Cost of living concerns two in three Aussies
They say money can't buy you love, but as most Australians are slowly realising, it sure does buy everything else. Consumer watchdog Choice recently released their Consumer Pulse Report which showed that 65% of consumers are making sacrifices to cope with the financial pressures of today's society. The report showed that Australian consumers are concerned with the current cost of living, with 85% stating that their household bills and expenses had increased over the last 12 months.
According to Choice, two in three Australians are worried about their level of savings, while 48% are worried about debt, and 50% are worried about interest rates. Our financial concerns seem to be having real effects, with 19% admitting to deliberately missing a bill payment, and 8% deliberately missing a rent or mortgage payment - just to get by.
The biggest cost concern was electricity, with 81% worried about their future bills. Between 2008 and 2014, the price of electricity across the country increased by over 80%. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), electricity prices rose by a whopping 18.3% between the March quarters of 2009 and 2010, and continued to rise progressively until the September quarter of 2014. The latest statistics show that the cost of electricity over the last year has dropped by 3.8%, having continuously fallen since the September quarter of last year. Concern around increasing electricity costs may be related to scepticism over new electricity privatisation plans in NSW, with the new legislation only passing in June earlier this year.
For those worried about the cost of living, creating and sticking to a strict budget will help you to better manage your finances. If you're in need of help, ASIC's MoneySmart website has some great tips on how to plan your budget. It also has a really neat budgeting app which you can use to track your spending as you go.