Strapped for cash? As inflation skyrockets, here’s how to make extra money

Strapped for cash? As inflation skyrockets, here’s how to make extra money

September 14, 2022

As the cost of living rises and surging interest rates bite, many Australians are tightening their purse strings and looking for ways to increase their earnings.

Fiverr, a website that connects freelancers with businesses and individuals, has seen a marked growth in its user base in the past year. Their top growing category is NFTs, which saw a 1164 per cent growth from 2021 and earned workers between $700 and $2100 per project. Oliver Woolrych, Fiverr’s Community Organiser, attributes this to “an increased appetite for owning digital assets and currencies,” especially among younger people.

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Shopify developers were second, experiencing a 100 per cent growth in the past year, with YouTube editors coming in third with 96 per cent growth.

Even the Queen, it seems, had a side hustle of her own. A small house on the former Queen’s sprawling Sandringham Estate has been listed on Airbnb. Formerly the residence of the head gardener, the four-bedroom cottage can be rented for between $405 and $605 a night (although it is now completely booked out until 2023). The rental is not the royal family’s first foray into real estate either – eight cottages on the family’s Balmoral Estate are available to rent.

Below, four finance experts share their tips.

Review your expenses

“It’s obvious but the first thing is to review all your expenses, and do so realistically – look at what you’re actually spending, not what you think you’re spending. Check bank statements and do a full financial review. Compare all your outgoing expenses and make sure you’re getting the best available offer for your circumstances,” says Kylie Travers of The Thrifty Issue blog.

Rent out your stuff

There are the obvious things, like using Airbnb, or renting clothing items, but Melissa Browne, an ex-financial adviser and creator of the My Financial Adulting Plan, also suggests looking at “latent assets” – things like a car space, a caravan or even a swimming pool can all be rented out.

Strip out housing

If you’re able to, strip out the costs of a mortgage or rent by house or dog sitting, recommends Browne.

Find a side hustle

“Once you’ve gone through your expenses, focus on making more money. There’s only so much you can do to cut back,” says Travers.

When you’re at the computer, Browne recommends things like online surveys and testing out new websites as quick ways to generate a bit of extra income. And while they might only get you an extra $20 or $30, it all adds up.

Apps like Airtasker, which allow users to offer services like grocery shopping, transportation, or assistance with moving house, can also be good.

Travers suggests other side hustles like online transcription work, virtual assisting, market research, and mystery shopping, which she adds can be good for mothers.

If you’re not sure where to start with a side hustle, think about what you’re passionate about and where your skills lie, suggests Fiverr’s Woolrych. “There are over 550 categories of services on Fiverr. You’d be surprised how easily any service can be turned into revenue.”

Taking on extra freelance work in a realm you already work in is another way to generate a bit of extra income. Molly Benjamin is the founder of Ladies Finance Club, a community of over 55,000 women that organises workshops and meet-ups about personal finance. She says that one member works for a company as a graphic designer, and has taken on additional freelance work.

Negotiate a pay rise

“The best way to increase income is to ask for a pay rise. If you haven’t gotten a pay rise in a year, it’s definitely worth asking,” says Benjamin.

Molly has been working with PepTalkHer, an organisation aimed at solving gender equality in the workface. She shares some tips from its founder Meggie Palmer.

“Going in with research and ideas to back yourself up is important if you want to negotiate a pay rise.” One way to make sure you have a comprehensive list of achievements when you approach your supervisor is to make a habit of noting down three things you’ve done each week on a Friday afternoon.

Depending on what your boss is like, she also suggests giving your boss a “high-level overview” of what you’ve done and what your upcoming priorities are on a fortnightly or monthly basis. When it comes to your salary negotiation, this will make it hard for your boss to question your work.

Use a shop back extension

Shop or cash back sites can be an easy way to earn a bit of extra income when you’re online shopping. And while they may sound like a scam, both Browne and Benjamin say they’re a little-known goldmine, and have received thousands of dollars back on purchases over the years.

Such services work as a browser extension, that notify you once you land on a qualifying site (Businesses like Dan Murphy’s and The Iconic participate in some of these websites). A percentage of each purchase is returned to you, in exchange for your browsing data. While some people may be uncomfortable with this, “you’re giving them data anyways, so you may have well be paid for it,” reasons Browne.

Have a mortgage? Ask for a rate cut

With interest rates going up, Browne says she’s been helping people go to their banks and ask for a discount on their rate. “Many people don’t realise you’re actually allowed to do that,” she says. Recently, a client was able to negotiate a 1 per cent decrease after spending an hour on the phone with their bank.

“If you have more than 20 per cent equity and haven’t asked for a cut in the last 12 months, you have a good chance of getting one.”

Another client she says was knocked back on their first phone call. They went to a mortgage broker and applied for a better deal. Their bank found out, and ended up matching the lower rate.

“You’ve just got to be persistent, and move if they’re not willing to budge.”

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