Looking for a way to up your bank balance in the run-up to Christmas? These ideas will help…

Clear out new items

If you’ve got clothes in your wardrobe with the labels still on them or DVDs on the shelf still in their wrapping, now is the time to get rid.

Depending on how recently they were bought, you might be able to get a refund at the relevant shop, otherwise accept an exchange and use the balance to buy a Christmas present from your list.

Rent out your space

This is one that may be more relevant to the city dwellers, but if you’ve got a parking spot that you don’t use, make some money from it!

Parking spaces can be rented out just like spare rooms and it may well be worth putting up a sign or asking around your neighbours if you live in a very busy area. Otherwise, websites such as Park It At Mine and Your Parking Space can match owners with those that need the spot.

Sign up at your local supermarket

Taking on a weekend job might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it can make a lot of sense at Christmas.

Supermarkets inevitably advertise for extra staff to cope over the busy period and usually offer higher pay for evening and weekend shifts. Play your cards right and you might also be eligible for a staff discount, killing two birds with one stone!

Collect your change

In our experience, spare change goes the same way as Kirby grips and socks – into the ether of the home, never to be seen again.

Until now. Put by a couple of hours one Sunday afternoon and scour your house for coins – in coat pockets, at the bottom of handbags, down the side of the sofa – which can then be bagged up and taken to the bank. Every little helps!

Free your creative juices

Turn a crafty hobby or an innovative idea into cash by signing up to a website like Etsy to sell your wares. Don’t be shy about plugging your efforts on social media or in round-robin emails to friends, otherwise it could be a while before the profits start rolling in.

Test your health

Not one for those who hate hospitals or needles, but there is money to be made from health trials in the UK. As a willing participant, you could be asked to take a course of treatment or just attend a one-off session.

Visit the UK Clinical Trials Gateway website for a list of recruiting trials or more information.

Trade in your spares

Happily, you don’t need to get up at 5am and stand in the freezing cold next to your car boot to sell your unwanted stuff these days.

If you deem eBay too time-consuming, try a trade-in site. Amazon Trade-In encourages you to enter the details of your item before offering you a price, then you can post the goods for free.

Sell your story

If you’ve got a newsworthy anecdote – perhaps there was a drama in your family that you don’t mind chatting about or you’ve got some great pictures of a real life event – a magazine or newspaper may well be willing to part with some cash in return for the details.

Weeklies like Take a Break and Love It! will list contact details in their issues and often pay small amounts for interesting letters and pics.

Get paid per picture

If you love playing around with a camera and always get a good reaction from friends and family, why not see if you can drum up some extra cash by selling your photographs?

You can upload your digital photos to bank websites like iStockphoto and Photobox and earn royalties every time someone chooses to download one of your masterpieces.

Cram the competition entries

Ok, so this might not promise an instant cash injection but if you’re looking for presents to re-gift as Christmas goodies, entering online competitions is a good idea.

Most brands tend to run offers and competitions as a way of promoting their Christmas ranges, and it’s likely they’ll draw the prize winners before the big event, so if you’re a lucky winner you could pass the prize off as a present for a loved one!