Twenty per cent of British workers boost their income with money earned from a hobby or interest.
This is according to the latest National Savings and Investments (NS&I) quarterly savings survey.
Just over half the respondents are doing this for fun, yet in a warning to bosses, many confess to using work-time to generate extra income.
Hobby earners, on average, yield £3,511 a year after tax through their efforts, increasing their average annual income by a fifth, says NS&I. Nearly all of these earners use the extra pounds to create financial security.
Almost a third are investing the extra money in savings, and more than one in six hobby earners use the money to pay off debts, while over half use the money to pay for rising day-to-day living expenses.
For 16 per cent, the additional money is simply used to pay for life’s little luxuries.
Dax Harkins, senior savings strategist at NS&I, said: “Even a few pounds each week invested in long-term savings can benefit, particularly as we are seeing an increasing number of people who say they would not have enough in savings to cope in a financial emergency.”
Topping the list of money-making interests is collecting and trading, which accounts for 27 per cent of moonlighting activities, with IT and, in particular, website design following in second place at 21 per cent.
On average, moonlighters spend more than 11 hours each week on their hobbies. People appear to want to spend even more time on their hobbies than they do now, with 37 per cent saying that they hope one day to make their hobby their primary source of income.
In addition, almost three quarters say they use the internet for making money from their hobby or interest. Half of those surveyed said they simply could not operate without the ‘net’. Social networking sites are also helping drive this growth, with over a third using sites such as MySpace or Facebook to conduct or promote their money-making venture.
The average amount saved each month across the population has increased from £81.43 to £91.15 per person.