Unveiling the Real Cost of Living: Navigating Economic Realities & Financial Well-Being

The media headlines are dramatic: another quarter of stagnant wage growth, housing prices rise 10%, 3.7 million households in Australia experiencing food insecurity, utility prices soaring, and the cost of living rising to 6.5%. 

Through all the noise, the problem can seem so overwhelming that it leaves us feeling helpless and hopeless. It’s easy to get lost in the enormity of the problem rather than focusing on practical steps toward a solution.

Although financial wellbeing doesn’t always directly correlate with a person’s actual finances, continual exposure to negative headlines and the erosion of hope can significantly affect it. Along with competency and knowledge, restoring a sense of hope can significantly improve financial wellbeing even through considerable financial challenges.

Beyond the numbers, the real cost-of-living encompasses the daily struggle of everyday families to balance basic needs with limited resources. Three of the biggest household expenses, which have all increased significantly, are housing, groceries, and utilities. It’s not uncommon for families to have to make a tough choice between paying rent or putting food on the table.

Unfortunately, there is not usually a ‘silver bullet’ solution. However, breaking each cost down and finding the ‘one percenter’ savings can result in a significant combined impact, as was the case with Joan:

Joan came to Financial COACH as a single mother of five children on a limited fixed income. She was going backwards and feeling hopeless. While developing a budget for the first time in her life, Joan, with the support of her mentor, took the time to carefully examine each of her expenses. Joan was able to save on every single expense line, from changing her phone plan to researching cheap meal plans she could cook in bulk. The hope and excitement born out of each saving propelled her to the next, culminating in a balanced budget that even allowed her to save up for a family weekend holiday, which they had not had for many years.

Romans 15:13 encourages us to “overflow with hope.” Let’s share this hope with those struggling financially and support that hope with knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 24:4-5). Overcoming the cost-of-living crisis may be a tough journey; however, with a mindset of hope, we can quash the sense of despair and focus confidently on tangible solutions.

With 75 percent of Financial COACH participants improving their financial well-being and most improving their financial knowledge and decision-making skills, there is a clear path for addressing the cost-of-living crisis and restoring hope. In Matthew 6:25-26, Jesus reminds us that God knows our needs and cares for us deeply. As we walk alongside those facing financial pressures, let us anchor our hope and trust in God’s provision.


Rob Cummings

Financial COACH National Coordinator

COACH Network



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