PETALING JAYA: Side hustle seems to be the keyword these days.

Many Malaysians are resorting to some business on the side as they try to make ends meet at a time when every ringgit counts.

Norsyafiqa Izwani is a full-time sales assistant, but she also started her own online business selling Malay novels last year.

The 29-year-old said living in Kuala Lumpur is not cheap.

“With this small business, I can get extra income,” she said.

Even then, the competition for pre-loved novels is tough.

Many other Malaysians are joining the bandwagon and Norsyafiqa finds it hard to clear her stock.

She is now thinking of selling unused home appliances too, she said.

Norsyafiqa, who works in a stationery shop, suggested that people look into having small businesses or cut down their spending to cope with the spiralling cost of living.

Administrative executive Nurul Syafika Mohd Amrizal, 21, said she has also been selling pre-loved items, mainly dresses, on TikTok.

She wants to improve her cash flow to support her husband who works in the logistics sector.

“I need more money not only for myself, but also for my toddler, who requires baby food, milk and diapers,” said the mother of a one-year-old girl.

Nurul Syafika said she earned only around RM100 to RM200 in each live session.

“But it’s enough to buy meals for the family,” she added.

Freelance graphic designer Julia Raisha, 28, has had a tough time dealing with expenses since losing her job during the pandemic.

After being laid off, she started exploring freelance gigs and affiliate marketing on social media.

The job orders have been good, but Julia said it can be uncertain as many clients are also cutting costs and avoiding spending too much.

“Sometimes, I have to tighten my belt because I do not know when I will get another job order.

“Sometimes, I take on multiple jobs at one time. I have to pay for my car instalment, and also an education loan.

“It’s hard,” she said, adding her father also lost his job during the pandemic.

According to iPrice Group data, a single person in Kuala Lumpur needs about RM3,262 a month to get by.