How To Survive A Recession - 12 Creative Ways To Make Money Online

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Halimah Omogiafo
Halimah Omogiafo
November 16, 2023
· 8 min read
Two cups of coffee on a table

I have compiled a list of twelve creative ways to make money online to survive a recession. These are not the type of ideas that will bring in huge sums of money. No. These are little things you can do every day to earn or save some money to survive a recession, unemployment or any other temporary financial setback.

If you have a stable job and earn about £100k a year, this list probably isn't for you. This list is for people who've been made redundant and need money to help them get by until they find a new job. It's for a mother who just had a baby, isn't working, and has a couple of hours to spare each day. It's for that person who is curious and wants to know how to make £5 today or £50 tomorrow. 

If this all makes sense, here are my top twelve ideas for making money online to survive a recession in 2020. Note that the examples I used here are specific to the UK, but the general ideas are applicable globally.

1. Online Surveys

Get paid to participate in research from universities and companies.

  1. Prolific - The pay is roughly about minimum wage. The more surveys you do, the more you'll earn. There's a Chrome extension that alerts you whenever a new survey is available. You'll need at least a fiver to cash-out, which is roughly three to six surveys.
  2. Qmee - Earn cash rewards for engaging with brands and for sharing your opinion by answering surveys. There's no minimum payout, and the money goes straight to PayPal.
  3. YouGov - Complete surveys to earn points. You can redeem your points for £50 cash.
  4. Google rewards - Complete short surveys and get rewarded with Google Play or PayPal credits. The payout is quite small, so most people use it to pay for things like magazine subscriptions and mobile games.
  5. PopulusLive: Earn money for completing surveys. The minimum payout is £50. Payments are made by bank transfer (BACS) or by cheque.

2. Cashback

Cashback is a service that lets you get money back on goods, services, and travel through exclusive partnerships with brands and leading retailers. For example, if you spent £50 at Tesco and got a 10% cashback, that's free £5 in your pocket. Here's how to get cashback:

  1. Banks - Some of the big banks offer cashback to their customers. Check your mobile app or online banking to see if your bank offers cashback. Here are a few popular ones: Barclays (up to 10% cashback), Lloyds (up to 15% cashback) and Santander (up to 15% cashback).
  2. Cashback Sites - These are independent companies that give you money back when you buy from one of their registered retailers or brands. The popular ones are Quidco, Shopmium, OhMyDosh, Swagbucks, and TopCashback.

3. Earn Rewards for your Data

With these services, you share some of your data like a scanned copy of your supermarket receipt to earn rewards. Here are some companies that offer these services:

  1. Airtime Rewards - This is great for people looking to reduce or offset their mobile phone bills. You need to link your card first, then each time you make a purchase at a registered retailer, you'll earn a reward. You can redeem this reward to your mobile bill. 
  2. Shoppix - Snap receipts and answer surveys to collect tokens. You can redeem tokens for cash via a PayPal account or vouchers of £5, £10 and £20.
  3. Huyu - Here, you scan supermarket receipts and answer surveys for rewards like shopping vouchers. The minimum payout is 500 points.

4. Referral Deals

Most tech companies will offer you money when you invite your friends to join their website or sign up for their app. Here are a few good ones:

  1. Look After My Bills - You and your friend each get a £20 voucher if your friend switches both gas and electricity through your referral link. You both get a £10 voucher if your friend switches electricity only.
  2. Bulb - You and your friend each get £50 when your friend switches their electricity and gas over to Bulb, or £25 if they just switch electricity or gas.
  3. Metro Bank - Refer your friend, and you both receive £50 after a successful switch. The offer runs until 11th December 2020.

5. Product Reviewer Jobs

You can earn some extra cash by reviewing products online and testing websites. For these types of jobs, expect to get paid between £8 and £20 for a task which might take you 20 to 25 minutes to complete. Most payments are via PayPal. Below are five websites for product reviews and testing:

  1. TestingTime - You can earn up to €50 per hour.
  2. Pingpong - Earn between €15 and €100 for each session. Payments are via Paypal or Transferwise.
  3. UsabilityHub/UserCrowd - Minimum payout is $10. 
  4. Intellizoom - Most studies take an average of 10-20 minutes. You can expect to make $2 - $10 per study on average.
  5. Userbrain - Receive new tests each week and get paid $3 per test.

6. Energy Auto-switching

This one saves you time and money. Auto-switching companies automatically switch your energy tariff to keep you on the best deal. It takes about two minutes to sign up, and it's completely free except you opt-in for a paid plan. Here are the ones we feature on Koody:

  1. Switchd - Depending on the size of your home, you could save £400+ a year.
  2. Look After My Bills - 99% of new members on credit meters find a saving straight away.

    You can learn more about automatic energy switching here.

7. Smart Savings

You will hardly make any new money from this idea. Instead, you'll save some of what you already have. Here's how to save smartly:

  1. Round Ups - Some apps like Plum and Moneybox help you save your spare change by rounding up your card transactions to the nearest pound and saving the difference (e.g., if you spend £2.30 on a snack, these apps save 70p for you). Over an extended period, this money adds up and could become quite valuable. Some banks also offer round ups. Check to see if your bank does. 
  2. Auto-saving - Automating your savings saves you time and reduces the temptation of spending above your budget. There are two ways you can automate your savings:
  • ~~Do it yourself - Set up a standing order to move money from your current account to your savings account every month. This is easy, and you can do it with your bank's mobile app or online banking.
  • ~~Use an auto-savings app - Some apps will automate your savings by moving money from your current account to an e-wallet regularly. These apps are useful if you want to reduce the temptation of dipping into your savings.

8. Bank Switching Deals

Many big banks will offer you money to move your current account over to them. I'm not a massive fan of bank switching deals because it can take several months to receive the bonus. But, if you're a patient person, you should check out the ones below:

1. Natwest Everyday Bank Account - £125 switching bonus (available to new and existing customers).

How it works

  • Pay in at least £1,500 by 15th January 2021. 
  • Log in to your mobile app or online banking by 15th January 2021.
  • Receive the £125 bonus by 12th February 2021.
  • Offer runs until 19th November 2020.

2. HSBC Advance - £125 bonus when you switch to HSBC + access to 2.75% Regular savings account.

How it works

  • Open the account as a new customer.
  • Use the Current Account Switch Service within 30 days to complete a full switch with at least two direct debits or standing orders.
  • The bonus will be paid within 30 days of the switch completing.
  • You will need to pay in £1,750 or more each month (you can always close the account once you've received the bonus).

3. RBS - £100 bonus when you switch to RBS

How it works

  • Pay in at least £1,500 by 30th December 2020.
  • Log in to your mobile app or online banking by 30th December 2020.
  • Receive your £100 bonus by 29th January 2021.
  • Offer runs until 19th November 2020.

4. Lloyds Bank - £100 when you switch to Lloyds bank.

How it works

  • Pay in at least £1,500 by 30th December 2020.
  • Log in to your mobile app or online banking by 30th December 2020.
  • Receive the £100 bonus ten working days after switching.
  • Offer runs until 9th November 2020.

5. Metro Bank - If you are an existing Metro bank customer, you can refer a friend, and you'll both receive £50 after your friend successfully switches to Metro. The offer runs until 11th December 2020.

9. Sell Old Stuff Online

Selling your old stuff online is one of the best ways to make money quickly. It is also pretty straightforward and effortless to implement. You can sell anything from used clothes to old gadgets. You also can list your products as 'collection only' so you don't have to bother about delivery and delivery costs. However, if you want to appeal to a broader audience, remember to factor in delivery costs. Here are a few places where you can sell things online:

  1. Facebook Marketplace
  2. Instagram
  3. eBay
  4. Etsy
  5. Amazon

10. Hobbies

Identify your hobby and find a way to make money from it. Here are a few popular hobbies and my suggestions on how to make money from them:

  1. Drawing/Painting - sell your art online.
  2. Handyman - list your services online.
  3. Gardening - sell the house plants online.
  4. Photography - sell your photos using image hosting services like SmugMug.
  5. Writing - start a blog.
  6. Cooking - start a youtube channel or an Instagram or TikTok account.

11. Employee Discounts

People often forget to take advantage of employee perks. Websites like Perks At Work and Perkbox offer discounts on several retailers and brands. Employee perks are company-specific, so if you and your partner don't work in a company that offers them, you won't be able to benefit from them. 

Combining employee perks with cashback offers can be quite powerful and can significantly reduce your bills. It is also worth adding that even if it's just your partner who has access to these discounts, you can also benefit from them.

12. Improve your Skills

If you've been made redundant, there's never been a better time to start improving your skills.

As you take advantage of some of the money-making ideas I listed above, try to dedicate some time each day to self-improvement. For example, you may have identified some jobs you would like to apply to or a way to make money from one of your hobbies. Whichever is the case, your odds of succeeding increases significantly when you take deliberate actions to improve your skills. 

I will close with one of my favourite quotes by best-selling author Hal Elrod. He wrote, "Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become."

I hope you enjoyed reading my 12 money-making ideas to survive a recession in the UK. Don't forget to leave your comments below!

Halimah Omogiafo

Halimah Omogiafo

I write about money, specifically saving and investing. Hit the subscribe button below to receive our monthly blog in your email! If you wish to speak to me directly, you can find me in the Koody Community.
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