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Surprising items Aussies are going without as cost of living keeps rising

It's not just luxury items Australians are going without, with many households cutting back on grocery staples.

A tomato display at a Coles supermarket in Melbourne as the cost of living rises.
The cost of living has Aussies cutting back on household staples like cereal, meat, and fresh produce. (Source: Getty)

Australians have taken to social media to share what they're cutting back on in the face of rising inflation - and it's not pretty.

Although discretionary spending, such as streaming services, eating out, takeaway coffee and alcohol all got a mention, many households are also apparently cutting back on grocery staples like cereal, meat and fresh fruit and veggies - things most Australians once took for granted.

Posting to the r/Australia subreddit, user HalfManHalfCyborg asked what people had stopped buying recently due to price increases, and the responses came thick and fast, with the post attracting more than 450 replies in just a few hours.

"Cereal. One of those larger sizes... cost over $9 now," commented one user, attracting hundreds of votes.

"That's one of the worst things imo," agreed another Redditor. "I want to eat breakfast every day and I don't especially want something hot or cooked. Cereal to the rescue, right? Ten bucks a box... Flaked wheat is a luxury now?"

Some people said they'd stopped buying certain fruits like watermelon.

"I love watermelon, but I'm not paying $20+ per melon. It's ridiculous," wrote one group member, while others said they'd had to cut back on fresh fruit and veg altogether and were shopping less, generally.

"Cutting back a lot on fruit and veg... Stuff is just way too expensive," one Redditor wrote. "I no longer do a weekly shop. I just do every now and then, and only what I need for the next few days."

Another staple people are skipping is meat, with numerous Aussies saying they can no longer afford even common cuts.

"Even mince seems pricey now," commented one user, with another admitting they'd "become an economic vegetarian".

A third Redditor reminisced on seemingly distant memories of days of plenty.

"I remember growing up as a kid and always having so many lamb cutlets and T-bones when BBQ'ing that you'd have leftovers for a week, even for a lower-income family. Cutlets are now priced like Rolex watches for a bit of meat and bone. WTF."

Petrol prices displayed at a petrol station in Sydney, Australia
From the petrol pump to the dinner table, more Australians are seeking help from financial counselling services. (Source: Getty)

Deb Shroot, a financial counsellor with Financial Counselling Australia, said she noticed a big change around early March when fuel prices began to spike.

"It started with fuel prices soaring above the $2 mark, followed by eight consecutive interest rate rises and rising grocery prices – that has all combined to really put the squeeze on people’s spending," Shroot told Yahoo Finance.

"We've seen a steady increase in people seeking financial counselling and people really cutting back on what they'd otherwise consider essentials, such as home, car and health insurance. That has led to an increase in people coming to us with uninsured car accident debt, for example.

"The other noticeable trend has been a lot more people resorting to buy now, pay later agreements just to buy essentials – groceries, children's clothing, utility bills, etc. But because buy now, pay later is far too easy to access, we're seeing a lot of people losing track of those agreements and running into serious problems."

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