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Single mother Tessa works on the sidelines to beat interest rate hikes

Tessa beams with pride when she explains that everything in her house is either a second-hand item or a find on Facebook Marketplace.

She is even more boastful of her dress thefts – all of her clothes are sourced from local exploitation stores.

To top it off, she says all of her food for the week will be made from scratch using mostly discounted ingredients.

It’s part of his motto to “make it happen” in an effort to “get ahead” of rising interest rates.

“I don’t want to live check after check,” she says at 7:30 a.m.

“It’s a struggle. It’s stressful if you haven’t saved money for a rainy day.

Tessa says she has several jobs so she can pay off her mortgage earlier and save money.(ABC News)

“You have to get there, you have to be realistic with your spending if you want to achieve things down the line.”

In addition to her unwavering frugality, Tessa – who is a single mother – has two jobs she calls side hustles.

During her lunch break from her day job, she often rushes to clean an Airbnb, and on weekends she works as a volleyball coach.

“As a single mom, I realized I didn’t have enough money for a security deposit, so I needed some extra cash. I needed a helping hand,” says -she.

“[The┬áday job] would be enough, but I would be paying off my mortgage in 30 years, and I don’t want to do that.

“I want to live better than the bare minimum.”

Growing trend

Economist Angela Jackson says Tessa is part of a growing trend of workers who have found extra work on top of their full-time pay.

“People doing these casual jobs are changing, so we’re seeing it go from something young people do to people doing it to make ends meet,” she says.

In the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Labor Accounts, it was reported that 900,000 people are now working in second jobs, around 6.5% of Australia’s workforce.

A woman smiles at the camera in a park.
Angela Jackson says a full-time job just isn’t “making ends meet” for some people.(ABC News: Peter Healy)

Ms Jackson says the growing demand for workers has allowed people to bank overtime in casual jobs and earn some much-needed extra cash.

But she says the data also shows that people’s full-time jobs often don’t provide enough wages as the cost of living rises.

“People can’t get into a full-time job to make ends meet, they have two, sometimes three jobs together to make ends meet,” Ms Jackson said.

“We need a better salary”

A woman stands smiling in a kitchen.
Grace Gbala enjoys working in elderly care, but says the pay is so low she has to work multiple jobs.(ABC News)

While jobs are plentiful and it’s relatively easy to earn extra money, Grace Gbala, an elderly carer in Adelaide, says ‘it’s a slap in the face’ that she has to work two jobs to pay their rent and living expenses.

Ms Gbala says she is paid so poorly in elderly care that finding a retail job was the only way for her to keep herself financially afloat.

“It’s a slap in the face, it’s just a constant reminder that you have to have better wages,” she says at 7:30 a.m.

“Why would I come to do aged care when we can do retail [and] get paid more there?

A woman looks at a stack of jeans in a clothing store.
Grace Gbala has a retail job to supplement her salary as a caregiver.(ABC News)

“I’m a very compassionate supporter, I want to keep giving, but I can’t keep giving if I have to keep working in another job to support myself.”

Older workers are among the highest proportion of Australian employees who have sought secondary work.

Tessa says working multiple jobs isn’t for everyone and agrees that it’s unfair that many jobs don’t pay enough, but she says it’s something she’s more than willing to do.

“I have a lot of energy that can be used for a second or third job,” she says.

“I was willing to put in the extra work. Not everyone wants to do that, so you have to find what works for you.”

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