The vast majority of Australians are tightening their purse strings ahead of the holidays, with spending on travel, takeaway and even health appointments in the firing line.
New data from Compare the Market reveals 80 per cent of the population are cutting back on spending, even more so than this time last year.
Most worryingly, one in five respondents said they were avoiding spending on health services due to cost of living pressures.
About 45 per cent of respondents said they have delayed holiday plans, compared with 35 per cent last year, while 38 per cent have cut back on family activities, up 3 per cent from last year.
Nearly 60 per cent said they have reduced how often they bought takeaway meals, while four in 10 are spending less on groceries.
CTM general manager Chris Ford said the ongoing cost of living crisis had left Aussies with even less “wriggle room” in their budgets than last year.
“We know that rising fuel prices, increased prices at the supermarket and higher energy prices are just some of the extra costs households need to factor into their family budget,” he said.
“It makes sense that travel plans, streaming services and even entertainment options are taking a hit.
“What is worrying about the data is the number of people cutting back on health appointments.”
A concerning 27 per cent of gen X respondents reported cutting back spending on health services, followed by 21 per cent of both gen Z and millennials and 16 per cent of boomers.
More than a fifth of the population said they had cut back on health care due to cost of living pressures.
Mr Ford has urged Australians seeking to save extra pennies ahead of the holidays not to compromise on health.
“It’s becoming harder for Australians to find a GP that bulk bills, but your health and wellbeing is always something you should prioritise,” he said.
“There may be ways to claw back cash in your budget without sacrificing important health appointments.”
Mr Ford recommends scoping around for better deals on energy and insurance providers to try to claw back cash rather than cutting spending in essential areas such as health care.