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6 wacky ways to beat the cost of living

From dumpster diving to can collecting, here are six wacky ways to earn an extra buck while times are tight.

Compilation image of discarded groceries and return and earn bin in NSW to represent cost of living
Six money-savvy Aussies have shared their weird and wacky ways that they're fighting the rising cost of living. (Source: Getty) (Samantha Menzies)

As the cost of living continues to bite, we’re all having to make lifestyle changes to accommodate for soaring prices. But some Aussies are getting extra creative when it comes to cutting costs, scoring freebies or making extra income. I spoke to my online community to find out the six wackiest hacks for beating inflation.

Also by Emma Edwards:

1. 10 cent returns

One savvy saver reported that they’d banked $150 last year just by taking her neighbours recycling to the 10 cent return centre. “I go at 10pm at night in the hope nobody will see me hunched over a bin with my extra long tongs,” she joked. She’s even managed to rope her coworkers into supporting her efforts by saving their bottles and cans.

2. Dumpster diving

In complete and utter dedication to the hustle, another shared a neat hack to get free groceries by dumpster diving to get the day’s otherwise-wasted stuff – stay with me on this.

“We go to Aldi, IGA, fruit shops, etc,” she explains, showing me hauls that include bagged salads, herbs, coconut water, and heaps of perfectly good fruit and veg. The couple save around $150 a month, and “love the adventure of it, too”. It’s niche, but if you’ve got the gumption for it, go for your life.

3. Car advertising

One of my favourite contributions was from a member of my online community who has been cashing in simply by driving to work. Having banked $800 since starting out midway through 2022, they explained it was as simple as signing up to a car advertising platform, having the advertising applied (which is free!) and driving as normal! “I drive a lot of kms so it’s a great way for me to make some extra money.” Interested? and are great places to start.

4. Homemade furniture

Another DIY-savvy couple used breeze blocks from Bunnings and some sheets of timber they were given to make their own industrial loft-style TV unit. Not only did the new lewk cost just twelve bucks, they banked $250 by selling their existing unit on Facebook Marketplace. Take that, cost of living.

5. Rental repairs

Does your landlord need to carry out maintenance or repairs? You could do it yourself and bank the cashola. One hustler and their partner offered to paint their rental over the Easter weekend, banking $400 bucks each for two days of work. They did caveat their win with a reminder to consider the risks and ensure you’re doing things safely. “Like, what if we hurt ourselves or something? We decided to do it anyway and it worked out fine.” A solid win, but make sure you’re taking the appropriate precautions if you try this at home. Don’t go rewiring the entire gaff on your own.

6. House sitting

In one of the greatest ‘screw you rental crisis’ acts of all time, one follower explained that they’d ditched their lease all together in favour of house sitting full time for free accommodation. “[The pros are] many cute pets and no rent, but the major con is no home!”


While it’s probably not a long term solution for many of us, if you’ve got a salary coming in, having a lean few months between leases or committing to a full year of house sitting could give you the financial space you need to save big. House deposit? Here you come.

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