Canadians are looking for side hustles to offset inflationary pressure, but at what cost?

Canadians are looking for side hustles to offset inflationary pressure, but at what cost?

Caitlin Yardley, The Canadian Press

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at 3:01 PM EST.

MONTREAL — Canadian budgets are shrinking as the cost of living rises, and to compensate, some are taking up side hustles.

Aside from reselling used items or walking your dog, taking turns driving for delivery services and acting as a brand ambassador, there are many ways to earn extra cash.

Erin Rappaport, a human resources generalist in Montreal, earns extra money in a variety of ways.

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Rappaport has worked as a brand ambassador for several companies, offering free samples and demonstrating product information at prominent venues around Montreal, such as the Bell Centre.

It also uses resale platforms like Poshmark and Facebook Marketplace to sell home shoes, clothes and furniture.

“I have weeks where I have four sales and sometimes I have none, it really depends,” Rappaport said.

New data from professional services company Accenture has found that 41 per cent of Canadians plan to take on a side hustle, such as babysitting, dog walking, and other extra income before the holidays.

Another 39 per cent said they would take more work hours to make up the extra money, according to the survey of 1,510 Canadians who bought an item for personal use in the past six months.

To save money in the long or short term, the first thing to do is to identify the pressure point of the budget, says Anne Arbor, spokeswoman for the Credit Counseling Society.

Then understand how much time there is for the side hustle and what strengths can be leveraged to generate additional income, Arbour said.

However, there are additional factors to consider when generating additional income, such as reporting earnings and claiming deductions and making sure there is no conflict of interest with a primary source of income.

“If the goal is to improve your financial situation, make sure the extra income doesn’t put you in a higher tax bracket, so you may inadvertently be doing yourself more harm than good,” Arbour said.

Being a side hustle increased in popularity when many people had more time during the COVID-19 lockdowns. And for those laid off during the pandemic, their side hustle became a full-time reality.

One side hustle that became especially popular during the pandemic was gig economy work, such as driving for a travel company or a food delivery service.

In 2017, Jennifer Scott started working full-time as a bike carrier delivering food for various delivery apps in Toronto, and she has some words of caution for those looking to get into the industry.

Often having to navigate traffic and difficult weather conditions, Scott said he injured his knee and had to switch to walking deliveries.

“It constantly reminds me that if I’m hurt at work when I’m delivering under these conditions, I have no one but myself to figure out how to deal with it,” Scott said.

Gig economy workers are considered private contractors, meaning they are not entitled to the same labor protections as other workers.

“There’s not a sick day,” Scott said. “There’s no insurance, there’s nothing.”

Arbor said when receiving an additional income it’s important to check with your insurance to see what’s covered.

But for some, such as Scott, additional job protections such as private health care are a luxury.

“For people who have that, that’s great, but for most people who do this work, it’s not possible,” Scott said.

Whether it’s delivering food or taking shifts as a brand ambassador, keep in mind that when combined with a full-time job, overtime can lead to burnout or exhaustion.

While taking on a side hustle while working full-time is exhausting, Rappaport said the extra cash is what keeps her going.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 6, 2022.

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