After the expense of December, it’s no surprise that many of us spend January trying to get our finances into shape. Traditionally this has involved examining expenditure and working out how we can cut back on everything from everyday essentials to luxury spending.
But the sharing economy gives us the chance not to spend less, but to earn more – often with very little effort.
By listing your house or flat, you can rent out a spare room or your whole home whenever suits you.
Alternatively, you can use these services to find holiday accommodation that is likely not only to be cheaper than a hotel, say, but will also give you the chance to “live like a local” in your chosen destination.
As well as rentals, Lovehomeswap allows you to swap property with other people for a week or two, so you holiday in their home while they stay in yours.
As a reader of this blog, there’s a good chance you are aware of the benefits of P2P lending platforms.
By bypassing the banks and using services such as Zopa, anyone with money to spare (£10 minimum) can lend it directly to other individuals or even to businesses through our friends over at FundingCircle and get a significantly higher rate of return as a result, although your capital is at risk.
Additionally, you can also save money by using services like TransferWise to cut out the hidden fees banks charge on foreign exchange and get more for your buck, pound, euro or even yen.
If you live in a town or city centre, or near an airport, railway station or even a hospital, you could earn extra cash by renting out your driveway to people looking for guaranteed and secure parking spaces.
Looking to do a bit of extra work in your spare time? The sharing economy has an app for that. A service like TaskRabbit can match you up with people who need a handyman to put up some shelves, for example, or someone looking for help moving house.
Register as a “Tasker” and undergo a short vetting process before you can start taking on jobs.
If you have your own car and would be happy to have some company on regular or long-distance trips, there is money to be made. Put details of your itinerary on Liftshare.com or BlaBlaCar.com and you could find a passenger to help you offset your fuel bill.
Arguably one of the pioneers of the sharing economy is eBay, and the start of the year is a good time to have a clear out and see if any of your old or unwanted items could be of use to someone else.
The sheer size of eBay means there is a buyer for pretty much anything these days: listing an item usually costs nothing so what have you got to lose?
The great thing about these sharing economy services is that you can take advantage of them on a regular basis. You may not earn a huge amount of extra cash as a one-off but if you embrace the sharing lifestyle and combine the earning potential across the platforms mentioned above, you can give your finances an important and permanent boost. That’s without even mentioning the referral bonuses that these platforms offer on top by getting your friends to sign up and try them out.