Pamela Rontziokos

With the cost of living dramatically increasing in Australia, young people who live independently are struggling.

After paying for weekly expenses like rent, groceries and bills, many are unable to adequately save for a ‘rainy day’ or an investment.

Kaitelyn Tuaya, 20, who works full time as a waitress and lives with three roommates in Western Sydney, says:

“I’m definitely a lot more stressed, like right now than I used to be. And more and more as I get older, I highly doubt that I’ll be able to own a house, or be able to afford renting by myself”.

“I’m paying $200 per week on just rent before utilities”, in a “backstreet suburb”.

Kaitleyn’s situation is a reflection of many young people who live outside a parent or guardian’s home and earns the standard wage of $800 per week.

She says she spends around $600 per week, “just to live”.

Over the year, fruit and vegetable prices have soared, going up by 6.7% (Australian Bureau of Statistics). Rent has increased 2.9% (CoreLogic) over the June quarter.

These financial challenges see Kaitelyn unable to go to the movies, eat out at restaurants, or catching Ubers.

She says, “I’ve had to cut back on a lot of things and the quality of stuff that I buy – I can’t buy name brand food anymore.”

Life wasn’t always this stressful, Katelyn told Sydney Observer. In 2019, when she lived with her sister, she was doing “pretty okay”. In fact, she was earning less and was able to save and put money away. Yet with the current economy, Katelyn feels stuck in the rental market and relying on others to live with.

“Honestly, if I wasn’t moving in with room mates, or if I tried to move out by myself – I honestly don’t think it would be possible.”