How to give yourself a pay rise

Wages aren't keeping up with inflation, but there are ways you can take matters into your hands and give yourself a pay rise.

Pay rises aren't keeping up with inflation, according to new research by Incomes Data Services. With inflation staying stubbornly high (it's currently 2.8%), things aren't likely to improve any time soon.

But if you can't get a good pay rise at work, you can give yourself a pay rise at home, just by taking a bit of time to look at your spending and around your home.

See how much you're spending
The first thing to look at is how much you're spending each month. Write down exactly much money is coming in and going out. Don't leave anything out – otherwise you won't know the full picture.
If you're spending more than you're earning, then you definitely need to take action.

Even if you're not, you can use our free, secure MoneyTrack budgeting tool to look at your spending for where you can make cutbacks.

Look for ways to cut back
When was the last time you shopped around for things like your car insurance, home insurance, gas and electricity and home phone and broadband?

You could be paying out much more than you need to. An hour or so using our comparison service could see you slash your household bills.

If you have a mortgage and you're paying your lender's Standard Variable Rate (SVR) you might be doing alright, thanks to record low interest rates. But there might be a cheaper deal on offer. Our mortgage comparison service has the latest rates. You can also get free, independent mortgage advice.

If you have credit card debts, can you move them to a 0% balance transfer credit card? Right now, the market-leading Barclaycard Platinum 26-Month card offers a 26-month introductory period to pay off what you owe. You'll need a good credit rating to be accepted for the card and you'll have to pay a balance transfer fee of 3.5% of the amount you're transferring (for example, £70 if you're transferring £2,000).

Are there any other smaller savings you can also make? These can be anything from driving a bit less, cancelling magazine subscriptions and giving up your daily coffee to buying fewer clothes and going out less.

All of this can add up to quite a bit more in your bank account at the end of the month.

Sell your old stuff
Do you have piles of CDs, games or DVDs gathering dust on your shelves? You could sell them and make a bit of quick cash. The rates offered on websites such as Music Magpie and Zapper usually aren't that great. You could also try local second-hand entertainment shops, or put them on eBay and Amazon Marketplace (bearing in mind you'll have to pay insertion and postage charges).

Selling old mobile phones is another way you can make a bit of cash. The comparison site Compare My Mobile lists prices from some of the most popular phone recycling sites. Or you can try the eBay route.

Earn free money
Cashback credit cards reward you for your spending with cold, hard cash. Depending on which card you choose and how much you spend, you could earn over £100 a year just by shopping. But make sure you don't spend more than you can afford to repay each month and pay off your balance in full. Read all about the latest top cards in The best cashback credit cards.

When you're shopping online, don't forget to take advantages of cashback websites, which pay you for shopping via them. Top Cashback and Quidco are the biggest and you can easily earn a couple of hundred pounds a year, depending on where you shop.

And you can also be paid for switching your bank account. Right now, First Direct and Halifax will pay you £100 apiece if you move your main bank account to them.

Make money from your home
If you have a spare room, you can rent it out tax-free using the Government's Rent A Room scheme, providing you don't make more than £4,250 in any one tax year.

If you fancy something less permanent, why not try the likes of Airbnb, which advertises rooms for short stays?

If you have parking space at your house and you live near a local amenity, such as a train or underground station, airport or football stadium, you could rent out your driveway.

Sites such as Parkatmyhouse and Parklet can advertise your space and deal with the admin for a monthly fee.

Claim all your benefits
If you're entitled to benefits such as Tax Credits, make sure you're claiming them. You can find out more on the GOV.UK website.

Similarly, if you have children, don't miss out on Child Benefit (currently paid to households where each parent earns less than £50,000 a year) and Child Tax Credits.

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