How to earn your own Christmas bonus
Sell some of your old stuff
Instead of leaving the stuff you never use lying around your home, why not sell it and make a bit of extra cash? You could try online (eBay, Play.com, Amazon, etc.), a high street trade-in shop such as Cash Convertors or CEX, advertising in your local classifieds magazine or a good old-fashioned car boot sale.
To be successful you'll need to arrive early to bag a good spot. And you'll make more money if you're selling good-quality items which are laid out clearly and well presented.
Make sure you organise everything the night before, including a float and plastic bags for shoppers. Pre-price your goods, but be flexible with hagglers.
Earn £100 by switching bank account
You can now switch current account in just seven days. This is great news as it means you can take advantage of either First Direct or Halifax's £100 switching incentives for new customers.
First Direct's 1st account offers award-winning customer service, and they're so convinced that you'll stay that you'll pay you £100 again if you close your account between 6-12 months after you open it.
Note that the account is free so long as you pay in at least £750 a month.
Meanwhile, Halifax's Reward Current Account will pay you a fiver a month every month you pay in at least £750, stay in credit and pay out at least two direct debits. You can also earn cashback when you shop via the bank's Cashback Extra offers using your debit card.
If you won't pay in £750, you can still trouser £100 by switching to a Halifax current account.
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Earn cashback on your shopping – twice!
If you're happy spending on your credit card and paying off your balance in full each month, why not take advantage of a cashback credit card?
Top offers right now include the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday credit card, which pays 5% cashback on all purchases in the first three months, up to a limit of £100 cashback.
After that you'll enjoy tiered rates of up to 1.25% cashback, depending on how much you spend. You get 0.5% if you spend up to £3,500, 1% when you spend £3,500 to £7,500 and 1.25% if you spend over £7,500. It has a representative APR of 19.9%
American Express has another cashback card worth a look, the Platinum Cashback card, which has a higher cashback cap in the first three months of £125 and pays a flat rate of 1.25% thereafter. The rate doubles to 2.5% in your anniversary month each year too. However, there is a £25 annual fee to consider. It has a representative APR of 18.7%.
Then there's the Santander 123 credit card. Again this one has an annual fee, though the £24 charge is scrapped for the first year if you have a 123 current account too. The 123 credit card pays up to 3% cashback, depending on where you do your spending. You get 3% at petrol stations and on National Rail and Transport for London, 2% at all major department stores and 1% at all major supermarkets. It's also paying 1% cashback on all purchases at Amazon this Christmas with no cap on how much you can earn. It has a representative APR of 22.8%.
If your credit rating isn't great, you could still earn cashback with the Luma Cashback card for Poor Credit. However, this only pays 4% cashback on fuel and supermarket spending, and nowhere else, up to a maximum of £9 cashback a month (so £225-worth of spending). This card also comes with a huge APR of 35.9%, so make sure you pay the balance off in full each month.
And if you shop at Asda, the Asda Money credit card pays 1% cashback on your Asda shopping and fuel, and 0.5% elsewhere. The representative APR is 14.9%.
Once you've got your cashback card, you can earn even more cashback by shopping via cashback websites such as Quidco and Top Cashback.
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Boost your loyalty points
If you've got a Tesco Clubcard or Nectar card then you can boost your points and use them to pay for presents or shopping by taking out a rewards credit card. Just make sure you pay off your balance in full.
If you are a keen Tesco shopper, the Tesco Clubcard for Purchases credit card might be right up your aisle. It allows you to collect Clubcard points as you spend, so for every £4 you spend anywhere in the world, you'll collect one Clubcard point.
But it doesn't end there – your credit card also doubles as a standard Clubcard so you'll collect points on your Tesco purchases too. At the moment you can earn five points for every £4 you spend at Tesco and on Tesco fuel.
If you shop at Sainsbury's, however, you may want to take a look at the Sainsbury's Nectar credit card instead.
It currently offers ten Nectar points for every £1 you spend in Sainsbury's, up to a maximum spend of £1,000 a month (so you can earn a maximum of 10,000 points a month), providing you use it in conjunction with your Nectar card. You can also earn eight points for every £1 you spend on fuel, plus an extra point per litre. After that initial period, you'll earn four points for every £1 you spend in Sainsbury's and two points for every £1 you spend on fuel and one point per litre. The representative APR, as the name suggests, is a low 7.8%.
Meanwhile, the American Express Nectar credit card is currently offering 20,000 Nectar points as a welcome bonus when you spend £2,000 in the first three months. You can then earn four points for every £1 you spend at Nectar partners including Sainsbury's, BP and Homebase. You get two Nectar points for virtually every £1 you spend elsewhere. However, it does charge an annual fee of £25, meaning it has a representative APR of 25%.
There's also the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card. This card gives you roughly one Membership Reward point for every pound you spend. You can spend these on flights, hotels, shopping gift cards, and luxury items. Apply now and you'll receive 20,000 points if you spend £2,000 in the first three months. This would earn you a £100 M&S giftcard, for example.
You can currently earn double points on all major supermarket and petrol spending during your first year. However, while Amex is currently waiving the £125 annual membership fee, it will be charged if you don't cancel the card after a year. You should also note that as this is a charge card, not a credit card, you HAVE to pay off your balance in full each month.
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