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It’s all well and good to try and save money, but you should be thinking about earning extra cash too. And we’re talking decent sums of money – possibly more than £2,000.

Each of the money making actions I’ve listed below might take a little time, but they’re all easy to do. You can get through most of them in a couple of hours if you wanted, or spread them out over the next 12 months. To get the most of some you need to repeat the action through the year, but others are done once and will earn you cash every time you shop or pay a bill.

Do these alongside my six ways to save money in 2017 and you could be better off by £3,500 in a year – perhaps even more!

1. Switch (and switch again) your bank account

You could earn: £585 in 12 months

Time it takes: 20 to 30 minutes to open each account

Fancy a free £150? Of course you do. How about another £125, and another £100? It might seem too good to be true, but it isn’t.

Five banks are currently offering a cash bonus if you switch to them, and it’s possible to do four, possibly even all five over 12 months (you often need to wait a couple of month to get the bonus in your account).

With the current bonuses available you could earn a possible £585 tax-free cash in a year.

The switching guarantee means everything is moved for you, including future payments, though my tip is to open another account for your day to day banking (see below).

Warning: you will be credit checked each time you apply so make sure you’ve a decent rating and aren’t planning on applying for a mortgage

>> Here are all the current account switching offers

2. Get cashback on your household bills

You could earn: £100 plus (after fee)

Time it takes: 20 to 30 minutes to open a new account

Santander and NatWest both have accounts which give you money back on your bills.

Though each charges a fee, you should easily cover it with the cashback and make more on top. I’m pretty good at getting the lowest bills possible and I’m still up £100 a year. If you spend more on pay-TV or have lots of people using up energy, it could be even more.

The great thing about these accounts is you don’t have to switch from an old account. You can simply open it up as a new account, leaving you free to maximise the switching bonuses mentioned above.

>> How to choose which cashback current account is best for you

3. Spend with a cashback credit card

You could earn: £100

Time it takes: 15 minutes to apply

I rarely use cash or my debit card anymore. Instead, I’ll put as much as I can on my cashback credit cards, unless there’s an extra charge.

We’re not talking about huge amounts per purchase – probably just 1% per pound. But added up over a year and you should easily met £100, particularly since the best ones have sign up bonuses.

However, these cards are only worth it if you PAY THE BALANCE OFF IN FULL EACH MONTH. Sorry for shouting there but it’s soooooo important.

>> The best cashback credit cards

4. Shop via cashback sites

You could earn: £252

Time it takes: Five minutes to join each site, less than a minute extra each time you shop

Even more cashback? Yup! And it’s a good earner too. Quidco say the average earned each year is £252!

Pretty much every time I shop I start at either Quidco or TopCashback and search for the retailer I’m buying from. There’s also a new one called TBSeen, run by Kate Thornton.

Simply clicking through can earn me between 1% and 10% from my shop. It’s even more when you’re looking at broadband, TV and mobile switching.

Plus use your cashback credit card and you’re earning twice.

>> See how you can earn even more with an exclusive sign-up bonus at Quidco

5. Make decent money on your savings

You could earn: £286 or more

Time it takes: 20 to 30 minutes to open a new account

With rates so low, you might think there’s no point trying to earn interest on your savings – but it’s still possible to get 5%, even if it’s just on small amounts of cash.

There are less options than in 2016, but my top pick is to open a Nationwide FlexDirect account, where you can save £2,500 and earn 5% for the first year – a total of £125 earned.

Then you can open a Nationwide regular savings account and save a further £500 a month, also at 5%. Put in the full £6,000 over the year and you’ll earn an extra £161.

There are other accounts worth considering if you’ve more money to put away such as Lloyds (2%) and TSB (2.5%), while First Direct and M&S also offer 5% regular savers for customers.

Again, you don’t usually have to switch accounts to get these offers, simply open up a new account instead.

>> Find out which current accounts have the best interest rates

6. Check for any money owed

You could earn: £600

Time it takes: Five minutes to check bills and bank statements, then however long to call and claim your money back

I’ve switched energy, broadband and my mobile twice each in the last two years, and each time I’ve been owed money by the old company. That’s my money they’ve kept and wouldn’t have given back if I hadn’t asked.

There are other places where you might be due some cash. If you’ve returned an item to a shop, especially if it’s online, have you got a refund? Have you been overcharged on any bills? Has anything broken within its warranty you could take back?

All of these can and will boost your bank balance this year – I found £600 of this type of money in the first six months of last year.

>> How I found £600 of lost money

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