Australians have revealed the non-essential items they refuse to stop spending money on despite soaring cost-of-living pressures.
Households budgets are being tightened as groceries, petrol prices and electricity bills hover near record highs, while those on mortgages have seen their monthly repayments skyrocket as the Reserve Bank fights inflation by hiking the cash rate.
Grocery non-profit Foodbank recently released data to show that Australian internet searches for ‘find food’ have jumped from about 4,000-a-month in August 2022 to more than 24,000-a-month this year.
But there are still some ‘luxury’ items that Australians say they refuse to give up, despite likely having to clamp down in other areas.
A Redditor received a flood of comments when he posed the question on Wednesday: ‘What’s the discretionary spend you’ll never cut from your budget?’
Australians are having to trim down their budgets as the cost of groceries and bills soars
Many of those responding to the question said they refuse to cut back on their gym membership and the associated costs such as gym attire and supplements.
‘Gym membership is a non-negotiable for me,’ one person declared.
‘Group fitness,’ agreed another.
‘I do Jiu jitsu and the wife goes to a fitness class. Costs us about 5k a year, but the mental and physical benefits, especially with a young family, are priceless.’
Another commenter said they paid for a subscription to the running app Strava because ‘it motivates me to keep running and stay fit and I’ve gotten much out of it throughout the years.’
Other app subscriptions, especially media streaming services, were considered essential by many people.
‘Streaming services for me; Audible, Spotify, and two TV ones,’ said one person.
Another added Netflix was something they refuse to cut back on.
Fresh grocery ingredients rather than cheap processed foods also seemed to be a popular one.
‘Eating healthy. I used to be 102KG at the start of Feb, now around 71KG and I’ve never felt better,’ one person said.
‘Good quality (to me) groceries. I prefer organic and don’t eat chocolate a lot, but if I do it’s Cadbury/Lindt,’ another said.
As were holidays with one commenter explaining that ‘It doesn’t have to be an expensive holiday, 90 per cent of my holidays are camping or backpacking.’
Streaming services such as Netflix were an absolute must for many people
One person said their video gaming hobby was something they couldn’t do without as it cost under $100 a year and gave them ‘100s of hours of entertainment’ and kept them from going out and spending money from being bored.
A few users said getting in a house cleaner a couple of times a month was ‘worth it’ while golf and hot showers also rated mentions.
One person said using quality tradesmen and mechanics was better than ‘going cheap’ while others said any costs associated with their pets was a must.
One person said social activities were a must.
‘I’m single, so I tend to go out quite a lot. It’s usually just to gigs, but also dinners/lunches with girlfriends. If I cut back on this, I’d probably be pretty lonely as I also live alone.’
‘Skincare and sunscreen,’ another said.
‘I’d rather the chance of looking 20 oer cent better in 40 years than save myself a couple hundred dollars each year and feel not my best in my old age/not take care of my skin.’
While there were also a few more unusual responses.
‘Craft beer,’ one person said.
‘I don’t drink as much as I used to. But I enjoy it too much to let it go, I haven’t purchased a slab in months but I go to my local once a week and have between 1 and 4 beers depending mood/what they have on tap.’
‘Scalia Anchovies in extra virgin olive oil,’ another said. ‘They don’t even come out of my discretionary budget. It’s a living expense as far as I’m concerned.’
A poll released this week shows many Australian voters are worried about the cost of living.
They are now less likely to back the Labor federal government according to the survey, although Anthony Albanese remains the preferred prime minister.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s Labor government is feeling increasing frustration from voters over the cost-of-living crunch (pictured in the Cook Islands this month)
Some 50 per cent expect the economy to become worse in the next three months, a Resolve poll published in Nine newspapers on Monday shows.
More than half – 52 per cent – say the cost of living is their biggest priority, up from 32 per cent at the end of last year.
Labor’s primary support has fallen to 35 per cent, from 37 per cent in the past month, against the coalition which slipped to 30 per cent from 31 per cent.
The value of goods and services sold by Australian retailers grew by a robust 0.9 per cent in September, much higher than the 0.3 per cent uplift forecast by markets.
The firmer September result followed a few lacklustre months, with retail trade as tracked by the Australian Bureau of Statistics growing 0.3 per cent in August and 0.6 per cent in July.
The ABS ran through a long list of reasons for the stronger set of retail numbers, including the release of the new iPhone and the introduction of an energy-saving appliance rebate program in Queensland.
ABS head of retail statistics Ben Dorber said the warmer-than-usual spring weather also played a role, prompting more spending on hardware, gardening and clothes and supporting a 1.7 per cent lift for department stores.
There were also major events such as the FIFA women’s World Cup which provided a temporary boost to spending.