Cost of living burns returning Australian expat as he asks how people survive

Aussies offer sad tips about how to survive Down Under after returning expat RAGES about ‘ridiculous’ cost of living where ‘cheap’ beers cost $10 and grocery prices are out of control

  • Returning expat looks at soaring prices and asks how people live in Australia 
  • In response Reddit users told their own stories of living on a financial tightrope
  •  Some offer helpful tips but a number admitting they have simply given up goals

The precarious tightrope many are walking just to survive amid out-of-control inflation has been laid bare in a social media thread responding to a returning expat’s shock at the prices in Australia.  

Reddit user jiggjuggj0gg’s post has generated 1600 replies with many confiding their own struggle to make ends meet or how runaway costs have forced them to abandon life goals.

‘I’ve just come back to Aus after three years thanks to the pandemic,’ the post reads.

A returning expats shock at the high prices in Australia, such as $10 beers during 'happy hour', led him to ask how people are surviving (pictured stock image)

A returning expats shock at the high prices in Australia, such as $10 beers during ‘happy hour’, led him to ask how people are surviving (pictured stock image)

An astonished expat Reddit user everything seemed double the price in Australia it was before Covid

An astonished expat Reddit user everything seemed double the price in Australia it was before Covid

‘Everything is about double the price. Some things are just laughably, outrageously expensive.

‘I saw a round of mini golf for $40. Happy hour beers are $10 ($15+ otherwise). And don’t get me started on accommodation.

‘I know wages are fairly high here but… not that high? 

‘How on earth are you guys surviving out here? I was planning on staying a year or so but I genuinely don’t know if I can afford it.’

Many of the responses were brutally honest. 

‘How on earth are you guys surviving out here? A great many of us aren’t,’ one Reddit user said.

‘Yes. I mean, if anyone walks through the CBD it’s quite obvious,’ another replied.

Some were prompted to tell similar horror stories of mind-boggling prices.

‘I took my two daughters bowling the other day and it cost me over $100 for the three of us to play 2 games, a drink each and chips,’ one commenter said.

Some admitted they were talking a tightrope of survival. 

‘I’m doing okay, but what used to cost about $40 per week in groceries now costs about $120,’ another replied.

‘My insurance has increased 40% in 2 years. Rent 55%. I’ve cut ALL discretionary spending, even though I work full-time and make decent money. I won’t even treat myself to a drink at the servo anymore. It’s kind of like, what’s the point. I sit at home 99% of my free time.’ 

‘It’s getting tough,’ another replied.

A number of Reddit users came forward with helpful household hints on how to live frugally

A number of Reddit users came forward with helpful household hints on how to live frugally

‘Our weekly grocery shop came to $320 last week and my partner cried in the car on the way home. If I couldn’t work extra overtime when I needed I don’t know what we would do. ‘

There was some debate over whether it was economically better to be single or in a couple, with a number admitting they couldn’t afford to date or have a social life.

‘I stay home, stay single, stay hungry and it mostly works,’ one reply read.

‘The only way I can afford a roof over my head right now is because I’m in a couple,’ another said.

Some people admitted that they were forsaking the 'great Australian dream' of homeownership because they thought it was financially out of their reach

Some people admitted that they were forsaking the ‘great Australian dream’ of homeownership because they thought it was financially out of their reach

One person admitted they had been forced to return to a situation of domestic violence because of economic necessity. 

 ‘I can’t (survive),’ the Reddit user said.

‘Left a domestic violence relationship with kids only to be threatened with homelessness so went back for a bit. 

Ended up buying a cheap (still a few thousand) caravan and am now living on the road with my two kids under two. 

‘It is cheaper than renting and I don’t have to deal with landlords. Things are still a struggle but sometimes I have savings too which is nice.’

There seems to be little foreseeable relief for those suffering bill shock with inflation still roaring away, according to the most recent figures

There seems to be little foreseeable relief for those suffering bill shock with inflation still roaring away, according to the most recent figures

Some said they had said goodbye to the ‘Great Australian Dream’ of owning their own house because they thought it out of reach.

‘Housing is so unaffordable so people literally don’t give a sh*t about their savings or debt,’ one said.

‘There’s no point conserving when there’s nothing to conserve.’

‘I have just given up on any prospects of owning a home or having kids which 5 years ago I had listed as my main goals in life,’ another wrote. 

‘It is incredibly demoralising knowing I have almost nothing to look forward too so I might as well just spend my savings and enjoy what I can.’

Others also admitted the prospect of family was slipping away.

‘I make my own coffees or rely on the coffee Nespresso machine at my work. I buy and/or make my own snacks in advance such as apple pies, orange sorbet, scones, bread, etc. I cook my own dinners.

‘I walk home several evenings a week instead of paying for public transport.

‘I have my own container garden of herbs, fruit and vegetables.

‘I cannot afford to date, marry or have any children so I don’t even try anymore.

‘I have a post-graduate education and a full-time job in middle-management. Also a mortgage.’

The Australian Bureau of Statistics' monthly consumer price index showed inflationary pressures remain strong, with housing the largest contributor to the November figures

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ monthly consumer price index showed inflationary pressures remain strong, with housing the largest contributor to the November figures

A number of people weighed in with practical tips. 

‘Staying hungry isn’t going to help you mentally or physically, stock up on veggies, they’re dirt cheap, and five serves of meat isn’t going to cost much,’ one Reddit user said.

‘Pork is pretty cost effective, same as slow cooked, lower tier cuts of beef. Buy a whole chicken and part it out then freeze it for multiple meals. Staying home is the biggest saver. Pick up gaming socially online for a social fix.

‘Good luck with living happy my friend.’

A number of people admitted that they were now blowing their savings because buying a house seemed out of reach

A number of people admitted that they were now blowing their savings because buying a house seemed out of reach

Another user also chipped in with a handy list of tips 

‘Shop smart. I know the meat markdown times at my local shops, and regularly fill my freezer with 90% off meat,’ they said.

‘Coles and Woolies I go through all the half price sales each week and stock up enough to last a month or so. Only buy seasonal fruits and veg.

‘I rarely eat out, and if I’m too lazy to cook I find offers. Recently was getting 40% off Doordash – do that with pickup instead of delivery and you’re getting cheap takeaway. Frugal feeds is your friend.’

There appears to be little price relief on the way with inflation surging back to 7.3 per cent in the 12 months to November after a weaker read in October.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ monthly consumer price index showed inflationary pressures remain strong, with housing the largest contributor to the November read.

Housing costs lifted by 9.6 per cent over the 12 months to November, food and beverage prices increased by 9.4 per cent and transport surged nine per cent.

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