Easy ways you can make more money - and most can be done from home
FEW of us have escaped a cut in household income over the past few years. If you're lucky enough to have held on to your job, chances are you've seen your pay packet shrink - though the bills don't seem to.
One Irish mum has written a book on how she turned to prostitution to earn money during the recession. There's no need to go that far.
While you can earn up to €18,000 as a single person and €36,000 as a married couple without paying tax, you may still be liable for PRSI (not payable on income under €5,000 a year) and the Universal Social Charge (not payable where total income is less than €10,036 a year)
It's important that you register as self employed if you are providing services or goods for payment.
So, here are 10 ways you can legally earn that extra bit of money -- and keep your clothes on.
1Do you have experience in something you may only consider a hobby, but which you could charge others to learn? Piano playing, cake decorating, crafts, hairdressing, flower arranging, yoga? Give a tutorial for friends to get feedback and put up an ad for in-home classes, or contact local schools to see if you can start an evening class.
Check: If you need special insurance or equipment.
2If you have a garden and suitable house, why not offer to pet-sit for neighbours? Many people (me included) don't like putting their dogs in kennels and prefer a family environment. Weekends and summer holidays offer great business. Kennels charge about €15 a night -- offer to do it for a tenner or less.
Check: You'll need proper equipment/beds/bowls etc before you start and plenty of time.
3Are you a fast, reliable typist? Many offices have cut back on staff but need jobs done -- offer to collect paperwork in the morning, and drop back in the afternoon or come in and sort out their filing system.
Check: You'll be an 'expense' for the office, so you have to pay tax. VAT doesn't count for earnings under €37,500 p.a. Contact www.revenue.ie
4Love language? An interesting option is TEFL - teaching English as a foreign language. Courses start from €149 for 40 hours online tuition at www.teflireland.com -- a whole world could open up to you, or just some foreign students in your local library.
Check: What nationalities mostly live in your local area? Contact support groups.
5You can mind up to three children in your own home, including grandchildren and earn €15,000 a year tax-free. You must register with local authority childcare committee first.
Check: House insurance will be fine, but may not cover you for trips i.e. to local park etc.
6Are you a great home cook? Offer to make advance meals for busy couples or someone who's in hospital and can't cook for their family. Make casseroles and potpies for freezing and charge for ingredients and labour. Many people would be delighted to come home from a late shift and not have to start chopping and sautéing themselves or eating microwave meals.
Check: dietary restrictions and allergies before you start.
7Got a big garden? Everybody's into growing their own at the moment, but if you're not green fingered yourself, how about renting out an allotment space? Take your fee in cash or veg!
Check: soil type, sunny spots and don't have pets!
8So many people are trying unsuccessfully to sell houses and flats at the moment. They need to stand out. Have you been complimented on your interior design? Contact estate agents and offer to "stage" sellers' houses for a small fee. Borrow paintings from the library, invest in throws, cushions and candles - rent them and your skill out, for viewings. It might make the difference between your client's house and the one next door.
Check: Make sure to take photos of your work - it will get more business.
9Under the Rent-a-Room scheme you can let rooms in your house and earn up to €10,000 a year tax free. Adult kids don't count! You don't have to register as a landlord, or provide a rent book either. Include laundry and cooking and charge for them.
Check: Set ground rules with your tenant on use of common rooms, how rent is paid, visitors etc. first.
10If you live in the city, or near offices, hospitals or sporting venues, rent out your driveway for parking. You can earn between €60-€120 a month and commuters will be delighted!
Check: register with www.parkatmyhouse.com to get contacts.