January 24, 2014
Rocketing utility prices keep Australians awake at night
Recent findings from the 10th annual Mortgage Choice National Consumer Sentiment Survey revealed that renters and homeowners alike are concerned by increasingly costly electricity, gas and water bills, with two in three Australians (65%) saying they worry about the cost of their utilities.
In the survey, which canvassed the opinions of more than 1,000 Australians, utility bills beat out all other financial related worries including petrol prices (54%), job security (34%) and the state of the global economy (31%).
Local Mortgage Choice franchise owner Tim Roberts said the data was largely unsurprising given that the cost of electricity, water and gas have climbed by 83.8%, 59.7% and 55.6% respectively over the past five years, according to St Vincent de Paul Society’s latest Relative Price Index.
“The fact that utility bills have risen so substantially over the last few years is understandably a big concern for many Australians, but the start of the New Year marks the perfect time for them to amend their household budgets. Simple things like accounting for regular and essential expenses such as mortgage repayments, groceries and car services, will help ensure you don’t overspend month-to-month,” Tim said.
Commenting on how Australians can better manage their finances, Tim said, “By budgeting for utilities, and even over-budgeting in the summer months when electricity bills in particular are likely to be inflated, Australians can plan ahead and adopt strategies to stretch their finances.
“Australians should think about placing any money they save into a bank account with low fees and a good interest rate and leave it untouched.”
Across the country, the Consumer Sentiment survey found consumers in South Australia were most worried about utility bills at 73%, compared to 69% in Queensland, 65% in Western Australia, 64% in Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory and 56% in New South Wales.