Making extra money online could be a great way to afford that new iPad Air 2 or Samsung Galaxy Note 4 without bringing financial ruin upon yourself. Surprisingly, earning a little bit of cash on your PC isn’t as difficult as it sounds, with plenty of websites offering opportunities without you needing to leave your sofa. If you’ve ever fancied being a music reviewer, don’t mind filling out the occasional questionnaire, or have a few spare items taking up room in your home, we’ll show you how you can turn these things into a tidy profit.

Make money online: Selling your old items

One of the benefits of living in a consumerist culture is that most of us will have a few spare items that we could do with moving on. Now the more altruistic among us will pack them into bags and take them to the local charity shop, but if you want to reap the financial benefits yourself there are plenty of ways to do so. eBay is, of course, the most obvious place to sell your surplus possessions, with a huge customer base, easy to use interface, and customer reviews to reassure prospective buyers. If you’ve not used the site before, setting up an account is free, and the only costs involved are deducted from any items you sell. As we write eBay states that you’re allowed to list 20 items for free each month, and that it charges 10% of the final selling price as its fee.

While you can sell books on eBay, Amazon also offers an easy to use Trade-In service that tells you in advance how much each item is worth and makes it easier to sell several items in one go. Payment is via credit for the site which you could put towards a shiny new Kindle e-reader, Tablet, or anything else sold directly by the site. Postage for your trade-in is free, and you can even drop your boxes of books into a post office or local pickup point - which is often a newsagent or supermarket nearby. To find the service visit Amazon, enter the title of a book you want to trade, then in the bottom right corner you should see a box that offers you a gift voucher in exchange. Click on this to set up your Trade-In account. You’ll receive payment as soon as the books are processed at the warehouse, which usually takes a few days, and it’s worth noting that you can also trade in console video games.

How to make money online - Amazon

Old tech is another valuable resource, as many companies will pay you to take that old smartphone or laptop off your hands. As you might expect Apple products tend to hold their value rather better than rival brands, and the California giant offers its own buy-back service. To see how much your iPhone or MacBook is worth, visit the Apple site, click on the Store tab, then scroll to the list at the bottom of the page and under Store Services click on Reuse & Recycling. As a guide we entered the details of an iPhone 5, 16GB, in good condition and were offered £60. You can of course go to eBay and probably get more, but it you want to avoid the auction route then this is reasonably painless.

If your products don’t bear the fruit logo, or you want to see if you can get more for your money, then there are a number of other sites that you can try, including Fonebank, which offered £110 for the same iPhone. There's also Envirofone which will recycle old mobiles and also pay for your old phones, even if they are damaged.

 Make money online: Apple

Make money online Christmas: Surveys

Another simple way to make a little money is to take part in surveys that various online marketing and research companies conduct. One of the most interesting is the internet market research site YouGov. This offers rewards of £50 for every 5,000 points that you amass answering questionnaires on a variety of social and political subjects. It takes a while to build up that kind of score, but if you keep tapping away in your spare moments it could prove a nice easy way to generate some pocket money. Google also have a similar service which it conducts through the Google Opinion Rewards app, and pays out small amounts for answering just a couple of questions. It won’t make you rich, but you might end up with a new album or app for free in the long run.

Make money online: YouGov

Make money online: Cash-back sites

Using a cash-back site can be a useful way to get a few pounds back, particularly around Christmas and birthdays when you'll be doing lots of shopping. The way they work is that after you sign up, often for a small fee around £5, you can get deals from various websites that either come as discounts or by the company paying you back money a little while after the transaction takes place, due to the deal they have with the cashback site. The best part is that once you’ve set the account up you don’t really need to do much more than visit the cashback site before you go shopping. Some of the best ones to try are Quidco and Topcashback. Again it’s a small return, but as Tesco likes to remind us, every little helps.

Make money online: Music reviews

If you’re an avid music fan then you might like to visit Slicethepie, where you can review songs from new and emerging artists for a nominal fee. The more detailed your reviews, the greater your reward and also the increased chance that you’ll be offered more reviews. To gain any real money you’ll need to be an active member, as your ranking is the key to your earnings. Either way, you’ll get to hear some new music.

Make money online: Sell your photographs

Selling your photographs is a very real way to make money online. The web, as you may have noticed, is an increasingly visual medium. This means that websites are always on the lookout for images they can use with articles, advertisements, and for general decoration. Digital photographers can take advantage of these demand by registering with image banks such as Shutterstock and iStockphoto, who sell directly to a wide range of other companies. You’ll need to carefully read the guidelines each image bank has, as they can be quite precise, but if you make the grade you could earn a decent amount of money once your images are online.

Make money online: Hobbies

We've only just scratched the surface of the ways you can make money online in this article. For even more, visit our how to make money from your hobby article, which includes advice on how to sell your creations, illustrations, designs, writing, monitizing your blog and much more.

Top image - Courtesy of TaxRebate.org.uk, used under a Creative Commons license