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How many hours you need to work to cover the cost of living

Cost of living: People cross a busy street in the Sydney CBD and Australian cash.
The rising cost of living is taking up more of our pay. (Source: Getty)

The cost of living has skyrocketed, meaning more of our money has to go towards our everyday expenses.

And new research has analysed exactly how much of our pay now needs to go towards our living expenses.

Finder analysed the cost of family necessities against the average income to determine how many hours’ worth of work everyday expenses cost.

For the average employee earning a $69,400 salary – or $33.68 per hour in post-tax income – simply paying for petrol, groceries and their mortgage cost 28 hours of work each week.

That’s equivalent to 75 per cent of the typical 38-hour work week.

Item

Average cost

Hours of work

Year-on-year increase in cost (%)

Year-on-year increase in cost ($)

Year-on-year increase in hours

House deposit (20%)

$165,482

4,914

14.6%

$21,082

626.04

Mortgage repayments (weekly)

$649

19.3

15.0%

$85

2.51

Week of child care

$565

16.8

4.2%

$23

0.68

Rent (weekly)

$522

15.5

8.0%

$39

1.15

Quarterly energy bill

$320

9.5

3.5%

$11

0.32

Quarterly gas bill

$181

5.4

7.4%

$12

0.37

Week of groceries

$167

5.0

5.3%

$8

0.25

Tank of petrol

$131

3.9

31.6%

$31

0.93

The average weekly rent of $522 will set tenants back 15.5 hours, but mortgage repayments are even pricier.

The average home loan costs $647 a week in repayments, equivalent to 19.2 hours’ worth of work.

The typical grocery bill costs 5 hours of work, while a single tank of petrol will set workers back 3.9 hours of their work week.

Finder’s head of consumer research, Graham Cooke, said the cost-of-living crunch meant many Australians had very little left over after paying their bills.

“Inflation is climbing and Australians are feeling it when they go to fill up their petrol tank or do their weekly supermarket shop,” Cooke said.

“The energy crisis is also driving up energy and gas prices, and rising interest rates mean that many will start to see their home loan repayments climb very soon by upwards of $7,000 over the course of a year.”

Cooke said the growing expenses were cutting into a household's discretionary income, meaning there was less money left over for doing the things we wanted and loved.

“There are only so many hours employees can work until they need to start digging into their savings,” he said.

“This is the perfect time to revisit your household budget, or start a budget if you don’t already have one.”

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