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Tackling Australia’s cost of living crisis: A Gen Z guide

Don't just survive the cost of living crisis, thrive in it with these top tips.

Compilation image of Gen Z group celebrating and pile of cash to represent cost of living
The cost of living crisis has a disproportionate impact on younger Gen Z Aussies. (Source: Getty) (Samantha Menzies)

Australia's cost of living crisis seems to be worsening each day, and as a Gen-Zer, you might feel overwhelmed by the spiralling costs of everything from rent to avocados. But don't worry, there are things you can do to cut costs where its needed most.

Here's my eight-step Gen-Z guide to save money and keep your spending low.

1. Master the art of budgeting

When it comes to money, knowledge is power. Start by setting a budget and accounting for all your income and expenses. Think of budgeting like maintaining your social media presence: it requires consistency and attention to detail. There are plenty of apps that can make this process as easy as scrolling through your Instagram feed.

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Remember, a budget isn't there to restrict you, it's there to empower you. Once you know where your money is going, you can start making more informed decisions. According to an article by Canstar, the best budgeting apps in Australia include the likes of Buddy, WeMoney and Frollo.

2. Rethink housing

Let's face it, housing in Australia can be expensive, especially if you're living in major cities like Sydney or Melbourne. But who said you have to live solo? Consider shared housing or co-living spaces, which can drastically cut down costs. It's the same principle as carpooling: it's cheaper, and it's also a great way to meet new people.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, websites like Flatmates.com.au are perfect for finding shared living situations.

3. Master the art of thrift

Gen-Z is all about individuality and authenticity. So why not apply that to your spending habits? Thrift shopping can save you a bundle of money on clothes, furniture, and other items. Plus, it's environmentally friendly, which aligns with the Gen-Z ethos of sustainability.

If you’re looking for a new outfit or a cheap steal, check out op-shops like Salvos and Vinnies, or explore online platforms like Gumtree and Depop for second-hand gems.

4. Embrace public transport

While having your own car might offer convenience, the cost of fuel, insurance, and maintenance means its also a money drain. Australia has a pretty decent public transportation system, so embrace it. Think of it as your personal chauffeur, one that’s cheaper and also kinder to the environment.

5. Learn to cook

Dining out or ordering in can eat up a significant portion of your budget. So consider entering the world of cooking instead. Start with simple recipes and gradually challenge yourself. Before you know it, you'll be hosting MasterChef-inspired dinner parties. Your wallet and your health will thank you.

Free online resources like Tasty on YouTube or websites like BBC Good Food offer countless recipes to get you started

6. Explore side hustles

Gen-Z is known for its entrepreneurial spirit so use it to your advantage. Start a side hustle – it could be anything from selling your graphic designs online to dog walking. It doesn't just supplement your income, it also adds valuable skills to your resume.

7. Be smart about education

Education is important, but it doesn't have to leave you drowning in debt. Look for scholarships, consider attending TAFE first, or take advantage of online learning platforms like Coursera, Khan Academy or even YouTube. Remember, education is an investment in your future, but it doesn't have to bankrupt your present.

8. Invest in your future

Even if it's just a small amount, start investing. Thanks to fintech innovations, investing is no longer a game for the rich so you can start investing with just a few dollars. It might seem counterintuitive to invest when you're trying to save, but remember, investing is about long-term financial growth.

There you have it, a Gen-Z guide to tackle Australia's cost of living. Remember, it's not just about surviving, but also thriving. With a little bit of planning and a lot of determination, you can navigate the financial maze that is adulthood. And who knows, you might even have some fun along the way.

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