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David Koch: The cost of Aussie 'necessity' getting out of hand

Opinion: Complacency is the enemy in our war against inflation.

Searching for the culprit that’s driving inflation? Look no further than the servo.

Petrol prices hit record highs around the country last month, with the latest ABS figures showing the largest quarterly rise since March 2022.

Queensland motorists were paying as much as $2.38 a litre for regular unleaded fuel at the peak. That’s one way to drain your wallet fast.

Stylised graphic of David Koch and money on a background of financial charts and piles of coins to represent inflation.
David Koch says Aussies can take back control of their spending to fight inflation.

Meanwhile, insurance and financial service costs were up a whopping 8.6 per cent. Premiums have soared alongside car-replacement costs due to production delays.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures are above what experts expected. With inflation still in fifth gear, the Reserve Bank (RBA) may need us to work harder to bring it back to neutral.

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All of this means a Melbourne Cup Day rate rise is now very much on the cards.

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Last week, the new RBA governor, Michelle Bullock, warned us she wasn’t happy with how slow inflation was coming down and that she would increase rates, if necessary, to accelerate the fall.

With CPI progress still in the slow lane, many now believe she will walk her talk.

Fuelling pressure

For some families, the cost of getting around in Australia is simply getting out of hand.

Research from Compare the Market shows as many as two in five Aussies have been driving less to combat rising fuel prices, with others opting to carpool, work from home or switch to alternative transport. Some have put the brakes on outings and road trips altogether.

But, in many parts of Australia, driving isn’t an option - it’s a necessity. Our city designs and urban sprawl favour four wheels. Adding “fuel to the fire”, major rail upgrades in Sydney and Brisbane have forced more commuters back onto the roads.

So, if you’re sick of spilling your savings at the petrol pump, what can you do?

Accelerate your savings

It’s time for everyday Australians to take back the wheel when it comes to their finances.

This year, we’ve become experts at saving at the supermarket - switching to cheaper “home” brands and low-cost alternatives.

A petrol bowser and car with money falling down
The cost of getting around is becoming a suck on Australian budgets. (Credit: Yahoo Finance Australia) (picture alliance via Getty Image)

Filling up the car should be no different. There can be huge discrepancies between fuel stations at different points in the fuel cycle. One Compare the Market employee saved $291.88 in a year by using the Simples App to help her track down cheaper prices to fill her car.

That money you save might even be enough to cover your next car service.

Next, turn your attention to your car insurance, where a few minutes of research could help supercharge your savings.

We know that often the best deals are created to entice new customers. Yet the latest research from Compare the Market shows almost one in four (22.5 per cent) car insurance policyholders could be missing out on better prices by renewing with the same car insurer year after year.

An owner of a Volkswagen Tiguan compared policies after her premium jumped from $1,740 to $2,314 last year. She saved $762 by switching to a different policy.

Complacency is the enemy in our war against inflation.

While some price hikes are out of our control, there is still so much we can do to fight rising prices and drive better competition.

And, while unrest in the Middle East creates even greater uncertainty about the months ahead, every cent counts.

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