Millennial money: How to get creative with finances in a recession

Woman wearing yellow shirt with glasses on, standing in front of whiteboard with lots of creative finance ideas.

Forty-four per cent of young people have either lost work hours, received a pay cut, been stood down or made redundant as a result of Covid-19, according to a recent report from ANZ.

Young people have been hit hard by the current recession, but that doesn’t mean they’re down. We spoke with Melbourne-based millennials Maggie and Chloe about how they’ve managed to make ends meet during the pandemic.

Freelancing with Fiverr

Hands working on laptop and writing in notepad for freelance work.

Digital marketer Maggie says she started to think about freelancing when she was stood down from her job at the end of March. She didn’t have an income at the time and JobKeeper hadn’t been announced yet.

“I applied to a few different freelancing websites, but Fiverr seemed to be the most user friendly.” Maggie says Fiverr is different because instead of constantly having to apply for jobs, you, the freelancer, post your specialties and people seeking those out contact you.

Does freelancing provide a proper income?

Maggie says if you work at freelancing and pursue return clients, you can definitely make it work. 

“I use it as a way to supplement my support payments and reduce the stress of day to day costs,” she says.

Maggie says that although freelancing hasn’t really become a full time job for her, she does have friends who use it as their main source of income.

She added that she would definitely recommend Fiverr and freelancing to others who have lost work. “I’ve told a bunch of friends who work in digital marketing to create a profile and see where it takes them. You can really expand your skills and give yourself more confidence.”

Fight or flight

Person getting ready to box

Similar to Maggie, performer and all-around creative Chloe had to rethink things when theatres closed back in March. Prior to the lockdown, Chloe had her own one-woman show in Melbourne called SWEETie. 

“I had performed it at the Midsumma Festival and was planning to take it round Australia, after which I was going to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August,” Chloe says.

As well as her gigs, both of Chloe’s side jobs fell through in March.

“I went into fight or flight mode. I thought what can I do to support myself? I looked into freelancing voice over work, which I had done before and was really lucky to be able to line up a few gigs and create a bit of cash flow.”

Chloe says after that JobKeeper was announced and she was able to claim it for one of her jobs. She was also able to pick up a bit of admin work from the same company.

Staying creative in lockdown

Since March, Chloe has been working on a few different things to keep flexing her creative muscle. To do this, she and a friend applied for and won an arts support grant from Melbourne City Council.

The council-funded project Chloe has been working on is called The Untouchables and shares the stories and experiences of people living in isolation during Covid-19.

“We started with a survey and then we interviewed people to get stories. We’ve been upskilling actors, so giving them a monologue, getting them to work with a director and film it from home. The whole concept is to upskill someone and pay them a fee for it,” says Chloe.

Chloe has also been working on turning SWEETie into a podcast.

Rethinking spending habits

Similar to a lot of other young people, both Chloe and Maggie say being in lockdown has actually led them to rethink what they spend their money on each day.

Maggie says, “I haven’t been able to go to the gym, so I cancelled my membership. I’m not paying for public transport, my daily coffee or the occasional lunch or after work drinks.”

She has embraced second-hand shopping more over the past few months, while Chloe has enjoyed taking a free online course.

Chloe says, “TAFE offers free online courses, so my iso goal has been to learn Auslan.”

Start a conversation

Besides cutting back on spending and looking for freelance work, Maggie recommends reaching out to people you know.

Even if you haven’t personally lost work, there’s a big chance that you know someone who has. With so many people being affected financially, now more than ever is the time to let others know what your situation is.

Maggie says, “The community at large has been more receptive to creative and collaborative working styles. For example, working from home is now normal, which in some industries it wasn’t before. The situation has, in a sense, created more opportunities.”

Savings - where to next?

One last note from Mozo is that for every foolproof savings plan, you need an even more foolproof savings account.

If you’re not working full-time at the moment, then a high interest savings account with lots of conditions to meet, probably isn’t for you. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still nab yourself a top notch interest rate.

Check out the savings rates on offer below or head to Mozo’s compare savings accounts page for more options.

Compare savings accounts - last updated 16 October 2021

Search promoted savings accounts below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
  • Boost Saver with Go Account
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    1.50% p.a. (for $0 to $250,000)
    0.10% p.a.(for $0 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Intro bonus rate of 1.50% for first 3 months, reverting to 1.20% after. Deposit $2,000 each month and make 5 eligible payments from your Go Account. If you are between 18 and 25 deposit $1,000.

    Enjoy a savings account bundled with a spending account. No monthly fees. New customers can earn up to 5000 bonus Virgin Money points on purchases (conditions apply). Benefit together with a joint account

    Details
  • High Interest Savings Account
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    1.35% p.a. (for $0 to $250,001)
    0.25% p.a.(for $0 to $250,001)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening

    Kick start your savings with the 4 month introductory variable rate. No fees, no minimum balance, no minimum monthly deposit and no minimum term.

    Details
  • Grow Saver
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    0.65% p.a. (for $0 and over)
    0.10% p.a.(for $0 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Make at least 1 deposit and no more than 1 withdrawal, including internal transfers or external payments.

    Earn a maximum interest rate of 0.65% per year. Pay no monthly fees. Set up in-app savings goals. Benefit with joint account options.

    Details
  • Online Saver
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    1.10% p.a. (for $0 to $500,000)
    0.35% p.a.(for $0 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening

    No account keeping fees. No minimum balance required. Unlimited phone and internet transactions.

    Details
  • Fast Track Saver Account
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    1.05% p.a. (for $1 to $250,000)
    0.05% p.a.(for $1 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Ongoing bonus rate applied if in the previous month $1,000 or more is credited to the linked Day2Day Plus account and 5 eligible transactions are made by the linked account.

    Earn 1.05% p.a. Bonus Interest in the following month on your Fast Track Saver Account balance. Earn Bonus Interest on your savings, with no minimum balance required.

    Details

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Savings Account Awards

Mozo provides general product information. We don't consider your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and we aren't recommending any specific product to you. You should make your own decision after reading the PDS or offer documentation, or seeking independent advice.

While we pride ourselves on covering a wide range of products, we don't cover every product in the market. If you decide to apply for a product through our website, you will be dealing directly with the provider of that product and not with Mozo.