Right now all we can do is cope as best we can with the Covid-19 situation.  If we look ahead to happier times when we can say that the virus has been defeated, how will we think about what has happened?  I suspect the words we will find ourselves repeating is "unprecedented" and we will remember the feeling of uncertainty.

"Uncertain" seems to apply to everything at the moment, from how long the virus will stay with us, to when we are likely to be able to return to normal, to the various recommendations on self-isolation, and so on. Also, it feels as though overnight people's jobs and financial situations have become very uncertain. The measures announced by the government will, we hope, look after most people but that doesn't stop that element of uncertainty being pretty high up on the list.

However, we are now in a unique position that we are mostly all forced to be at home with endless hours to fill when we would otherwise be working, commuting, socialising, exercising...

By now you have probably had several ideas of how to fill the time, perhaps having a good clear out, starting the craft that you bought the materials for months ago or just a long list of movies or boxsets to get your teeth into.

Perhaps you could use some of those ideas to make some extra money?

I'm not promising that you will make your fortune but here are my 7 top tips for making some extra money while you're stuck at home.

1.     Cash in your closet?

If you are clearing out cupboards; whether it's clothes, DVDs, toys and games or old musical instruments; and find items worth selling, ebay (ebay.co.uk) is the obvious place to head to. As a seller, you need to be responsible about the sending, ensuring you are adhering to social distancing when visiting the Post Office.  Alternatively, you can make your item a ‘buyer collects' however this is best only if the person is local (to avoid unnecessary journeys) and you can hand over the item while still following the distancing guidelines.  Or, assuming you can wait for the money and have the space, why not take the photographs, write the descriptions and pile your bundles ready for listing and despatch when we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Facebook Marketplace  and Gumtree  are also handy places to list things. You may not make as much money as most people buy locally, so you are limited by geography but, again, it is usually buyer collects, which means you can arrange a safe way to make the exchange which could mean a speedier sale. Just do be sure you adhere to the social distancing at the point of exchange. For example, can they pay you online and then collect from a designated spot where you can leave it well in advance? Of course, always wash your hands before and after any exchange.

2.     Clear those bookshelves

For book lovers, getting rid of your well-read and equally well-loved books is a tough call. However, if you could turn those pages into cash, perhaps you might be persuaded. You need to be pragmatic here: look through your books and decide which ones you will re-read or pass on to a friend or family member to enjoy - be honest with yourself! Then the rest, if you're honest with yourself, are simply decoration and you can sell them.  If it helps, remind yourself how much more space and cash you will have to buy other books that you haven't read yet!

Amazon is the obvious place to start. You will need to register as a seller (have your mobile, passport / driving licence and payment card to hand). Then away you go. Again, ensure you can post what you are offering for sale or get everything ready to go for when you can. 

Alternatively, try We Buy Books or Music Magpie. Both operate in a similar way to one another.  You enter the barcode or ISBN number and they give you an instant quote.  When you have entered all your books you can send it to them free of charge and they will pay directly into your bank after receipt. We Buy Books will collect from you, as well, whereas Music Magpie offers faster payment.

3.     Cash in on your foreign currency

Whether you're a frequent traveller or just go abroad once or twice a year on holiday, there's little doubt that, when clearing through the depths of those drawers that you haven't looked in for months, you will find bits and pieces of currency that were too small to change up post-trip.

Indeed, it's estimated, in a survey by M&S Bank in November 2019 that £3 billion in unused foreign cash currency is sitting in UK households and that each year, on average, travellers return with £1 billion in various denominations in cash, plus around £1bn is spent each year by UK travellers ‘using up' currency in their departure airport before returning home.

Until now...

At Bidwedge, you create a free account, state the amount of currency you have and receive a quote for your currency. If you agree, post your currency to Bidwedge and the agreed amount will be paid direct into your bank account. There are no additional fees, postage is free, and all transactions are insured.

Bidwedge's Currency Buy Back is currently available for Euros and US Dollars and starts as low as 10 Euros or US$10.

4.     That junk that might be more valuable than you think

Again, when clearing drawers and shelves, we all have those vintage items that we have received from family members in bygone years or bought at a boot fair when feeling a bit Arthur Daley. They might not be worth taking to Antiques Roadshow - perhaps they are dented or missing a bit - but they are almost certainly worth something.

VintageCashCow will buy your vintage items for cash! It's so simple. You put everything you want to sell in a box (during the isolation period, they are offering a free home collection service so you don't have to leave the house), they then value it and offer you a fair price within 48 hours. No haggling and - more importantly - no dodgy dealings. They will even explain their valuation. If you accept their offer they will send you a cheque or transfer the money on the same day. Any unsold items they will return for free! What are you waiting for?

5.     Get creative to generate cash

If you're planning to spend your time on a new craft or an old favourite, there are so many options out there and you can get materials delivered to your home. Whether you want to create with yarn, wood, paper or recycled materials that you have around the house, if you find (or already know) that you are creating something that others would like to buy, there are lots of places where you can set yourself up as a seller with ease. Check out these to start with:

a.     Etsy.com

b.     Shopify.co.uk

c.     Folksy.com

d.     Notonthehighstreet.com

Setting up a Facebook page and showing your items on Pinterest are also great, free ways to get your crafts in front of people.

6.     Earn by sitting at your computer

If you aren't thinking of clearing out or making things but are someone who likes to spend their time on their PC or other device, why not use some of that time to earn a bit of extra cash?

Surveys are an obvious and popular choice and, although they don't pay that well, you can dip in and out as you choose and the only resources you need are your device and your opinion. Be careful to pick legitimate sites and ones that don't waste your time and pay very little. Try YouGov, Prolific, LifePoints and Swagbucks as a starting point.

Some sites will even pay you for watching videos so it you have some time to kill, try Gift Hunter Club  too.

You can even earn cash just by changing your browser! Have a look at http://www.qmee.com.

7.     Use technology to keep your business afloat

The uncertainty has, until recently, really affected the self-employed and freelance workers badly. Tradespeople that need to go to people's houses have been in a rather tricky situation and, despite now knowing they are eligible for money from the government, they still have customers that rely on them. But there are some great apps which means you can help your customers to help themselves until you can return to them.

Try Zoom (zoom.us) or perhaps WhatsApp.  If your client has a small issue that you can talk them through on the phone with the use of video, so you can check they are doing the right thing, they can keep themselves going until you return.

Obviously, there are limitations; you have to have customers that are up to the job and able to follow your instructions and, obviously, there are some things that need you to do them in person.  For example, electricians, you're not going to supervise a full rewiring but you could help your customers change a plug or replace a trip wire, perhaps. Plumbers can use the same principal and help customers bleed their own radiators or re-pressurise their boilers. Gardeners, talk your customers through planting seeds (which they can order for themselves online) or transplanting seedlings so they are ready for when you can return to their garden. Probably all tradesman should be available to give advice on smaller concerns. You can charge a small fee for these services and / or use them to retain customer loyalty and confidence in your abilities.

Hopefully using one or two of these suggestions will help to fill your time and your pockets while we wait for an end to these uncertain times. We will get through this situation!  In the meantime, stay safe.

Shon Alam is founder of Bidwedge that makes it easy to exchange left-over cash currency back into sterling -for even the smallest amounts.