In an more and more costly world, cash is on everybody’s thoughts. However speaking about cash is commonly taboo. So, we requested folks for you.

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From folks on authorities assist to these incomes greater than $250,000 a yr, more than 750 Australians across the country responded to an audience call-out asking readers to share their price range breakdowns and ideas on the cost-of-living disaster.

It is no secret many people are doing it tough, as you’ll be able to see by scrolling by the responses beneath utilizing the arrow on the underside proper …

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However regardless of some feeling like they are going by the disaster alone, many frequent threads emerged that contradicted cost-of-living stereotypes and grievances — for instance, that further revenue would resolve monetary woes, or that older generations are higher off than as we speak’s younger.

To provide you a peek into folks’s experiences, we have damaged them down into themes and tendencies — together with a handful of price range sheets — together with anecdotes and ideas many are utilizing to navigate a quickly altering financial system.

Housing, utilities, transport and meals

A photo of miniature people standing outside a miniature house.

Rising inflation, interest rates, rent hikes and energy prices are creating a perfect storm for a lot of Australians.

Rents, mortgages and meals have always been key household expenditures, however the simultaneous rising costs of petrol, groceries and utilities means each day habits are quickly shifting and emotions of uncertainty are setting in.

A photo of miniature people standing next to light bulbs.
  Power payments.
A photo of a miniature man next to a VW.
A photo of miniature people sitting on food.

“My month-to-month revenue is principally spent on hire, little one care and debt repayments,” says Lauren, who’s in her 30s and earns over $100,000 a yr working in finance in Western Sydney.

Lauren’s family price range 




30 per cent

Loans, Money owed, Payments & Utilities 

30 per cent

Groceries, Petrol

20 per cent


10 per cent

Different (Medical, Streaming Companies, Outings)

5 per cent

Financial savings

<5 per cent

NB: Prices are an approximate share of complete month-to-month expenditure and topic to variable change.

Her husband works part-time within the hospitality trade with a variable revenue, which the couple — who’ve a younger little one — allocate to petrol, groceries and outings after the non-discretionary bills are paid.

A photo of supermarket shopping.

“However we will not purchase them multi function store as a result of they’re all too costly so I’ve received to area them out.”

A automobile accident earlier this yr that was not coated by insurance coverage meant the household of three was pressured to take out one other surprising mortgage and resort to payday lenders or AfterPay when their price range did not stack up on the finish of the month.

The household is banking on tax time to hopefully get some a refund to assist pay down these money owed, and so they have in the reduction of on dear outings whereas allocating funds for streaming providers as a less expensive method to “unwind” at residence.

Which highlights the second key price range spend pattern after residing necessities:

Responsible pleasures

A photo of a miniature man watching TV.

Recreation, alcohol, gaming, streaming and journey — the second-biggest expenditure theme appeared to boil down to flee and leisure.

When taking inventory and watching the place the cash goes, a responsible pleasure is likely to be “paying for a gymnasium I barely go to” or “Magnum ice-creams” or boozy lunches “on the champagne [to recover] from aggravating work”. 

Streaming providers and meals deliveries have grow to be a post-lockdown mainstay for a lot of, whereas alcohol has grow to be a young spot — “frivolous however good” — within the budgets of those that can nonetheless afford it.

A photo of miniature people on a Nintendo.
A photo of a football with tennis balls.
A photo miniature people sitting on alcohol bottles.

Christine, a 74-year-old Wiradjuri widow and pensioner who often works with the AEC for further funds, says her responsible pleasures are a slice of cake and a go at the pokies. 

Christine’s family price range




35 per cent

Utilities and payments

30 per cent

Groceries, petrol, incidentals

25 per cent

Debt (bank card)

5 per cent

Recreation (Pokies, cake, and many others)

<5 per cent

NB: Prices are an approximate share of complete month-to-month expenditure and topic to variable change.

Christine retains her price range easy: “I take pleasure in my life. I’ve received meals in my fridge, I’ve received a automobile I can drive, I’ve received a cushty residence.” However she says she spends $50 on pokies when she goes, noting that something she wins she saves for one more day. 

“If I win, then I do know I can go once more the subsequent week,” she says. “However I do not sit there and simply put all of it again in there once more. I am unable to try this.

For a lot of others, take-out espresso or consuming out have grow to be responsible pleasures they will now not afford, whereas these with extra to splurge have booked ski holidays or taken to good bottles of pink to make winter extra cheery. 

A photo of miniature people sitting on takeaway coffee cups.
A photo of a miniature plane flying past an Eiffel tower.

The rising price of residing additionally appears to be encouraging some folks in the direction of higher habits, with the worth of tobacco being referred to as into query.

“Folks that do not price range however then smoke, drink and play the poker machines as properly — I do not understand how they do it,” Christine says.

“Individuals are getting wired and letting their psychological well being get them down.

“Speak to somebody as a result of every little thing builds up and turns into greater than it truly is and there are [people] on the market that may assist.”

Commitments and curveballs

A photo of a jar with teeth and pill boxes.

Life challenges — sickness, debt or divorce — and household commitments — insurance coverage or caring for these we love — loom massive on the budgets of these making an attempt to maintain up with rising costs. 

Some younger professionals juggling a mortgage and HECS debt on stagnant wages lament it is a dangerous time to be younger. Others on the pension or struggling to discover a path to retirement say it is also an inconvenient time to be older. 

A miniature photo showing Four Generations of Australians.

Kirsten lies in mattress at evening questioning if she’s going to grow to be “a kind of girls”.  

Kirsten’s family price range  



Mortgage, physique company

30 per cent

Utilities and payments

30 per cent

Groceries, petrol

30 per cent

Different (sponsorship, charities, recreation, and many others)

<10 per cent

NB: Prices are an approximate share of complete month-to-month expenditure and topic to variable change.

She presently earns about $60,000 per yr however a divorce and caring for an grownup daughter with an mental incapacity — after years of being out of the workforce, elevating youngsters and caring for an aged relative — means she has little tremendous and remains to be repaying a modest mortgage. 

“I am on the tip of my working profession, age-wise,” she says.

A photo of a miniature camper van and two miniature people.

“I’ve already received dangerous hips. 

“There is no going for espresso anymore. That was once our luxurious on a Saturday morning. My daughter and I might go have a espresso, a muffin, a Pepsi. Not anymore – that is almost $20.”

She shouldn’t be alone. Others say that within the present setting, one site visitors high quality or a miscalculated photo voltaic vitality price is all it takes to blow a price range out.

A photo of a miniature fine on a miniature car.
A photo of a miniature man holder a phone charger cord.

Some say they’re getting by by way of robust sacrifices or trade-offs — for instance, slicing off their web, winding again insurance coverage or opting to go to mattress as a substitute of turning on the heating. 

Others, nevertheless, counsel this is likely to be the silver lining as a result of whereas budgets are being commonly reconfigured, loads of ideas and examples of artistic monetary workarounds have gotten fixtures in Australian houses. 

What’s within the tip jar?

A photo of a tip jar.

For instance, to counter the worth of rising groceries, one South Australian man in his 60s recommends foraging in public parks. 

Up north, a younger couple in Queensland in want of a sofa in the reduction of on family prices by constructing one from recycled wooden.

A photo of miniature people pushing cherries.
A photo of miniature people building a couch.

Scroll by the gallery beneath utilizing the arrow on the underside proper to learn a handful of individuals’s ideas and options …

No matter your technique is likely to be — getting savvier on the grocery store, documenting expenditure, re-evaluating your utility suppliers, analysing expense sheets for tax deductibles, or refinancing your residence mortgage — many readers harassed the significance of managing expectations and remembering that nobody individual is experiencing the price of residing disaster alone.

A photo of miniature people playing with blocks.

Within the meantime, the ABC’s editor of Your Cash Defined, Emily Stewart — whose financial newsletter with tips and news can be subscribed to via this link — says if you’re struggling financially, there are locations to get assist.


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