The rise in cost of living may be biting, but there is one thing that Illawarra residents aren't giving up.
The Illawarra's specialty coffee consumption increased by 137 per cent year-on-year, with online orders from households across Wollongong, Shellharbour and the northern suburbs more than doubling in the past 12 months alone, according to figures from Melbourne roaster Padre Coffee - who supplies Illawarra cafes including Uncle Earl's in Wollongong and Smith's Lane Dairy in Wongawilli.
Farmborough Heights coffee aficionado and RDA Illawarra policy manager Alex Spillett said despite cutting back in other areas of his household budget, the supply of coffee beans was one that he was yet to touch.
Instead, Mr Spillett was purchasing more coffee to brew at home, rather than buying from a nearby cafe.
"The coffee machine is getting more of a workout these days than it used to," he said.
"I'm a pretty big coffee drinker - a three or four a day person - so going to the coffee shop and getting four coffees a day is an expensive exercise when they hit $5.50 for a large."
While the monthly rise in the cost of living peaked at 8.4 per cent in December 2022, according to ABS consumer price index data the general household budget was still getting squeezed at 4.9 per cent in July, the latest month for which statistics were available.
While the price of new dwellings was going down, the cost of electricity and rents was going up, adding additional pressure to households.
Mr Spillett said each energy bill his family received was a reminder to look for better deals, and that he was regularly checking the price of petrol to find the cheapest deal, but where it was the most noticeable was the weekly shop.
"You used to be able to go to the supermarket and $100 would get you quite a lot. Now you go and after four items you're sort of there already."
With the price of almost everything going up, households were continuing to cut back on spending, with discretionary spending going down by 3.3 per cent in July, the largest decrease since October 2020. Non discretionary spending was barely positive, rising by just 1.7 per cent in July, according to figures from the ABS, leading to a net negative result..
Robert Ewing, ABS head of business statistics, said households have curbed their spending over the past 12 months amid higher interest rates and inflation.
"This is the first time since February 2021 that the spending indicator has fallen," he said.
Households were most likely to cut back on furniture and household items, clothing and footwear and alcohol and tobacco.
Despite these trends, Mr Spillett said he was happy to keep purchasing his specialty coffee order from Padre and pumping through the pods at home.
"It's all about good graded coffee from a good roaster."
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