The cost of living crisis is unlikely to abate any time soon and the worst may still be yet to come. Even before the crisis started, pensioners and those receiving government assistance were often struggling to afford groceries. Nowadays, even Australians who are working full-time are swiftly finding themselves in the same situation.
According to Australia’s most-visited financial comparison site, Finder, Australian households are now paying thousands of dollars more for groceries per year. Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker has discovered that the average Aussie household spent $185 on their weekly grocery in February 2023.
This is up $37 a week compared to February 2022. Per year, that’s a whopping $1,924 increase per household over the past 12 months – or $18.8 billion more nationwide.
Graham Cooke, head of consumer research at Finder, said grocery bills are putting a huge strain on household budgets.
“Food prices have skyrocketed over the past couple of years and despite overall inflation slowing down, high prices at the grocery store are a major pain point for consumers,” Cooke said.
According to news.com.au, the price of groceries only gets worse the more people are in a household. A recent Facebook group post about groceries produced some telling responses.
The original poster lives in a two-person house and is signed up for supermarket rewards as well as frequently comparing supermarket prices. Despite this, she still spends $200 a week on groceries.
“Is that normal? I know the cost of living has gone up, but holy cow,” she asked.
Another poster was spending up to $400 a week on groceries for a household of six people, with four kids.
A tweet by an Australian shopper about the cost of their shopping also went viral very recently.
This is crazy. Why is Australia’s cost of living so high? Will it come down? pic.twitter.com/9GIAn4Vr9G
— Clown Down Under 🤡 (@clowndownunder) November 13, 2023
Sarah Megginson, money expert at Finder, offered a few methods to reduce grocery prices.
“Stick to a shopping list so you aren’t wasting money on unplanned purchases. If you can, go shopping later at night, an hour or 2 before the supermarket closes, when meat and poultry is discounted by up to 80%,” said Meggison.
“Stock up on staples when they’re on sale and compare prices of big-ticket items like washing detergent and pet food online,” she continued.
She also suggested getting the most out of reward programs.
“Now is also a great time to sign up to supermarket reward programs. If you’re buying groceries anyway, you might as well earn points on your spend. You can then use these points to get cashback off your shop or convert them into frequent flyer points,” Meggison said.
Previous Finder research found 9 per cent of Aussies have stolen items from the supermarket at the self-checkout. They also discovered that 10 per cent have cheated at the self-serve checkouts by deliberately lying about what they have scanned.