Australians are struggling to afford even basic necessities as prices skyrocket, according to new research.
Finder conducted a new nationally representative survey of 1,001 Australians, which revealed almost 1 in 5 (19 per cent) had had a transaction declined at the counter in the past three months.
That’s equivalent to 3.8 million Australians who are struggling with empty bank accounts.
The Finder research found 11 per cent had to abandon a purchase after coming up short at the till, while 8 per cent had to return items to the shelf in order to pay for their shop.
Sarah Megginson, senior editor of money at Finder, said Aussies were struggling as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.
“So many people are scraping the bottom of the barrel right now,” Megginson said.
“It’s really distressing to be in a position where you can’t afford your groceries or fuel.
“Australians are being left embarrassed at the checkout as increases to household bills means there’s just not much money left in the bank.”
Grocery bill stress hit a record high in August, with 37 per cent of Australians ranking groceries as one of their top three most stressful expenses.
Before 2022, the highest this figure had reached was 24 per cent, in June 2021.
Megginson said this year had created the “perfect storm” for Australians struggling with their finances.
“Soaring food costs, high energy bills and rising interest rates and rents are the three key areas that are hurting households the most right now,” she said.
Megginson said households should do whatever they could to ease the financial strain.
“Consider switching utilities and refinancing your home loan to reduce your monthly expenses,” she said.
“And if you’re really struggling to make ends meet, contact your bill providers and ask them about their hardship policies or payment plans.
“They can work with you to alleviate some stress and get on the front foot.”