No wonder pensioners are doing it tough – new research shows just how expensive Australia has become 111



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Have you noticed that it’s getting harder to pay the bills? You’re not alone – and it’s not because you’re poorly managing your money, either.

Analysis by the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) has found that the cost of essentials such as household fuels, water access and rates have increased at a much greater rate than the consumer price index (CPI) over the past decade, leaving people on pensions or other allowances significantly short.

The ABC reports that the SACOSS found prices on the following were up more than double CPI:

  • Gas, household fuels 111pc
  • Water, sewerage 95pc
  • Property rates and charges 81pc
  • Medical costs 79pc
  • Electricity 78pc

There is some good news: clothing, computers, electronics and other household appliances have come down in price comparatively.

For those who are living on a tight budget and aren’t busy buying new TVs and fridges, the discrepancy is hard to take.

Lower-income households, including pensioners, spend proportionately more of their income on utilities, which are going through the roof.

SACOSS said the analysis showed that government support payments fell short of the financial pressures Australians faced.

“This is another blow for households living on hopelessly inadequate support payments. It means they are going backwards both in their own household budgets and in comparison with the rest of the population,” said SACOSS executive director Ross Womersley.

Tell us, do you find your bills are getting out of hand? Which bills or expenses have you noticed are creeping up?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. If Turnbull raises the GST you can add more onto the cost of them & other services.

    1 REPLY
    • Yeah, I can’t wait. An extra 15% on food that is exempt at the moment should put the nail in the coffin for some

      1 REPLY
      • It is an extra 5% Sue…….so for a $2 item you would pay an extra 10c……$100. groceries ($5 extra)…..however pensioners etc will get compensated….

        1 REPLY
        • What Sue said was, she would pay an extra 15% on Food that is presently Excempt and she is correct, your 5% is an increase of what we already pay 10% on.

          1 REPLY
  2. we are being stolen from by the big end of town, fuel, electricity, food ALL way over priced, we let greed take over and sat by doing nothing,.If i could i would have left Australia years ago. IT AINT WHAT IT USED TO BE !!

    1 REPLY
    • i have a couple of years left, not to many years now to sit frozen and hungry for many more winters.

  3. Most problems we hav are from relatives/friends that don’t hav the same careful environmental and cost saving ethics that we have as pensioners…..we welcome them then cry at the waste we witness…our prob

  4. I think insurances are the main culprit. I always shop around when I receive my renewal bill.

    3 REPLY
    • Yes Debbie, I find insurance be it house, car and health are so expensive. Also car rego. 😒

    • I have had to up my member contribution to paying the first $500 of any claim just so I can afford the premiums.

      1 REPLY
      • Ruth, I have multiple chronic illnesses. I am an inpatient for treatment every four weeks. It now costs me $255 per month(!) for my health insurance. And that’s as a single. My husband has his own single health insurance as his needs are less than mine. We’re looking at a little under $400 per month for both of us!

    • I agree that insurances are increasing at an astounding rate. Health insurance will soon be out of our ability to pay, house insurance – well we probably should stick with the one we have as at least we know they will pay if we get flooded and I look at our car insurance on a vehicle that we would only get about $1,000 for and think to myself – why?

  5. Kathy I have shared this. I am an ex-teacher/principal who is now retired. You have said it all – beautifully. Send to the Guardian, and the Saturday Paper.

  6. I agree that all these utility bills are astronomical…..I have just received car insurance renewal for more than $900!! However, I think the cost of food has gone up dramatically. Meat, especially, has sky.rocketed! We used to treat ourselves to a T.bone steak….but I noticed that they are now $10 per kilo more this week than they were before Christmas! Even the so.called “cheap” cuts are expensive. Minced meat now costs what T.bone did before Christmas!
    Seafood is also noticeably more expensive than in December.

    12 REPLY
    • We received that sort of car insurance bill a couple of years ago. We shopped around and eventually changed to Youi for half the price. We have been with them a couple of years now and this year our premium was $50 less than last year.

    • Some companies just up the renewal for current customers. I halved my insurance by cancelling my policy and renewing it with the same company. They rely on people just paying up

    • ‘The Checkout’ an ABC program had a segment on this, they called this phenomenon ‘the lazy shoppers tax’ 🌸

    • I agree Janice, we are vegetarians, cannot afford to buy meat. We go to the farmers markets to get our food, we spend less…eat better and most of all feel better.

    • The reason most insurances have gone through the roof are due to the huge volumes of claims for car accidents, thefts, floods and bush fires. We have had all our insurances for over 40 years and never claimed a cent but I know of people who almost use their insurance company as a bank . We cringe when we hear of floods and bushfires as we know it will cost us. In South Aust we also pay $286 a year for emergency service levy which doesn’t even include emergency ambulance cover

    • Got my car insurance $559! Gave the company a call and they insured me for $489! Shopping around for a cheaper option, no ways even more expensive. So good on my insurance company!

    • Debbie Bryant I got a quote from Youi.They just couldn’t beat the $489 from my company!

    • Debbie Bryant , we switched to Youii as well….and dropped our RACQ membership, why pay when you can get road service for free with Youii…or Alliance if you get your car services done at Auto leaders.

    • I pay everything I can on a weekly or fortnightly basis through Centrelink. Gas, Electricity, Phone, Water, Rent Internet etc. Even the school fees for the boys. One has just changed schools for VCE and that school although “cheaper” in fees has it’s hand out all the time for excursions and extras. The 2 left at CBC doing VCE have all excursions paid for in the fee structure. And I just found out that the VET subjects cost extra, one is $1500 for the year and the other $600 It is the only way I can manage to be able to feed them as well.

    • Joan Rowe it looks like your doing it very tough. I only hope the government doesn’t make it even harder for you when they increase the GST

    • Janice if uhave home insurance, my car insurance if on same policy , call now u may save $sssss

  7. Well, it’s nice to know that clothing, computers, electronics and other household appliances are down in price, but how would I know? I can’t buy any of those things because I’m trying to figure out how to pay my SET charges, the rates, the electricity, the water, prescribed meds. Other consumables, including often food, just fall off the shopping list.

    3 REPLY
    • You are so right i only buy clothes at the Millers end of season sale and then only in desperate need i buy the cheapest shoes that K Mart sells i do not buy electronic goods the ones i bought with a small legacy 8 years ago are still ok i do not go out to the movies or concerts at the club i cant even afford the bus fare to go there food is very carefully costed and bought in as small a quantity as is possible to survive on. And then the likes of Gina Reinhart and Rupert Murdoch and company have the gall to suggest i am a bludger and should have made adequate provision for my old age..mhow i dont know as superanuation was not offered to women when i worked and as i was on low wages i couldnot have afforded it anyway.

  8. Costs of necessary things like utilities are shocking. But one thing that makes me angry is that we have to pay such high prices for meat and vegetables when we are a country that has both these growing in abundance in our own country. Feed Australians first at reasonable prices then export at higher prices. If Turnbull raises GST we really will not be able to afford to eat on our pensions as we are all struggling now.

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