An exclusive ACM survey of 713 readers has revealed the heavy burden of the cost of living crisis on ordinary Australians.
A majority of respondents to the survey or 93.27 per cent agreed that households were in the thick of the crisis while only 34 per cent of people said they felt financially secure.
You shared your experiences of your household's financial pain and we listened. Read the results of the survey below.
Some respondents said they were insecure in their jobs with 8.45 per cent reporting they were unemployed and 11.55 per cent feeling insecure about their employment status. Many readers expressed fears for their young families and their alarm as barriers to home ownership increase.
Many of our readers said their grocery shopping habits had changed. A staggering 44.32 per cent said they were now more conscious of price fluctuations and 14.31 per cent said they went to multiple supermarkets to get the best deal.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics consumer price index results for March 2023 showed food prices continued to rise driven by fruit and vegetables and snacks and confectionary.
ABS head of prices statistics Michelle Marquardt said food prices were driven by unfavourable weather conditions in the last year.
"Potato shortages due to wet weather in key growing regions late last year led to price rises for both potato crisps and frozen potato products, while higher edible oil and packaging prices also contributed to the rise for a range of snack products," said Ms Marquardt.
"Fruit prices rose due to damaging weather in apple and avocado growing regions late in 2022, as well as typical seasonal rises for apples and citrus."
A vast majority of respondents felt the government should be doing more to curb rising interest rates. After several consecutive rates rises from the Reserve Bank readers said housing affordability and rental stress were significant concerns for them.
Rising interest rates troubled 46.67 per cent of respondents who said they were unsure how the situation would affect their finances. Another 24.68 per cent said rising interest rates added worry to how their mortgage payments would be met.
The Greens are pushing to freeze interest rates and rent hikes as campaigners say Australia is facing its biggest housing crisis in living memory. Forty organisations including the Australian Council of Social Service and Anglicare Australia have signed an open letter to federal treasurer Jim Chalmers calling for action on housing affordability.
Indeed, 65.54 per cent of our readers said they dreaded the arrival of large bills like electricity or rates.
Many respondents said they were doing it tough. Some said they were operating day to day, unable to think about the future, others said their pensions did not cover their basic living costs.
One young mother in her 30 said she was accessing food banks to ensure her children could eat, and that she had no additional funds for entertainment.
Finance Minister Katy Gallagher said the budget would seek to ease financial pressure for as women and single parents.