The cost of living weighs on many Australians

by Julia Corderoy11 Aug 2014
Australian consumers are becoming increasingly worried about the high cost of living, according to new research performed by CHOICE. The main concerns relate to electricity, fuel, food and health.

The survey revealed that 48% of respondents said their bills had increased substantially over the past 12 months, while 41% said they had noticed a slight increase in their bills. Only 8% said they hadn’t noticed a change in their expenses over the past 12 months.

CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland said it was concerning that one in three survey respondents reported they have trouble getting by on their current income, and one in five said they often can’t make it to pay day and have to live off credit or borrowing money from family or friends.

"This reveals some striking concerns with cost-of-living, which is perhaps not surprising at a time when inflation is outstripping sluggish wages growth, retail sales are fragile and the political debate remains focused on household expenses," Kirkland said.

In an attempt to make their money go further, the survey revealed that 62% had cut back on non-essentials, but almost half of respondents (46%) claimed they even had to cut back on essential household items to get by. 

Australia’s biggest concern is the price of electricity, with 84% of respondents concerned about the rising price of energy. This is followed by fuel (81%), food and groceries (77%) and health and medical services (71%).

Gen Y’s are mainly concerned about the cost of university (84%), especially considering the announcement in the Federal Budget to deregulate university fees, and the cost of public transport (54%). 

The survey was conducted nationally, collecting data and comments from 1,000 Australians across the demographic spectrum.