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Single Aussies hit with $7,691 cost-of-living ‘tax’

You would think that only having to take care of yourself would save you some cash, but that’s not necessarily true.

A composite image of Australian currency and a woman looking at her phone to represent the cost-of-living pressures single Aussies face.
Cost-of-living pressures are straining single Aussies. (Source: AAP / Getty)

Cost-of-living expenses for single Aussies with no kids comes in around $7,691 more per year compared to those in a relationship, new research has found.

A single-person household with no kids (SINKs) spent on average an estimated $2,198.93 per month on common household bills and housing costs – 41 per cent more than an individual living in a double-income household with no kids (DINKs), who spent $1,557.99 per month, a YouGiv study commissioned by iSelect found.

iSelect spokesperson Sophie Ryan said the research highlighted the advantages for those in a relationship when it came to splitting housing and other living costs.


“It seems couples are definitely coming out on top financially, with the majority (74 per cent) of single Aussies surveyed telling us they believe they are bearing the burden of the ‘singles tax’ when it comes to housing and living expenses,” Ryan said.

However, Ryan said the survey also highlighted the cost-of-living pressures being felt across the board by Gen Zs and Millennials.

More than 60 per cent of SINKs and DINKs surveyed said they felt pressured financially, and 73 per cent were making cutbacks due to the rising cost of living or to meet day-to-day living expenses.

What’s the good news?

Although the study highlighted the negative impact cost-of-living hikes were having on younger Aussies, it also reflected good savings behaviors.

Unsurprisingly, couples were finding it easier to save than singles, with most DINKs (91 per cent) having some kind of savings or support to fall back on if they were faced with a financial challenge or a large, unexpected expense – compared to 82 per cent of SINKs.

“It’s clear from our research that during the current cost-of-living crisis, single Aussies seem to be struggling slightly more to make ends meet compared to our loved-up Aussies,” Ryan said.

“However, having said that, being single also has its advantages. Such as, not worrying about financial infidelities within a relationship, which our research also explored.”

Aussie couples more secretive about money

The study found more than a third of Aussie DINKs surveyed (31 per cent) said they had hidden a purchase from a partner, with clothing the top offender (41 per cent) followed by electronics (19 per cent) and shoes (17 per cent).

“Interestingly, more than half of Aussies surveyed (51 per cent) said withholding or being dishonest about important financial information (financial infidelity) with a partner is as bad as, or worse than, physical infidelity,” Ryan said.

“While those in a relationship could bear the burden of financial infidelity, it is the singletons who are more likely to bear the burden of increased cost of living, our research suggests.”

How can I cut down on my expenses?

While the research suggested the cost of living may be higher for Aussie singles, Ryan said it was not all doom and gloom, and singles could still find additional savings on some common household bills and expenses.

“If you’re struggling to manage your cost-of-living expenses on your own, singles don’t have to break up with their lifestyle to save money,” Ryan said.

“We encourage singles to see if they can save money or find better value by shopping around and comparing their options on a range of common household plans and expenses.”

Earlier research commissioned by iSelect found households that switched their electricity plan and/or provider over the course of last year found an average saving of $394, while those that switched their health Insurance plan and/or provider in the same timeframe found an average saving of $520.

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