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Work your spare room harder

Work your spare room harder
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Earning cash from your spare room !

What’s in your spare room? Is it an inviting space that gets used frequently by your favourite people – or it clogged with out-of-season clothes, stacks of magazines and broken appliances? If you don’t have many guests overnight, consider putting your spare room to work. Obviously, you’ll have to clear away the waiting-to-be-folded laundry, coursework files and sports equipment first – but extra cash is a great motivator for decluttering. Here are four ways your spare room could earn money for your family.

1.       Host foreign students

If you’d prefer to straight-up earn some money and you have a language school in your town then hosting language students is a good option. How much you can make depends on where you are in the country and what facilities you can offer. A room with an en suite bathroom, for example, may command a higher rate and you may be able to earn more by offering dinner and laundry. You can expect the language school to give you some support with practical details, such as working round cultural differences. Learn more about hosting students with Homestay .

2.       Get a lodger

A lodger is, quite simply, someone who rents accommodation in your house. The going rates for rooms vary depending on where you are and the facilities available. You can find lodgers by asking around – your friends are bound to know someone who knows someone. Or you can approach large local businesses, hospitals or universities. All of these are a good source of people who need reasonably-priced medium-term accommodation.

3.       Let to tourists

Do you live in a region popular with tourists or in a town that hosts a well-known festival? Consider letting your spare room to travellers visiting the area. Short-term rents (say a week or a fortnight) are more lucrative. There are many peer-to-peer letting sites aimed at tourists out there: Airbnb is one, and Wimdu is another. Guests and hosts review each other for everyone’s peace of mind.

4.       Home business

‘Side hustles’ are becoming more common among those who work full time, and they can be as simple as monetising a hobby or they can be a business idea that you hope to – one day in the not-too-distant-future – turn into your day job. It is possible to launch a business from your kitchen table, but it makes for a better work-life balance if you can shut the door on it when you are not ‘at work’, and it creates a more professional mindset, too. It may be worth claiming expenses relating to home office space against your tax bill.

Ready to give it a try?

No matter what route you decide to take, before you put your spare room to work, familiarise yourself with HMRC’s rules surrounding extra income. Bear in mind that there is a tax-free allowance on money made from your home (so, for example, if you are letting a room). Those of you who rent will need to discuss your plans with your landlord, letting agency or housing association. And those of you with a mortgage should check with your lender before proceeding. It can also have an impact on your insurance premiums.