Some weeks Gavin Boyd would add an extra $1000 to his pay packet without doing an extra minute of work in his role at a Victorian council.
In an effort to keep on top of his living expenses, and to occasionally buy furniture for the home he shared with his now wife, he dedicated himself to capitalising on the unwanted household items that other people had put out for hard rubbish collection.
Mr Boyd used to collect things like unwanted sporting trophies, equipment, toys and furniture to sell on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.
Alongside his hard rubbish loot, he would visit six op shops three times a week and on-sell the items for a profit.
Mr Boyd made an estimated $50,000 over five years selling other people’s unwanted goods left out for hard rubbish or dropped at op shops.
When flatscreen TVs were just released they fetched $50 to $100.
Some residents of well-heeled inner Melbourne suburbs turfed out six-month-old clothes washers and dryers that Mr Boyd sold for $400 a piece.
And he wasn’t even one of the more serious hard rubbish entrepreneurs.
“You have got to try and get around in the morning to beat everyone else,” Mr Boyd said.
“People will go out and hire a truck for the week and just collect the hard rubbish.”
Old Nintendo or Atari consoles and games can fetch hundreds of dollars on eBay or Facebook Marketplace, while rare basketball cards are another coveted item in the second-hand market.
Other Australians are monetising their hobbies to make a little extra cash without taking on a second job.
Biologist Megan McInerney pockets $200 a piece for her pet portraits and also creates landscapes, botanical paintings and people portraits.
She painted during high school and hadn’t picked up a brush in years until her husband gave her a painting class voucher for their first wedding anniversary.
After posting on social media to share her creations with friends, Ms McInerney began doing commissions and, through word of mouth, started getting more requests.
Ms McInerney likens painting to meditating and enjoys it because it uses an entirely different skill set to her day job.
“I can zone everything out,” she said.
Over the past three years Ms McInerney has sold about 10 artworks, but given she is also juggling her job in the paid workforce and caring for her two young children, she doesn’t have plans to increase her painting output for several years.
She is careful to spend any money she makes from painting on set items, like a front gate for her family home, rather than the proceeds being absorbed by the regular family budget.
Other options to earn an extra buck are dog walking, renting out your residential car parking space, or picking up odd jobs through platforms such as Airtasker, which is an online marketplace for users to outsource everyday tasks like assembling flat pack furniture, gardening and preparing resumes.