Chief moneybags and Labor treasure (the Federal Treasurer) Jim Chalmers is at the printer, practising his soundbytes for the Jimsplaining of what’ll be the first Labor budget in this country since names like Rudd, Gillard, Hockey and Abbott were regular tools of Australian household linguistic violence.

Knowing his audience, the Treasurer has promised a “solid, simple and sensible” approach to a budget which is all about cost of living – both because and irregardless of global economic uncertainty, war, geopolitical upheaval and ranging inflationary pressures.


Oh yes, it’s bad out there. Australians are experiencing a significant lift in the cost of living – so here’s the ground-up count on the costs of living in Aussie in Q3 2022 compared to Q3 2021.

But first, from the BBC world service…

True fact: things are already so desperate down under – according to none other than the BBC – that Australians are getting rid of their pets in an attempt to cut out the absolute non-essential costs from their life.

And the Beeb says that means the Great Australian Pet is being shown the door.

“Official figures show that the cost of pet products in Australia jumped by almost 12% in the year to the end of June. That’s double the rise shoppers are seeing in prices for their own food and drinks,” a breathless BBC reported on Monday.

The Brit broadcaster which brought us such hits as the WMD-inspired 2003 invasion of Iraq and an illegally obtained interview with a vulnerable Princess Di, notes that while abandoning pets is an offence in Australia, (I would add that the idea is an offence to Australians) circumstances call for drastic, even offensive solutions.

Things are so bad down here that financial pressure is “leaving people in desperate situations”, says Rebecca Linigen from Four Paws Australia.

“Not only are animal surrender rates up, but some shelters across Australia are also reporting that adoption rates are down since 2021,” she told the BBC.

“This is a crisis in companion animal welfare for our nation, with real fears that animals will be abandoned on the streets to fend for themselves if they are considered a financial burden.”

The BBC adds grudgingly that it’s also a global phenomenon. The cost of pet food – ingredients of meat, grains and micronutrients – are all exploding over the last quarter.

Up by 10.3% in the US, 8.8% in the European Union, and 8.4% in the UK.

But at least they’re not apparently ditching their kitties in the aisles and tossing puppies to the sharks, unlike the inflation-struck, abandonist Australians.

Alyson Jones runs pet food banks and animal hospitals in the UK where she says Good English People are “going without food themselves to be able to afford food and vet care for their pets.”

And then, “even having to make the heartbreaking decision to rehome their beloved companion.” That’s tough and I don’t think it’s a reference to British PMs.

budget 2022
Modern Australian family prepares for dinner during interest rate tightening. Via Getty


Here’s some of your real pain points

Meanwhile, mass Aussie theriocide apart, it actually does appear we’re living in an inflationary world down here and it is hurting.

Local Open Banker, Frollo, is sifting through all the data picked up by its money management app-thingy, as the Labor government’s first budget drops and prices have been soaring over the past year.

Taking the intel from some 55,000 users of its gratis personal finance app, Frollo has compared the metrics in spend across Medical, Fuel, Groceries, Utilities, and Hospitality, detailing  actual cost of living increases for many Aussies.

The bottom line: our monthly spend on stuff classified as ‘essential’, like rent or mortgage, groceries (including pet food), insurance, fuel and medical, has surged by 19% in the last 12 months.

Other key findings included:

  • Monthly medical expenditure (not including insurance) has increased the most; a 40% increase from $207 to $290

  • Fuel spending has increased by 38%, from $100 to $138 per month

  • Grocery spending has gone up 24%, from $656 to $815 per month. And monthly spending on utilities (water and energy) has increased by 18%, from $170 to $200

  • There’s a post-COVID increase in hospitality spending. Compared to Q3 2021, Australians spend 37% more on restaurants, cafes, pubs and takeaway.


Everybody hurts

Monthly expenditure on these categories has increased from $403 to $687.

This is not surprising, according to Frollo’s head of product Kris Davant, given that many cities were in lockdown a year ago.

“The numbers show that many Australians are finding it challenging at the moment. Many of the things they’re spending more on are essentials like groceries, medical bills and utilities.

“With the holidays coming up, things will probably not get much easier any time soon,” Kris says, but not very cheerily.



Millennials sick of the doctor, Boomers almost out of fuel

Although the cost of living is increasing for all generations, specific age groups are impacted differently, Davant says:

  • Boomers: “The most significant increases for Boomers are on fuel and medical spending.  Fuel spending is up 45%, from $116 to $168 per month and medical spending is up from $298 to $413 per month (+39%)

  • Gen X: “…are spending 46% more on hospitality, the biggest increase of all generations. This is up from $558 to $813 per month. Their second biggest spending increase is on fuel, up 43% from $119 to $171 per month

  • Millennials: “…biggest percentage increase is on medical spending, up by 53%, from $154 to $234. Their second biggest increase is on hospitality spending, up by 38%, from $504 to $693 per month

  • Gen Z:  “Medical spending has also jumped significantly, albeit from a much lower base. Their medical spending increased by 47%, from $67 to $99 per month

According to Davant, each generation spent between 20% and 30% more on their monthly groceries in Q3 2022 compared to Q3 2021.



State vs State: utilities bills have doubled in SA

Not only are there differences between generations, but these differences also emerge across the states:


  • In the ACT, fuel spending has more than doubled (+130%) compared to 2021, from $70 to $162 per month.

  • Hospitality spending is up by 70%, from $408 to $694

  • The most significant spending increase in NSW was on hospitality (+141%), from $506 to $1,221 per month

  • In Queensland, the largest expenditure increase was on fuel, 51% up from $101 to $154 per month

  • South Australians spent 101% more on utilities in Q3 2022 than in Q3 2021. Their monthly utilities spending was up from $117 to $250.

  • SA residents also spent significantly more on fuel (+85%), up from $80 to $148 per month

  • Most spending categories increased by less than 20% in Victoria, except for hospitality.

  • Spending in this category was up by 42%, from $511 to $728 per month

  • In Western Australia, the biggest spending increase was on fuel, up 38% from $115 to $158 per month., while spending on utilities was flat year on year