Keeping the car running, a roof over your head and a trolley full of food are the main financial concerns keeping Aussies awake at night as the cost of living threatens to blow out of control in 2022.
New data from Canstar’s 2021 Consumer Pulse Report found that most Australians are worried about ordinary living expenses rising to an unmanageable level over the next twelve months.
According to the report, which surveyed 2000 Australian adults, the biggest financial pain points were the price of groceries (14 per cent), petrol prices (11 per cent) and the rising cost of rent (10 per cent).

Ordinary living expenses – such as buying groceries – are stretching household budgets to the absolute limit. (AAP)
The proportion of Australians who said they were living within their means fell to just 66 per cent, meaning more people than ever were stretching their household budgets just to cover ordinary costs.
Canstar’s finance expert Steve Mickenbecker told that normal wages were not rising fast enough to cover living in Australia.
“Everyday living costs are hurting the hip pockets of Australians,” Mr Mickenbecker said.
“Prices are rising faster than wages, making it tougher to put food on the table and fuel in the tank.”
Ordinary costs like fuel and childcare are stretching households budgets to the limit. (AAP)
Outside of a mortgage, credit card repayments remained the leading source of debt with those who rely heavily on credit finding themselves deeper in the hole than they were 12 months ago.
“The proportion of Australians with debt only slightly increased by one percent, but those who are carrying debt owe a lot more than a year ago, spiking by nearly $16,000,” Mickenbecker explained.
“While credit cards remain the biggest debt culprit, a growing number of Australians are accruing buy now pay later debt, and it’s not just the younger generations either.
“The debt story is not all doom and gloom, as the majority – 76 per cent – of Australians with money owing feel that they can manage it.”
The Australian dream of owning a home with a backyard is slipping away from even top earners in the biggest cities. (AAP)
Much has been made of Australia’s roaring property market – which notched up a record-breaking 21.9 per cent of growth in 2021 – with Mickenbecker noting that it’s the younger generations that will suffer the most.
“Canstar’s results show that younger Australians are perceived as being the most hard done by when it comes to buying their first home, though I suspect the debate will continue to rage for generations to come,” said Mickenbecker.
“Runaway house prices in 2021 are making the task of putting together a deposit still less attainable for first home buyers. In introducing higher capital requirements for banks, APRA will be hoping to slow housing price growth, but with banks already charging higher interest rates for investment, it may not be enough.
“If the Australian dream of home ownership is to survive this decade, we need to slow investment lending by easing the brakes on now. If next year is another year like 2021, there will be a need to slam on the brakes.”
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