Rising cost of living a worry for Australians

A majority of Australians have highlighted rising utility bills as their biggest financial concern for 2014.

April 08, 2014

A majority of Australians have highlighted rising utility bills as their biggest financial concern for 2014.

According to the inaugural Money Survey by Mortgage Choice, 54.8% of Australians admitted rising utility bills were their biggest concern, followed by job security (40%) and rising petrol prices (30%).

Mortgage Choice spokesperson Jessica Darnbrough said the results of the survey were largely unsurprising given that almost 90% of respondents indicated that their energy bills had surged over the past 12 months.

“The survey, which canvassed the thoughts and opinions of more than 1,000 Australians, found 88.3% of respondents have seen their energy costs rise over the last year,” Ms Darnbrough said.

“In addition, 88.2% of Australians said they had seen their day-to-day living costs skyrocket over the course of 2013. As such, it is no wonder the majority of the surveyed respondents highlighted rising utility bills as their biggest concern for the year.”

But while it is unsurprising to see so many people concerned about their rising utility bills, Ms Darnbrough said there are a few easy tips that Australians can implement to reduce the cost of their utility bills and ultimately feed some money back into their hip pocket.

Turn it off at the wall – Many Australians don't take the time to turn their appliances off at the wall when they are not using them. It may sound like a small thing, but switching your appliances off at the wall can help you cut standby power use and save you a significant amount of money. According to data from the Queensland Government's Department of Energy and Water Supply, the average household pays around $100 in standby power costs a year.

Environmentally friendly lights – Replacing your old light bulbs and fittings with newer, energy saving options such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can help save you money over the long term. Today, LED bulbs are available for standard fittings. They may be slightly more expensive to buy, but they have a life expectancy of 50,000 hours (or 50 years for the average Australian household).

Protect your home from draughts – With the cooler months fast approaching, now is the time to draught-proof your home. Sealing gaps around doors and windows can help you to stop the warm air from escaping in the winter. A ‘door snake', rolled up towels or newspaper can be used fix the draught problem in your home.

Wash in cold water – Washing your clothes in cold water can save you more than you think. Nearly all of the energy used by the washing machine goes into heating the water. So, if you want to save money and energy, consider washing your clothes in cold water. Your local supermarket will sell laundry powder that is suitable for use in cold water.

Out to dry - Hanging your clothes on a clothesline rather than putting them into a tumble dryer can help you reduce your electricity bills and ultimately feed money back into your pocket. Research conducted by the Australian Government found using a clothesline rather than a dryer once a week can save you $69 a year.

Ms Darnbrough said while these tips may sound simple, when they are put into practice they can help Australians to save a significant amount of money and markedly reduce their utility bills.

“Anything Australians can do to reduce their bills and ultimately ease their financial concerns is a positive,” she said.

If you would like more help managing your finances, call 13 77 62. Or, visit Facebook.com/MortgageChoice or Twitter.com/MortgageChoice.


*About the survey

Market research company Nine Rewards was commissioned by Mortgage Choice to conduct the 2014 Money Survey. The online survey was conducted in late February 2014 and completed by 1,064 Australians from a range of financial backgrounds including first homeowner, next homeowner, homeowner and investor, investor only and not a mortgage holder.

Important information

This article is for general information purposes only. It has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should, before acting on the advice, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.

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