Struggling with the rising cost of living? Your wardrobe could help

Struggling with the rising cost of living? Your wardrobe could help

A tough housing market, increasing cost of living and rising inflation rates have inspired thousands to search for second and even third income streams in the fight to stay afloat.

Perth woman Bella Burgio is one of 867,000 people across Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, who earns more than one income, turning her love for fashion into a side hustle which rakes in up to $35,000 a year and helped her break in to the property market.

Bernadette Olivier, co-founder of The Volte, said more people were turning to a second income, renting out their wardrobes to help cover the cost of living.

Burgio rents out her designer dresses on The Volte, a national website created by four West Australian women which currently lists 70,000 items across 220,000 active users.

Working full-time as an accountant, Burgio has 120 dresses listed on the website and makes between $20,000 and $35,000 a year.

She started listing her clothes about six years ago and was able to purchase a one-bedroom apartment through the additional income.

“Fashion is something I am really passionate about, so it doesn’t feel like I’m actually working for this second income,” she said.

“I just buy dresses that I would want to wear and then list them, usually from Australian designers like Zimmermann, Aje and Bec + Bridge. If they are brand new or the latest in a collection, I usually list them for 20 to 25 per cent of the retail price.

“Taking out the dry cleaning and postage fees, plus the percentage the website takes, I would say I make between $50 to $100 in profit each time an item is rented.”

About a month ago, Burgio realised interest rates were about to increase and house prices were dropping, and sold the apartment.

Perth woman Bella Burgio earns a second income by renting out her dresses on The Volte.

She now leans on the additional income from The Volte to help pay rent while she saves and looks for another property.

The Volte’s co-founder Bernadette Olivier said having a way to generate a secondary income was becoming increasingly necessary as inflation rates continued to climb.

“If you have clothes, especially occasion-based wear like cocktail dresses or ball gowns, but you don’t rent them out, it is a bit like having a holiday home and not listing it on Airbnb,” she said.

“Having a side hustle, especially through making use of what you already have, is a great way to help keep up with the increasing cost of living.

“Some users list 20 items and can make a few grand per month, others deliberately go out and purchase designer clothes in multiple sizes to list, and make up to $100,000 per year on top of what they would earn in their day jobs.”

But with that extra income comes a reminder that it must be declared when the end of financial year rolls around.

The Australia Tax Office has put small businesses and sole traders on notice about excessive claims relating to personal deductions on tax returns and not declaring “side hustles” and some COVID support payments as part of their income.

The warning comes as businesses, big and small, prepare their tax returns for the 2022 financial year that ends on June 30.

The tax office has already warned individuals to be careful with home office deductions and income from cryptocurrency investments.

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