When times get tough, few people recognise the opportunities they have in owning a home of their own. Whether you’re in a bind or just looking to increase your income, there are plenty of ways you can optimise your home and its features to earn a little extra. Take a look at your home and see if any of these top ideas could help you turn a fortune!
A relatively well-established scheme by the UK government to offer money in exchange for electricity generated from solar panels is worth taking advantage of, for a little spare cash coming in. Electricity built up by your panels can be sold to the National Grid – not for a huge amount of money, but it all adds up!
Many homes come with a designated parking space, but if you’re in the centre of a town or city you might not deem it necessary to own a car yourself. If that’s the case, consider renting your parking space out – your neighbours may need an extra space for a second car, or you might find people who drive in from out of town looking for somewhere close to their workplace. This can be quite a lucrative deal if you can strike one, as it doesn’t cost you anything to maintain!
If your home has unoccupied bedrooms, you could earn around £4,000-5,000 extra a year by getting a lodger in. Many keep themselves to themselves, but it’s up to you what the terms of their agreement are – some lodgers will cook for themselves, others will be happy to pay extra in return for meals to be included. Some may hide themselves away in their room, and others will integrate themselves into your family. It can be beneficial not just financially, but socially, too, as lodgers often build lasting relationships with their hosts, so make sure you meet all applicants before agreeing to anything!
If you’re really trying to bring the cost of your monthly bills down, then moving into a smaller home is an excellent way to do this – not only will you be spending less on energy bills, but you’ll release some equity to help pay off other debts or treat yourself to a larger budget for a while. If you don’t want to spent money doing up your home, contact a property-buying company – these will offer you a slightly lower rate than market value, but will guarantee you a sale, so you can get on with optimising your new home instead!
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While large-scale projects, such as installing a ground source heat pump or getting solar PV panels at Evo Energy will certainly make a big difference to your energy bills, there are a variety of less drastic measures that anyone can take to improve their home’s efficiency – often without spending any money.
First of all, every energy-saving light bulb you fit in your house can save you an average of £2.50 a year. Pair this with switching lights, mobile phone chargers, TVs and other electrical items off when they’re not in use, and you’re already well on the way to reducing your home’s carbon footprint.
When it gets chilly in the evening, the usual response is to turn the heating up – but there are quite a few things we can do first to make sure as much heat as possible is being kept in the house in the first place. Closing the curtains traps in a good bit of warmth, and if you detect any draughts coming from the doors and windows, use strips or excluders to block them out. This can save around £25 per year on heating.
The bathroom is another area where there’s money to be saved. Shower Smart devices can be found for free, and regulate the flow rate of your shower to cut down water and gas bills at the same time. A water-saving device, which are often provided free of charge from water companies, can also be added to your toilet cistern to reduce wastage even further.
If you’re lucky enough to have a vegetable patch in your garden, you’re already saving money and resources by growing some of your own food, so why not take the next step by making your own compost? Some local authorities will provide you with a compost bin free of charge, and they also work as handy waste dispensers than cut down on the amount of rubbish you send to landfill. It’s estimated that as much as 30 per cent of the UK’s household waste could be composted.
These are just a few of the ways you can improve your home’s energy efficiency at little or no cost to you – if you really want to keep track of your progress, invest in an electricity monitor, which provides real-time information on your energy usage.