CHOICE'S latest Consumer Pulse survey has found anxiety about the cost of food and groceries at its highest level in seven years, with over four in five households (83%) reporting concern. This is an increase of 19% in the past year alone.*
The nationally representative survey also found 86% of households surveyed reported price increases of essentials, the highest figure in three years. One in five households reported they were struggling to get by on their present income.
"Our new Consumer Pulse data is the latest indicator that households across Australia are doing it tough at the moment. Cost of living pressure has become a major issue and it is not hard to see why when almost 90% of Australians are seeing the price of daily essentials rise faster than their capacity to pay for them," says CHOICE Editor, Marg Rafferty (pictured above).
CHOICE has also released advice for people trying to make the most of their household budget with our new Guide to Everyday Saving offering more than 30 strategies for saving, all based on expert insights from our reviews and testing team.
Areas covered include saving at the supermarket, in the kitchen, and on energy and insurance bills. The guide also includes contact details for people facing financial hardship or who need to negotiate financial relief with banks and service providers.
Read the full CHOICE Guide to Everyday Saving here: www.choice.com.au/costofliving
Our top tips to reduce cost of living pressures include the following:
"One of the best tools for saving at the supermarket is to compare unit prices, or try out 'no name' brands rather than turning to familiar favourites. These things alone can cut down the cost of a weekly shop substantially."
"In the kitchen, reducing food waste can help make more out of household budgets. Buying the amount you actually need and storing food correctly can result in big savings. Food waste typically costs households a whopping $2,000 to $2,500 per year, so it helps to reduce it where you can."
"If you're worried about getting through all your groceries, freezing food is an easy and effective way to preserve shelf life. You can freeze sliced bread and defrost it as needed to make toast, or cut up those overripe bananas, freeze them and use them for smoothies."
"On the energy front, it's worth making sure you have the best deal available. This means renegotiating with your provider periodically and avoiding a 'loyalty tax'. The other big tip is to buy products with good energy ratings that don't pump up your quarterly bill."
"Insurance is complicated, and it's all too easy to end up with policies that are not tailored to fit your circumstances. Savings are on offer if you get the right cover for your situation. CHOICE offers a range of tools to determine if you need private health insurance and resources that cover home and car insurance. Shop around and find the cheapest deal you can."
However, while budgeting can help with your bottom line, it doesn't take away from people facing real financial hardship with current cost of living pressures.
"CHOICE recommends that if you're in financial trouble, reach out to the National Debt Helpline — a free, confidential and independent financial counselling that can help you manage your debts and get your finances back under control," says Rafferty.
Media contact: 0430 172 669, firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the full Guide to Everyday Saving here: www.choice.com.au/costofliving
*The CHOICE Consumer Pulse is a quarterly, nationally representative survey tracking financial pressures on Australian households, from the cost of groceries and petrol to concern over increasing insurance premiums and high energy bills. It helps put real figures to the problems we hear about from our members every day.
This survey was the 32nd in the Consumer Pulse series and was in the field from 22nd March to 7 April 2022. The survey was designed and analysed by CHOICE with fieldwork conducted by ISO-accredited research organisation The ORU. The number of responses was 1,034 - data has been weighted to ensure it is representative of the Australian population based on the 2016 ABS census data based on age, state, gender, household income and education levels.