5 money-making ideas

Fancy making some dosh but not quite ready for the nine-to-five? Try these money-earners that you can fit around tot time and will help pay for essentials…

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  • Party plan

    Best for:


    Get-up-and-go sociable mums


    What does it pay?


    Around £40-£60 profit per party or event


    Think of party planning and you probably remember your mum coming home with a new set of Tupperware. But the idea of holding an evening where your friends (and their friends) can buy something and you can make money is still in vogue. These days it’s known in the industry as party plan, but the idea’s the same – you hold parties, coffee mornings and other events where you sell a product. You then make a commission on what you sell, plus other bonuses depending on the company you’re with.

    Sharon Pavey, who runs www.partyplantogether.co.uk explains, “Party plan is best suited to sociable get-up-and-go mums who need to earn extra cash, but would like to do it on their terms. You choose your hours, and can select a product which interests you, from children’s toys, jewellery, books or cosmetics.”

    Bear in mind that you’ll need to spend a little bit on stock before you can hold a party. But there are lots of companies that offer mum-friendly products, such as Tish Tash Toys, Phoenix Trading Cards and Usborne Books. Or try Virgin Vie for jewellery and Pampered Chef for cookware.

  • Mystery shopping

    Best for:


    Mummies who lunch


    What does it pay?


    £10-£15 per review


    The idea of mystery shopping is that you visit a local shop, health club or restaurant, usually not too far from home, and pose as a customer, asking questions or pretending to be interested in a particular service. It’s a bit like being an investigative consumer reporter. When you get back home you then have to fill in a survey – either online, on the phone or on paper – about your experience. You can pick and choose which ones you decide to do, but they can be fairly time consuming. “Receipts are usually paid promptly and assignments can pay between £5-£50,” says Becky Goddard-Hill, author of How to Afford Time Off with Your Baby. “There is no cost to register and you may get some fun assignments!” Plus you get to try a new experience for free. For more info, visit www.retaileyes.co.uk, www.mystery-shoppers.co.uk or www.grassrootsmysteryshopping.com.

  • Dog walking or pet minding

    Best for:


    Outdoorsy mums


    What does it pay?


    £15-£20 per hour


    Obviously you have to like pets, but if you do, and you don’t mind cleaning up dog 
poo, then walking dogs, feeding someone else’s cat, or looking after small pets or even dogs in your own home, is an incredibly easy way to earn money. You can set up yourself, or join an agency, who’ll expect you to sign an agreement with them. Simply do an internet search for ‘dog walking’ to find agencies in your area, or alternatively you can look in your local newspaper. “If you want to start up on your own, try putting cards 
up at your local pet shop, vets, and dog groomers, as well as supermarkets and post offices,” says Becky Goddard-Hill. “Remember, never leave any child unattended around a pet, and keep your child safe at all times.”

  • Online surveys and market research

    Best for:

    Outspoken mums


    What does it pay?


    £1.50 per survey, around £20-£25 for an evening market research session

    Online surveys and market research are, essentially, you getting paid to have an opinion! When companies are thinking about releasing or creating a new product, they often turn to the public for help. That’s where you come in – they want to know what you think, and will pay you for your answers. They get your views online or at group sessions.

    “Lots of schemes promise good returns but some are better than others,” says Becky Goddard-Hill. “Recommended is www.sarosresearch.com, where you register to do market research groups locally, and uk.lightspeedpanel.com where you’re paid to give an opinion online. Payment varies and you do have to fill in a fair few to earn a decent wage but at least you can do it in your PJs at 3am when your baby’s asleep!” With market research sessions you will need to travel to them, but they can be fun and you might make some new mates.

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  • Blogging

    Best for:


    Thinky creative mums


    What does it pay?


     £20-£80 per post plus freebies


    A mummy blog is basically an online diary of experiences, thoughts, tips and ideas and is a growing internet trend in the UK. You can set up a blog for free and write it at any time of the day. The money making comes in when you get sponsorship or carry ads. Bloggers can also attract PR and marketing companies who give them freebies (ranging from baby essentials, vacuum cleaners and mobile phones to holidays) in exchange for writing about their products.

    First, you need to use a blogging platform like www.blogger.com or www.wordpress.com to create your blog. Once you’ve signed up, you need to think about a name – something that captures your personality – and then you can just start posting! There are no rules about what you can write about (as long as it isn’t libellous), or how often you have to post new content. It’s all about how you feel, and what works for you.

  • Mums’ stories

    “I’m open to ideas”


    “When we had Oli we decided to become a one income family so I could be with him full-time. So far I’ve tried a few things, including some mystery shopping for a shoe shop and sandwich chain, and some online surveys. The most I’ve earned is £50 but every little helps.”

    Emma Sheppard, 21, from Worcestershire, mum to Oli, 21 months


    “It pays the groceries”


    “I’d started mummy blogging as a hobby, but recently I’ve started to make money from carrying adverts. It’s not a huge amount but it’s enough to buy groceries. Generally I write at nap times leaving me plenty of time to be with my daughter.”

    Carol Smith, 29, from Lincolnshire, mum to Megan, 16 months. She blogs at 
www.mummynew.blogspot.com

  • The golden rules

    • Always ask lots of questions. If you have any doubts about it, don’t sign up.
    • Don’t plough money into something that isn’t well established.
    • Always avoid pyramid ‘gifting’ schemes, which involve parting with sums of money up front. They are illegal in the UK.
    • Keep a detailed note of your earnings. If you earn more than £6,475 in one tax year, you need to let the tax office know.

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