Nine out of 10 (88 per cent) Australians find the cost of food puts more pressure on their finances than anything else, according to new research from comparison service comparethemarket.com.au’s inaugural “Spend-Sacrifice Report”. This cost anxiety is closely followed by fluctuating petrol prices (83 per cent) and being able to pay energy bills (78 per cent).
Despite more than three-quarters of respondents indicating they struggle to pay their energy bills, two-thirds (66 per cent) had never bothered to see if there was a cheaper plan available. Of those who had, they made an estimated saving of $31 per month (average).
“Many Australians are choosing to sacrifice their everyday pleasures rather than investigate their options for switching. Some 80 per cent of respondents admit they are probably paying too much for their energy or insurances, but said they simply don’t have the time to shop around,” said Abigail Koch, spokesperson for comparethemarket.com.au.
Instead, to save money, nearly half (45 per cent) of respondents taking leftovers into work for lunch in order to save, and one-fifth (21 per cent) saying barista-made coffees were a luxury they could no longer afford. Estimated savings for giving up on these little treats were $91 and $44 a month respectively.
“Switching does not have to be difficult and it can mean that you don’t have to give up on everyday pleasures in order to save. The easiest way to shop around is with the support of free comparison services such as comparethemarket.com.au, which enables you to compare like-for-like products in one place to see if there is a better deal out there for you,” says Abigail.
Other common household activities that people have sacrificed on in order to save:
- 20 per cent of people have cut back on the amount that they spend on alcohol, saving an average $72 per month;
- 15 per cent of people have stopped giving money to charitable causes, saving $137 per month;
- 10 per cent of people have cut back on overseas holidays, with 55 per cent of respondents choosing to work during public holidays to earn some extra cash;
- 7 per cent of people have cancelled their gym membership in order to save an average $43 per month;
- 5 per cent of people have cut back on going to the movies or hiring DVDs, saving themselves $26 per month.
“More than half (51 per cent) of respondents said they feel pressure to afford their healthcare and medical bills, so it is astonishing that of those with health insurance, only 10 per cent had bothered to switch in the last five years – a move that had saved an average $64 per month for the respondents who had done so,” said Abigail.
When asked what is causing people to sacrifice, nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of respondents said they have concerns about holding onto their job in the future. Some 65 per cent said that simply paying their mortgage or rent causes them pressure each month and nearly half (45 per cent) said that they are sacrificing things they love now as they are worried about their ability to provide for their family in the future.
These fears are causing more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of survey respondents to feel some degree of household budget pressure, with a quarter of these feeling extreme (8 per cent) or substantial pressure (17 per cent) to cut back on their monthly spending in order to make ends meet. Another common reason for sacrificing was saving to go on a holiday (35 per cent), and saving to pay off debts more quickly (30 per cent).
Comparethemarket.com.au is a comparison website that makes it easier and quicker for Australians to compare and buy products and services they rely on in their everyday lives. Whether you’re looking for a good deal on your car insurance, health cover for you and your family, the lowest fuel prices in your area, or an energy provider that suits your needs, then go to comparethemarket.com.au. It’s a completely free service and enables Australians to make purchasing decisions with greater knowledge, confidence and savings.