From French lessons to food delivery, record numbers of young people are finding side hustles to make ends meet

 In Home News Section, Uncategorized

After getting stung with a sudden $90 a week rent increase, Hoshi in Bunbury, WA, set about selling what they owned.

First, the furniture, bicycles, and sports equipment. Then, clothes and jewellery.

Finally, they gathered up the little things that had sentimental value.

They would sell them last.

“I’m not just missing $90 a week,” they said.

“With the price of vegetables and transport costs going up, it feels like someone has really just taken a huge bite out of that financial flexibility.”

Faced with rent increases, price hikes and stagnant wages, Hoshi is one of many young people who have been hustling for income on the side, outside of their normal job, to make ends meet.

The rush to pick up extra work has been seen across most age groups, but has been greater with young people, who are generally less financially secure and more exposed to the effects of inflation.

Young people are the most likely age group to have more than one job, and this trend is on the increase, ABS data shows.

For many, the situation is dire, but some are finding creative ways to stay afloat.

Working 9-5, and then hustling

Outside of her full-time 9-5 office gig, Rose tutors French and Italian over Zoom, delivers online food orders, and sells the pot plants she propagates in her crowded Sydney apartment.

The hustle began two months ago, after lockdowns had eased and, like many, Rose found that the extra socialising was expensive.

On top of this, she had recently moved from a sharehouse to escape the chaotic and cramped experience of COVID lockdowns.

Living alone had been affordable when she was bunkering down, but not anymore.

“Lockdown kind of changed things — it made me want to have a bit more stability in my life,” she said.

“I got used to a nicer way of living at home and now I’m going back to those old comforts of going out, and I have to readjust.”

At the same time, the prices of most things are going up.

Average weekly rental payments have increased almost 10 per cent over the past year, while inflation is rising at its fastest rate since 1990.

Fruit and vegetable prices have risen almost 6 per cent in the June quarter alone.

Wages grew 2.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, or less than inflation, meaning the average wage shrunk.

For Rose, side-hustling is a way to break even while still going out.

Tutoring brings in up to $100 a week, food delivery anything from $100-$200, and selling plants nets less than $50.

“[The side hustles] can be about an extra $200-$400 a week sometimes,” she said.

“It turns out that I don’t have as much disposable income at the end, once I’ve paid all my bills.”

The rush to pick up extra work

COVID and lockdowns have seen the rate of what the ABS calls “multiple-job holding” bounce around over the last few years.

Towards the end of last year, with lockdowns easing, the number of multiple-job holders jumped 13.1 per cent.

According to the ABS, just under 900,000 Australians were working more than one job in the December quarter — more than at any other time since the bureau started keeping such records in 1994.

But not all age groups were affected equally.

This rush to pick up extra work was by far the greatest among young people.

Note the big spike in the light blue line (15-24 year olds) in December 2021.

That’s the point where lots of young people rushed out to get extra jobs, signing up to deliver food or pick up shifts in hospitality.

It’s also roughly when inflation and rent increases started to bite.

In the UK, where inflation is even higher, a recent study found almost half of Gen Z have recently started a side hustle to make ends meet, or plan on starting one in the near future.

One reason for this was that young people were generally more exposed to inflation than older Australians, said Impact Economics and Policy lead economist Angela Jackson.

“Young people are more likely to rent and therefore this takes up a bigger part of their income,” she said.

“The price rises facing younger people are much higher than the average figure.”

Also, young people were more likely to have been unemployed during the pandemic, and have depleted their savings.

“They might not have that buffer,” she said.

“They’re facing rising costs with nothing behind them.”

Extra jobs in retail, hospo, admin

A lot of the extra jobs Australians have been picking up are in retail, food services and administration, ABS data shows.

Katy, whose name has been changed, works 9-5 in a communications role and struggles with the “exorbitant” price of groceries, electricity and petrol.

“It’s feeling like going out to dinner with your friends is a crazy thing to do — I’ve never felt like that before.”

Financially stressed, the 27-year-old recently went back to working weekends at the cafe that had employed her seven years ago.

“It’s a huge relief knowing that I’ll get paid on the weekend — it’s a cash-in-hand situation,” she said.

Tips for reducing your expenses

Inflation continues to rise and experts predict a further 10 per cent increase in average rental payments over the next 12 months, so it’s worth looking at ways to save money, if you haven’t done this already.

Most money experts recommend writing down your expenses, and then dividing these into items that you have to pay (like rent), those you can reduce (like groceries), and those you can potentially cut entirely (like buying takeaway or even streaming subscriptions).

Then go through each category, and look at ways to spend less.

“Talk to your landlord about a rent reduction,” said Angela Jackson from Impact Economics.

“It’s better for the landlord to have you in the house than to have the house vacant.”

In most parts of the country, you can shop around for the cheapest energy provider.

Check if you have gym memberships or streaming subscriptions you don’t use.

Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself.

You’ve probably already cut back on expenses and are trying your best to save, but rising prices are making this harder and harder.

“Even if you’re doing all those things that everyone advises you to do, it’s still going to be very difficult,” Ms Jackson said.

If you’re finding yourself in financial trouble, you can reach out to the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 for free financial advice.

In each state and territory you can also access food assistance and rental and crisis accommodation.

(Original ABC Article)