEO experts ply their trade and offer nixers.” Manning also found his Irish accent is helpful for booking work on American voiceover sites like Voices.com and Voices123.com. “The great thing is that if you do a great job, people will use you again and again,” he says. “It’s all about how cleverly you work the system – more often than not, before 10am I’ll have made four or five times the hourly wage.”
7. Switch service providers
Some experts say you can save around €300 a year if you switch to a better deal with another mobile-phone operator. The same goes for gas, electricity, broadband and insurance providers. Websites such as Switcher.ie have all the bargains and will help take the sting out of moving if you find a cheaper alternative.
8. Rent your car park space
If you live in Dublin and have a parking space you never use, you could be sitting on a small goldmine. Secure parking spaces in prime locations, such as the Georgian squares in Dublin 2 or 6, are attracting rents of €250-€300 per month, while even suburban parking slots close to the Luas or Dart can be great earners. Parking spaces in apartment developments in the inner suburbs are attracting rents of €120-€150. Farther out, spaces on the northside of the city cost €75-€120, and on the southside about €80-€120. Spaces are advertised on parkpnp.ie, and also daft.ie and donedeal.ie.
9. Host a supper club
Promoting supper clubs through her site, The Tiny Vegan Kitchen, teacher and artist Tanya O’Halloran often has dinner guests over to her Citywest apartment. With each diner paying around €25 for a four-course vegan meal (and bringing their own wine), Tanya seats 16 people around her dining table. Even after her outlays, Tanya still emerges with a few quid leftover which she donates to animal charities.
“There is always a real mix of people and it’s such a joy to see them laugh and get to know one another over a meal I have prepared,” she says. “I once had a couple travel all the way from Wexford to attend my supper club. That was pretty amazing. Interestingly, a lot of my guests aren’t vegan. They’re not even vegetarian. If, by eating my food, they decide to cut out or cut down on animal products then my night has been a true success.”
10. Rent your house out for the day
According to locations manager Mick Swan, who sources locations for commercials, there is an ongoing demand for all kinds of houses for shoots. “It’s a day’s work, two at the most,” he says. “The fee depends on the type of house being used. A small farmhouse in the country won’t make as much as a fabulous house in, say, Killiney.” People can expect to make up to €1,500 a day (the average fee is €1,000, and Swan stresses that every project and budget is different).
“We often make minor cosmetic changes to the room(s) we film in: change pictures on walls, swap out furniture, sometimes even request to paint walls. What is important is that all changes are requested and agreed with the house owner in advance and the house is left exactly as we find it,” he says. “There’s often a large crew on site on filming day – a minimum of 40 people – but it could be 80 people for a feature film, so the house has to be accessible to a lot of trucks. It’s not unusual for a crew to be there until 11 or 12 at night. We pay well, but we expect a lot of flexibility in return.”