Transport costs are driving up living expenses

Alison Banney 3 May 2017

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But now's the time to buy a new couch.

The cost of living for most households in Australia increased in line with the consumer price index (CPI) during the March 2017 quarter, according to the latest data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). In the three months to March 2017, the CPI increased by 0.5%, as did the living costs of Australian employee households.

The ABS’s Selected Living Cost Index (LCI) for March 2017 revealed that the increase in living costs for employee households was largely due to surging transport costs, which increased by 1.6% in the quarter. This rise was driven by the increased cost of automotive fuel, which is a result of rising oil prices around the world.

Another factor contributing to the increased cost of living is the cost of insurance and financial services, which saw a 1.4% increase during the quarter. This was largely driven by mortgage interest changes, which are not included in the CPI.

The increased automotive fuel and insurance costs were somewhat offset by the fall in household equipment and furniture prices, which saw a decline of 0.9% in the quarter. The ABS attributes the reduced cost of furniture to post-Christmas specials and store discounts as merchants attempt to clear stock.

While the LCI for employee households rose in line with the CPI this quarter at 0.5%, over the last 12 months the LCI for employee households rose by 1.5% while the CPI rose by 2.1%.

If your increased living costs are affecting your ability to save, check out our free budget planner guide and get your savings back on track.

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