Warwick residents struggle under rising cost of living
CONSTANTLY rising costs of living and utilities coupled with wage rises struggling to keep up with inflation has left Warwick residents watching their spending like never before.
With electricity, water, childcare and petrol prices all soaring into new territory, people are becoming more cautious, turning to strict budgeting to control their finances.
Nursing student Simone Ford said her studying made things all that much tighter for her family.
"It means we now have to survive on one and a half incomes,” she said.
"We moved to Warwick from the coast for a cheaper way of life, to make it easier to get by.
"That was working until I started studying.”
Mrs Ford said the family adhered to a strict budget.
"We have to, there's no choice,” she said.
"We try to put money away for the unexpected, and things like bills, as well as trying to save for a house and a car and all those things.
"So once you pay for all those bills and try to save, there's not much left at the end of the day.”
Warwick financial planner, Unlocked Finance's Jacob Cadman said he felt a lot of people were struggling with a rising cost of living.
"Warwick is a fairly low socio-economic town, so wages are low, which makes things tougher across the board,” he said.
"Wages are so low compared to people's fairly high living standards.
"Most people these days, not only have the basic utilities, but the extras as well, Foxtel, Netflix, online gaming, all which leaves a lot less in the pocket at the end of the day.
"People just don't have spare money to be spending at the shops at the moment, I know a lot look for cheaper and more accessible shopping options online.”
Mr Cadman said those on a pension where barely scraping by.
"These are the people doing it really tough,” he said.
"They can barely cover their rent and then car registration comes along, it can be soul-destroying for these people just struggling to get by.”
Mum Bianca Zappa said she couldn't afford the extras.
"We have the basic utilities and that's it,” she said.
"We buy only what we need, what we want can wait till a better day.
"I just bought petrol, the prices are ridiculous, everything seems to be going up.”
Mrs Zappa said life at the moment was about living with her means.
"We have a budget and we try to stick to it,” she said.
"If we don't we could get into trouble.”
On the flip-side, Warwick Credit Union CEO Lewis Von Stieglitz said the bank hadn't noticed any changes in mortgage or personal loan arrears or overdrawn accounts.
"Interest rates are at historic lows, which offsets some of the rising costs people are experiencing day to day,” he said.
"Financial experts say we're in a low-wage growth time - which means that if the cost of living is rising faster than incomes, then there's possibility of trouble down the track.”
Despite that, Mr von Stieglitz said the bank and the town itself were seeing a good amount of economic activity.