How to make extra money: Easy ways to earn income online

James McMath

3 May 2017

Updated: 19 Nov 2023

In this digital age, there are more ways to easily earn an income online. If you want to know how to make extra money from home in your own time, here are some suggestions.

1. Matched betting

We're obviously biased on this but by far the easiest way to make extra money is through matched betting.

Matched betting is not gambling - but it does involve bookmakers. The profits come from the free bets and other bonuses bookmakers give away to new customers and existing customers. The risk of losing money is neutralised by placing two opposite bets - to make sure your original stake is returned.

The popularity of matched betting has grown massively over the past few years and there are now several matched betting services that will show you how its done.

Profit Accumulator is the UK's leading matched betting service, with some 20,000 members who now now how to make extra money online with matched betting.

Matched betting is particularly popular with students and stay-at-home parents, but anyone can do it. It's possible to make a few hundred quid by spending just a few hours per week matched betting and many PA members make more than £1,000 - it really depends on how much time you can dedicated to it.

Pros: Big, sustainable returns
Cons: Monthly subscription required

2. Online surveys

Research companies are desperate for feedback from genuine humans and will pay for your opinions.

The income for each one varies and most are pretty low but, if you stick to it, the amounts can soon add up. Some will pay up to £3 per survey.

Some sites to try are: MySurvey, Opinion Outpost, IPSOS, YouGov and Valued Opinions.

Pros: Easy to do
Cons: Time-consuming and little reward

3. Help out on forums

Many companies like to keep staffing costs down by encouraging customers to help each other out.

One example is GiffGaff, the budget mobile network who have no call centre staff - customers help each other out using an online forum. Customers are encouraged to help their peers by responding to questions and queries. They are rewarded with up to £30 a month.

Customers are also encouraged to refer a friend to the network by sending out a sim card, which results in a £5 bonus to the sender if it is activated.

Pros: Simple if you know your stuff
Cons: Profits restricted

4. Refer a friend

The GiffGaff sim card incentive is an example of how to make extra money by referring a friend and schemes like these are very common.

Many online retailers will pay customers to recommend their service to a friend, usually in the form of a one-off payment.

Sky, Virgin Media, Nationwide, Three, TopCashback and Quidco all have refer-a-friend incentives.

Pros: Some incentives are high
Cons: You need a lot of friends

5. Review products online

Reviews from real people are worth a lot to most companies. It helps them look good on Google and enhances their reputation as a reputable source of whatever it is they offer.

For this reason, they will pay for your opinion on whatever it is they do. Whether it's offering your opinion on music with SliceThePie, or testing websites or apps with UserTesting, there's money to be made.

Pros: Easy and quite interesting
Cons: Small returns for your time

6. Make extra money with affiliate marketing

Companies will pay you to send customers their way. Ever wondered why some bloggers seem so dedicated?

Many of them have mastered the art of how to make money online through affiliate marketing. It's particularly prevalent in the gambling industry but many major retailers have affiliate schemes.

Even Profit Accumulator has an affiliate scheme.

Typically affiliates get paid a percentage of any money generated from traffic they send to a retailer or business.

You can set up an affiliate partnership with major brands using Awin. You don't even need a website - it's all done through tracking links or cookies, so referrals can be made via Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites.

Pros: Good earning potential
Cons: Very difficult without large amounts of traffic

7. Enter competitions

Do you feel lucky, punk? If so, then try your luck at winning competitions. You can decide whether to keep the goods or sell them online.

Aim for big-ticket items such as electronics, which have a higher resale value and try to target competitions that require a bit of effort - such as writing a short description of why you should win.

Hot UK Deals has a section dedicated to competitions, so keep an eye on there.

Pros: You can win some cool stuff and it costs nothing
Cons: You need to be very lucky

8. Buy and sell collectables

This is very much a long-term strategy but if you have the patience, buying stuff, hanging on to if for a while and then selling it can be very profitable.

Take Lego, for example. Sets tend to be released in batches and then discontinued after a short period of time. Lego Star Wars sets are particularly good to target as they tend to be made available to coincide with the release of the films and then get snapped up quickly.

Check out this SuperStar Destroyer on Amazon - up from £350 to more than £1,000.

Pros: A big yield from small investments
Cons: Very much a long-term strategy

9. Sell your stuff

If you're not in a position to invest in collectables, then have a think about stuff you already own that has value.

Selling unwanted books on Amazon is a good place to start, particularly if they're text books from a college or university course as these tend to hold their value.

Think about selling clothes on eBay or CDs, games or films on Music Magpie.

Pros: A good way to make space at home
Cons: You won't get much for your stuff