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Teens asked to chip in for rent, food for family struggling on ‘decent’ six-figure salary

The Aussie dad earns $125,000 a year but it doesn’t stretch far enough for his family of 10.

The cost-of-living crisis means an Aussie dad on a six-figure salary is struggling to support his family and has asked his teenagers to chip in for rent and food.

Don Parkes earns an above average wage of $125,000 a year as a factory supervisor, but he and wife Kirsty said they cannot even afford healthy food or health insurance for their family of 10.

Kids Corey, 17, and Josh, 19, have both left school and are working, so have been asked to help contribute for mounting expenses, with the fortnightly grocery and petrol bill hitting $1,200 and $200, respectively.

Parkes family struggling with rising cost of living
Dad, Don Parkes, earns $125,000 a year and is struggling with the rising cost of living (Source: A Current Affair)

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"I don't mind chipping in but it is ridiculous how much everything costs now," Josh told A Current Affair.


Corey echoed his older brother’s sentiment, stating what he contributes is “a lot more affordable than I'd be able to do on my own”.


While the teenagers didn’t share how much they chip in, a recent survey by Compare the Market found most Aussies believe adult kids should be charged $150 a week - or $7,800 a year - to help with costs.

The pair are still quite young, however it’s reflective in older adult children who are increasingly finding themselves with no other option but to move back in with or remain living with their parents to combat rising costs.

Corey and Josh Parkes helping pay for food and rent.
Corey and Josh are chipping in for rent and food, as the family's costs soar. (Source: A Current Affair)

‘Decent wage’ no longer enough

Don and Kirsty said their budget has been stretched to the limit, and they no longer have any savings. 48-year-old Don said he always considered his six-figure wage to be “decent”, but as the cost of living has risen, “it doesn't seem to stretch as far as it used to".

"It's hard to imagine that $125,000 a year is a struggle. It doesn't make sense,” he said.

Costs that take priority in the household are feeding and clothing the family, and bills like electricity and rent. Kirsty described health insurance as a “luxury” they can’t afford.

Don Parkes
Don is earning a "decent" wage but says it isn't stretching as far as it used to. (Source: A Current Affair)

Fresh fruit and vegetables have become so expensive that Kirsty said healthy eating is off the menu. She’s switched to home-brand grocery items to cut down costs and said she sometimes finds it cheaper to buy a family-pack from McDonald’s than buying meat, vegetables and other ingredients and cooking it at home.

“It’s very American,” she said.

The couple have urged the government to do more to address the rising cost of living.

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