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Losing sleep, hair and their cool: 10 million Aussies suffer unexpected consequences from high cost of living

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From accelerated ageing to arguments with loved ones, the cost of living is taking its toll, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,070 respondents revealed more than half (52%) of Australians – equivalent to 10.5 million people – have endured personal setbacks due to financial stress over the past 12 months.

A third (33%) of Australians have lost sleep, while almost 1 in 5 (18%) have experienced early signs of ageing.

That's 3.6 million people who have noticed wrinkles, hair loss and grey hairs as a result of money woes.

The research found 19% have argued with a partner, while 1 in 10 (11%) have argued with family and friends as financial pressure builds.

A further 1 in 5 (19%) have suffered from stress related illnesses.

Graham Cooke, head of consumer research at Finder, said financial hardship is wreaking havoc on Aussie households.

"Despite cooling inflation, Australians are still under significant pressure due to the cost of living.

"This can be seen in Finder's Cost of Living Pressure Gauge, which has been hovering in the extreme range for the past year and a half."

Finder's research found women (62%) are much more likely to have suffered from money stress related issues than men (42%).

The youngest Australians are the most susceptible – with 69% of gen Z admitting they'd experienced financial strain. That's compared to 58% of gen Y, 53% of gen X, and 24% of baby boomers.

Cooke urged those struggling to take action.

"Money concerns can cause problems in your everyday life and snowball quickly if you don't get them under control.

"Building financial resilience is as vital as ever as costs continue to rise."

Cooke said the more control you have over your money the better.

"Pay close attention to where your money is going so you keep impulse spending to a minimum, and don't overspend.

"One of the best ways to turn the current economic conditions in your favour is to open a high-interest savings account.

"Make sure to grow your savings every month to give yourself a savings buffer against increasing costs," Cooke said.

Have financial worries caused you any of the following in the past 12 months?
Lost sleep33%
Arguments with my partner19%
Other stress related illnesses19%
Ageing (e.g. wrinkles, hair loss, grey hairs)18%
Arguments with my family and friends11%
None of the above48%
Source: Finder survey of 1,070 respondents, February 2024
*Respondents could select all that apply

Here are some budgeting tips to help you save money.

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