Pensioner boosts income by £320 and slashes energy bills with side hustle | Personal Finance | Finance

A pensioner from West Yorkshire has found an enjoyable side hustle to boost her retirement income while also helping her keep active and even slash her household bills.

Susan Ferguson, 70, works for Homesitters Ltd, helping look after a family’s property and their pets while they are away.

This year she has done five homesits and has earned around £320 helping towards her other income from her state pension and private pensions.

The side hustle suits her well as she likes to keep active and to get out for long walks and is a big animal lover.

She gets a daily rate for each pet she looks after and an additional rate for each other furry friend in her care.

She said: “I like to keep busy and while I do a lot of volunteer work, I also quite liked the idea of being around animals again and earning a little bit of extra money.”

Being away from her own home while she’s homesitting also has the bonus of slashing her bills.

She saves around £40 a month on her energy bills when she’s doing a homesit and she also gets a daily food allowance to further reduce her costs.

The animal fan previously had a small farm holding where she kept pigs, cows, sheep, as well as rare breed hens, ducks and geese.

When she retired, she wanted to make sure she had a meaningful retirement where she could give something back to the community.

She does a lot of volunteer work including working in a hospice charity shop alongside her homesitting.

Since she started with Homesitters in 2018, she has done 10 assignments. Ms Fergusion said: “I’ve got a couple of regulars I go to now so that’s quite good as well. You get to go into new areas with really lovely houses. It’s like being on holiday.”

She had to do some research for an upcoming homesit as some of the pets she’ll be looking after are a bit more exotic than usual.

Her friends for the stay include a Cavapoochon dog, a Persian cat, some tropical fish, an axolotl and a crested gecko.

She said: “I had to Google what an axolotl was as I’d never heard of one. Fortunately, it seems like quite an easy pet to look after.”

Before any homesit, Homesitters always organises a preliminary visit so the homesitter can meet the owners and the animals so they can understand the assignment in detail.

Susan said of Homesitters Limited: “They are a lovely company to work with and are very supportive.

“I know that there’s always someone on the end of the phone if I need them which is very comforting and reassuring.”

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