CHOICE's latest Consumer Pulse survey has found 90% of Australians have seen their household bills and expenses increase over the past year.*
The nationally representative survey also found that concerns around disposable income were up, now felt by almost three in five households. 23% of households are struggling to get by, up from 18% in June 2021.
"Cost of living pressures continue to be a major issue for Australians with our latest Consumer Pulse data showing 23% of households are struggling to get by, which is up from 18% in June last year. Almost all households are feeling the pressure of price rises, with 90% of Australians reporting they have seen their household bills and expenses go up," says CHOICE Editor, Marg Rafferty.
CHOICE has compiled a range of articles and guides in one place to help Australians save money, filled with practical tips and advice for anyone experiencing financial stress or looking to make the most of their household budget.
Read CHOICE's top tips for saving money here: www.choice.com.au/savingmoney
Unsure where to start? CHOICE has put together our top five tips on things you can do right now to save you money in the future:
1. Switch or downgrade your health insurance
"If you haven't looked for a better deal on your health insurance, now is a great time. Our research shows you can save up to $935 a year on hospital cover by switching to a similar policy with a different provider. It's also a good idea to consider switching or downgrading your health insurance if you're paying for cover you don't use," says Rafferty.
2. Review your utilities
"Consider reviewing your gas or electricity plans. There's a chance you could be getting a better deal elsewhere so it always helps to spend some time comparing what's on the market. If you're struggling to pay your utility bills, talk to your provider. Many providers offer relief measures and payment plans," says Rafferty.
3. Renegotiate and refinance your loans and credit cards
"Don't forget you can always call up your bank and ask for information on relief options if you're having problems repaying loans or credit. See if you have the option to defer repayments or reduce rates and fees. If you have a loan, it's worth investigating whether or not you could save by refinancing to get a better deal," says Rafferty.
4. Review your monthly spending
"Getting your head around your monthly spending is an easy way to understand where your money is going and make plans to save where you can. Look at how you spend, listing your regular outgoings and ranking them in order of necessity, from must-have to nice-to-have. Cutting back on even one small expense like takeaway food or coffee can make a huge difference," says Rafferty.
5. Ask for help
"If you're struggling to keep up with bills, a good first step is to talk to the company billing you. If you're experiencing financial hardship, you can get in touch with the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 and speak to an independent financial counsellor," says Rafferty.
Read the full article on five things to do now that will save you money later
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*CHOICE Consumer Pulse June 2022 is based on a survey of 1083 Australian households. The data has been weighted to ensure it is representative of the Australian population based on the 2016 ABS Census data for age, state, gender, household income and education levels. 2021 Census raw data were not available at the time of analysis. Fieldwork was conducted from 13 to 28 June 2022.