10 ways to make money on the side

Whether you’ve got a 9-5 job or you’re a stay-at-home parent, there are a lot of ways you can make money on the side.

Some ‘side hustles’ require brains; others brawn. Side hustles can also occur in all sorts of places – at home, online, outdoors, in your car or at other people’s homes.

With that in mind, here are 10 diverse ways you can capitalise on your spare time:

Pawesome work for purrfect people

Dog walking and pet sitting can be a great way to indulge your love of animals and make money at the same time. If you register with websites like PetCloud, Holidog and Mad Paws, you can solve a problem for people who are too busy to walk their dog or who need someone to mind their pet while they go on holiday.

Work with children, not animals

If children are more your thing, you can sign up with Find A Babysitter, Baby Sitters Now or My Super Nanny.

Establish the Hotel de You

If you’ve got a spare room, you can use Airbnb to become a hotelier on the side. This can be a more lucrative option than renting out your room the traditional way, because short-term travellers generally pay more for accommodation that long-term tenants.

Clean the Hotel de Others

Unwilling or unable to become an Airbnb host? You can still cash in. How? Offer to do the between-guests cleaning for other hosts. It’s easy – visit the Airbnb website, find nearby properties and offer your services.

Your time, their money

Another option is to do physical tasks or skilled work in your spare time. The Airtasker platform allows you to connect with people who want to outsource gardening, cleaning, furniture assembly, photography, web development, bookkeeping, writing and countless other tasks.

Baby, you can drive your car

You know those Uber drivers who take you where you want to go? You could be one of them! “Partnering with Uber in Australia is flexible,” according to the company. “You can drive with Uber any time, day or night, 365 days a year. When you drive is always up to you.”

Taste things, say things

There’s easy money to be made in market research. Many businesses will pay ordinary Australians for advice on how to improve their products or marketing. You might be asked to do taste-testing, discuss an advertising campaign or offer your opinion on a potential new product. Sessions generally last for one to two hours and pay $50 to $150. Just register with companies like Explore Research, Farron Research and Realtime Research and wait for them to email gigs.

Be a man or woman of mystery

Mystery shopping is another way to simultaneously make money and help businesses lift their game. Mystery shoppers get paid to visit businesses, pose as customers and then file reports about their experience. You can register for gigs with companies like Retail Mystery Shopping Australia, Hoed Research and Mystery Customer.

The write stuff

If you know the difference between there, their and they’re, you might have what it takes to become an online proofreader. You can register for freelance opportunities through websites such as ProofreadingServices.com, Domainite and Gramlee.

Handy work if you can get it

We all know that genetically blessed people can make money showing off their faces or bodies, but did you know that ordinary folk can make money as a hand model? If you’ve got attractive hands, you could earn cash on the side by participating in photo shoots. Yes, really.

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Learn more about savings accounts

How to make money with a savings account?

Savings accounts make you money by earning interest on your savings. The more money you deposit, the longer you leave it in the account, and the higher the account’s interest rate, the more interest you’ll be paid by the bank or financial institution, and the more your wealth will grow.

To make sure your savings account makes money and doesn’t lose money, it’s important to maintain a large enough minimum balance that the annual interest earned exceeds any annual fees charged on the account.

Can I overdraft my savings account?

A lot of savings accounts won’t let you overdraw. Some will allow this feature but you’ll need to apply first. It’s best to read the fine print and check with your lender whether this is a feature they offer. It can be a helpful addition, but as your lender can charge you a fee as well as interest for going into negative numbers, it’s best to avoid overdrafting when possible.

Can you have a joint savings account?

Yes. Joint savings accounts can be useful for two or more people wanting to combine their savings to meet shared financial goals, including spouses, flatmates and business partners.

Some joint savings accounts require all parties to sign before they can access the money. While less convenient, this extra security can help encourage all parties to meet their shared financial goals.

Other joint savings accounts allow any of the account holders to access the money. These accounts can be convenient for financially responsible couples that trust one another implicitly. 

What is a good interest rate for a savings account?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind with savings accounts is to look for a rate that is higher than the CPI inflation rate. This number is constantly changing, so check the Reserve Bank of Australia’s page. If you aren’t earning interest above this then the value of your money will go backwards over time.

How to open a savings account for my child?

Some banks and financial institutions allow parents to open a bank account for their child as soon as it is born, and start depositing funds to go towards the child’s future.

Children’s savings accounts generally don’t have fees, and are structured to help develop positive financial habits by limiting withdrawals, encouraging regular deposits, and earning interest on the savings, similarly to standard savings accounts.

Who has the highest interest rates for savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to know who currently has the highest interest rate is to use a savings account comparison tool.

How does interest work on savings accounts?

The type of interest savings accounts accrues is called compound interest. Compound interest is interest paid on the initial deposit amount, as well as the accumulated interest on money you have. This is different from simple interest where interest is paid at the end of a specified term. Compound interest allows you to earn interest on interest at a higher frequency. 

Example: John deposits $10,000 into a savings account with an interest rate of 5 per cent that he leaves untouched for 10 years. At the end of the first year he will have $10,512 in savings. After ten years, he will have saved $16,470.

What is the interest rate on savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to look at interest rates on savings accounts is to use a savings accounts comparison tool. When you look at the savings rate check what the maximum and minimum rates are. Often banks will offer you a promotional rate for the first few months which is competitive, but then revert back to a base rate which can sometimes be less than inflation. Ongoing bonus rates are often a safer bet as they will keep rewarding you with the maximum rate, provided you meet their criteria

Can you set up direct debits from a savings account?

It’s not usually possible to set up a direct debit from your savings account to cover ongoing expenses or bills, as savings accounts are structured around growing your wealth by earning interest on regular deposits, and discouraging withdrawals.

Some transaction accounts allow you to set up direct debits and also earn interest, though you may not enjoy as much flexibility as a dedicated transaction account, or get as high an interest rate as a dedicated savings account.

What is a savings account?

A savings account is a type of bank account in which you earn interest on the money you deposit. This makes it one of the easiest and safest investment tools.

Can you direct deposit to a savings account?

Yes. You can make one off payments or set up regular direct deposits into a savings account. This can be organised easily through online banking or by making deposits in a branch. Talk to your lender to find out the easiest way for you to set up direct deposits.

How do I open a savings account?

Opening a savings account is a relatively simple process. If you’ve found an account with a suitable interest rate, you’ll just need to get in contact with your chosen lender via a branch, phone call or hop online to begin the process. 

You may be required to provide:

  • Personal details, including identification (driver’s license, passport etc.)
  • Tax file number
  • Employment details

How much money should I have in my savings account?

A good rule of thumb when working out a minimum balance for your savings account is to make sure that you’ll earn more in annual interest on your savings than what you’ll be charged in annual fees.

If you’re saving with a specific goal in mind, prepare a budget so the interest you earn on your deposits will help you efficiently reach this goal. Online financial calculators may be helpful here.

Can you set up a savings account online?

Yes. Several large and small banks offer online applications for savings accounts, and there are also online-only financial institutions to consider.

Online-only savings accounts are often less expensive than other savings accounts, though they may not offer the same flexibility, features, or face-to-face service as more traditional savings accounts.