Better off now

It’s no big secret that Australia is an expensive country to live in these days. You only need to open up an Australian newspaper and you will find at least one story complaining about it.

I can remember a time when the dole check I received whilst I was actively looking for work was enough to cover my rent, my food, my bills plus a little extra on the side. These days that money would barely put a roof over your head each week.

However, there is one big difference between the time I was surviving on unemployment benefits to when I finally found/secured a full-time permanent job and that was the ratio of jobs to people. Ten or so years ago there were more people than there were jobs being advertised and now there are more jobs then there are willing Australian’s to fill them.

Of course back in the day – before the mining boom that is – things were a lot cheaper and more affordable. Rent on my home was around $100 per week, my food bill around $80 per fortnight and the quarterly electric bill was around $120. At the time I was single, living alone and unemployed. My government benefits may of been sufficient to cover these costs but on the downside I found it difficult to find work. These days however there is a mortgage of around $300 per week, the food bill of around $200 per fortnight and a quarterly electric bill of around $320. I live with my partner so our expenses are shared and we both work full-time, in jobs on a good hourly rate.

Overall the cost of living may of been affordable back before the boom-time but what was the point when the average person couldn’t afford to buy anything substantial – like a house – and was stuck in the endless renting cycle.

If I was to decide which scenario I prefer – cheap/affordable living, hard to get a job but getting a dole check each fortnight to live on or the situation I have now – then I would definitely prefer the later option.

Am I the only Australian that feels this way?