Research from Compare the Market’s new Household Budget Barometer has revealed the nation’s surprising financial fears for the next 12 months.
According to the report, the cost of groceries, energy and fuel are the bills that Australians believe will cause the most pain in the next year. In fact, a whopping 66.4 per cent of Aussies believe their grocery bills will worry them, two-thirds (61.2 per cent) think electricity and gas bills will cause pain at the hip pocket, while just over half (53.1 per cent) believe they’ll feel the pinch at the petrol bowser.
Baby Boomers are most likely to believe they’ll be stressed by the cost of groceries and energy bills, while it’s Gen Z who believe rising fuel prices could stop them in their tracks.
How do we compare to other countries?
Australians aren’t the only ones fearing these everyday costs over the next 12 months. In Canada, 65.6 per cent of people believe grocery prices will worry them within the next 12 months, 46.7 per cent believe they’ll struggle with rising petrol prices and 40.3 per cent think they’ll be concerned by energy bills.
While in the US, it’s less severe, with 46.2 per cent anticipating concern around groceries, 40.3 per cent fearing rising energy bills and 39.7 per cent foreseeing financial issues around fuel costs.
The data also found that around a third of Australians believe their mortgage repayments (30.3 per cent), car insurance (30.3 per cent) and cost of healthcare (29.5 per cent) will cause them worry within the next 12 months.
Mortgage repayments top of mind for Millennials
The statistics show that it’s Australian Millennials who are the most concerned about mortgage repayments in the next 12 months. Baby Boomers most anticipate their car insurance premiums and the cost of healthcare will cause them financial stress over the next year.
Interestingly, just one in 10 Americans believe their mortgage repayments will cause them worry (because they can lock into 30-year fixed mortgages and not many are on variable rates), while around 15 per cent of Canadians feel mortgage pressure.
Fewer Americans anticipate health costs causing financial pain in the next 12 months (22.2 per cent compared to 29.5 per cent in Australia), while it’s lower again in Canada (at just 16.4 per cent). Remember in the US health insurance is mostly paid by employers.
The data also shows that a higher percentage of Australians anticipate concern around the rising cost of home and contents premiums, but North Americans are more likely to believe their phone and internet bills, cost of child activities and life insurance will be bigger stressors.
How to reduce financial stress
Compare The Market’s top tips to reduce household financial stress are:
Think outside the box when it comes to saving
While putting money aside for a rainy day is a great way to save, it’s not the only one. With electricity prices rising, you may be able to claw back cash by switching to a cheaper plan. Similarly, if you’ve been hit with an insurance renewal, don’t just accept it. Be sure to do your research and see if a better deal is available.
Maximise your rewards
See if you’re eligible for any rewards or offers from your insurance providers, energy retailers, takeaway outlets, telcos and supermarkets. For example, you may earn points for every dollar you spend, which can be redeemed for services and goods. You may also be eligible for discounted movie tickets, entertainment options, dining experiences and more.
Whether it’s your weekly grocery shop, insurance products, beauty services or more, be aware that different businesses set their own prices for their goods and services. Before making a purchase or locking in your next appointment, check for the discounts available and don’t pay more than you need to.
Switch, don’t ditch
Rather than giving up things completely, see if you can save in other ways. For example, are there alternatives to your current services with a smaller price tag? When it comes to insurance, are you paying for a higher level of cover that you don’t need? If the answer is yes, there could be room to save.
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