In a recent release, ethical fintech innovator Beforepay unveiled its much-anticipated September 2023 Cost of Living Index, offering a deep dive into the financial dynamics of the Australian landscape.
The report delivers a captivating look into the spending habits of Australians during this period.
The headline grabber? A noteworthy 1.3% month-on-month dip in daily average spending, sliding from $61.92 in August to $61.14 in September. This marks the second consecutive month of financial belt-tightening. These reductions were predominantly witnessed in discretionary spending, while non-discretionary expenses saw modest increases. Year-on-year comparisons painted a compelling picture, with daily spending registering a remarkable 4% increase compared to the same period in September 2022 when it clocked in at $58.81.
The star of the show in this financial drama was undoubtedly the surge in petrol and auto expenses. In September 2023, these expenses soared by a substantial 2.6%, reaching $8.30 from $8.09 in August. This ascent coincided with the meteoric rise in petrol prices that the nation experienced during September. Notably, this increase in September represents a whopping 3.9% jump compared to July’s $7.99 and a staggering 12.9% leap compared to May’s $7.35.
In response to the challenges posed by inflation and the escalating cost of living, Australians have been diligently cutting back on non-discretionary spending. For instance, daily average spending on groceries saw a 1.7% dip in September, landing at $15.34 compared to August’s $15.60. Conversely, utility expenses edged up by 1.1% month-on-month, settling at $6.21, an uptick from $6.14 in August. Notably, utilities also took the crown for the highest year-on-year increase, surging by a staggering 16.7% from $5.32 in September 2022.
However, amid these economic ebbs and flows, the September 2023 Cost of Living Index does offer a glimmer of optimism. Entertainment and leisure expenses, for example, witnessed a 2.1% boost in September, ascending to $3.35 from $3.28 in August. Nevertheless, spending in other discretionary categories appeared to hit the brakes.
The most striking month-on-month declines were observed in durable shopping, plunging by a substantial 4.5% to $6.77 from $7.09, and food and drink, which registered a 3.5% drop from $11.65 in August to $11.24 in September. Daily spending on general shopping expenses, encompassing items such as clothing, shoes, and consumer packaged goods, also dipped by 1.5%, settling at $7.36 from $7.47. Furthermore, fitness and health expenses witnessed a 1.2% drop to $2.57 from $2.60.
Jamie Twiss, the CEO of Beforepay, weighed in on the findings, stating, “Our latest Cost of Living Index reveals that average daily spending has exhibited a remarkable degree of stability over recent months. This is an encouraging sign that Australians are proactively adapting to manage the fluctuations in their living costs. Given the surge in petrol prices and the sustained uptrend in utilities, it’s an opportune moment for consumers to revisit their budgets and make necessary adjustments.”
Beforepay’s September 2023 Cost of Living Index is a comprehensive analysis, sourced from a robust dataset comprising more than 385,000 Australians. It encompasses a wide array of household expenditures, ranging from utilities and groceries to food and drink, shopping, petrol, and fitness and health, offering a panoramic view of consumer spending patterns across the nation.
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