Most days I live in fear of my letterbox. The bills arrive with regular monotony. It seems I’ve only just got one paid and the next is clamouring for attention.
A new study out suggests that perhaps the cost of living isn’t really going up we are just living bigger lifestyles. The study by National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling at the University of Canberra and AMP, found working couples with children were $328 a week better off in real terms than in 2003.
Although the study acknowledged a rise in prices for electricity, mortgages, medical services, petrol, fruit, bread and vegetables they reckon it’s offset by falls in the cost of computers and audio-visual equipment. According to the report Prices These Days! The Cost of Living in Australia, we are spending more on discretionary items such as private school, restaurants, prepared food and holidays but the actual spending on necessities hasn’t seen a large increase.
Personally, I feel the bills are bigger than in the past and there is more of them. The massive explosion in technology sees us now spending money on mobile phones, internet connections, ink cartridges. While you don’t have to have the latest and greatest in computer product we have found you do need to be connected. Schools assume children have access to the internet and a decent computer, there seems to be no concessions for those who don’t have those basics. I never imagined I would find myself considering purchasing laptops for my children, but next year both will be in high school and the demand for our single computer will need more negotiating than an international peace-keeping mission. There will naturally be an increase in costs associated with having three computers operating.
We are now a family of four mobile phones – with the children now catching buses and getting themselves to various activities we struggled with not being able to contact them – hence they both now have phones, which although they don’t get used that often, do require payments to keep in credit.
So how’s it feel in your household – on top of it all – feeling like there is plenty of money to go around?