Feeling overwhelmed by a tight budget and growing costs? Cut down on these expenses

As interest rate rises put pressure on the hip pockets of households across Australia, professionals who help people with their finances say there are some straightforward tasks to work through that can help the personal budget.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) quarterly price review for 2023 shows the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages, education, recreation, and household furnishings and services rose by between 5 and 8 per cent in the 12 months to March.

Slowing inflation this week has given hope for a July reprieve from further rates rises, but in April the Reserve Bank acknowledged the “squeeze on household budgets is likely to continue for some time”, testing the resilience of households and businesses.

So we have asked a group of financial professionals for their top tips to ease the cost-of-living squeeze and to get on top of household budgets.

Shop around for a better home loan

The first step is to know what you’re paying, which can be found on your online banking or bank statements.

“There are two ways to do it,” financial adviser Ash McAuliffe says.

“Depending on your relationship with your bank, go back to your bank and ask: ‘What can you do for us?’

“But there’s a lot of value in going to the broker and saying, ‘This is what we’ve got, this is what our bank will do for us’.”