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'I'm a mum of one. The cost of petrol is so high, I'm struggling to afford childcare.'

It’s been a difficult two years of uncertainty. And to add to the stress, Australian families are now dealing with the added financial pressure of soaring petrol costs.

The price of petrol has skyrocketed to approximately $2.20 a litre, driven up by the Russia-Ukraine war. 

As the cost of fuel rises, there's also a concern that this price hike will have a flow on effect to supermarkets and other businesses.  

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Video via Mamamia.

Mamamia heard from 18 women to find out how the rising cost of living is impacting their families.

1. 'I have to use Afterpay.'

"I'm a community support worker. Last week I used $80 on fuel in three short shifts. I don't get reimbursed for fuel for my private supports, and the reimbursement from the company I work for is set at what NDIS provide. This doesn't change at all - despite fuel costs rising. I'm having to use Afterpay to purchase fuel gift cards now so I can get through. It's a massive impact on my budget. My fuel light has never come on so much as the last month." - Janice.

2. 'I'm struggling to afford childcare.'

"Childcare has always been expensive, but now that the price of groceries and fuel has risen so much, my husband and I are really struggling to afford childcare for our three-year-old. We're honestly just scraping by at the moment. We're a family of three, so I can't even imagine the strain right now on families who have more than one child in daycare. It's so stressful.' - C*.

3. 'I'm riding my bike.'

"I’m happy to work from home for the next few weeks due to COVID isolation rules (in WA) as it saves me petrol. Also, I’ve been trying to ride my bike to the shops for top up shops." - Erin.

4. 'We're limiting car trips.'

"We will be limiting car trips, and I will be doing a new budget for groceries. We have lots of medical bills and we will be cutting out eating out. I also feel bad about cutting out extras (such as coffee or banana bread) as it will affect the small businesses like the local cafe too." - Christina.

5. 'It's disrupting nap time.'

"I have a five-month-old baby who loves to sleep in the car so I often take the long way home or go for a drive if he falls asleep in the car as he doesn’t transfer from car to cot very well. The fuel price hike is not ideal for this." - Sarah

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6. 'I might have to look for a new job.'

"I live and work in regional Queensland and have to drive one-and-a-quarter hour each way, to and from work. My workplace is in quite an isolated area and this is the drive time for a lot of the staff. Due to the nature of our roles, it is also impractical to carpool. I am starting to think that I don't earn enough to cover increasing fuel costs and may have to look for alternative employment, even though I love my job." - Rebecca.

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7. 'I'll be cutting back.'

"I’ll be cutting back on non-essential trips. The sad thing is I like to do theatre with a group based 40 minutes from home. I don’t know if I’ll be able to justify the cost in fuel several times a week." - Sophie.

8. 'We're minimising trips to town.'

"We live on a farm that's 40 minutes from the nearest shop so it's now a case of minimising trips, rather than just going because we can. To that end, there will be more trips on the motorbike than the car, which will be more fun and more economical.

"I also do deliveries for our manufacturing business and the costs will be passed directly on to the customer, increasing the delivery process by one third.

"I drive an average of 500km a week, which has been about $75 a week in fuel, but that will go up to $100 on my next refuel. It is a bit daunting seeing the fuel bowser numbers hitting $280 for a tank." - Andrea.

9. 'We've had to take a serious look at our budget.'

"We're setting off on a year-long trip around in Australia in May and will be driving and towing a heavy caravan. We've had to take a serious look at our budget and will probably make cuts in areas like eating out. We've also decided to have a second fuel tank fitted to the car so we can take advantage of lower priced fuel when we can find it." - Kim.

10. 'We're carpooling.'

"My husband and I have decided to carpool to our respective workplaces to reduce the cost of fuel and tolls. While our commute is slightly longer, we hope it will give us some reprieve in our budget. We spend on average $300 a week on fuel and tolls between us.

"We have also decided to cancel our private health insurance to compensate the increases in groceries, electricity and gas." - Natalie.

11. 'No more family visits.'

"My family live four hours away, so to visit them for the weekend would cost over $100. We were isolated from them for so long due to lockdown and wanted to do more visits this year but cost now plays a huge factor in our decision." - Suzie.

12. 'We used to fill two cars for the same price.'

"We used to fill both cars for the price it costs just to fill mine. At the bare minimum, I do a 80km round trip to work two days a week and a 40km round trip to school three days a week. Then extra-curricular activities three days a week - none of which are in our area." - Leah.

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13. 'We don't have the spare cash.'

"I've moved the car seats around so we only drive the more fuel-efficient car and the other we only used for close-by stops when necessary. We don't fill a tank at all just because we don't have the spare cash.

"It is stressful for us. If it stays high for too long, I'll need to request to go back to working from home to avoid the travel." - Shauna.

14. 'We're struggling to make ends meet.'

"We’re currently renovating, and due to COVID and now the petrol price hike, everything has gone up. It's added an extra $5,000 to our build. We really can’t afford to borrow any more money, so we’ve had to borrow money from family. We're trying to figure out how to pay this back plus petrol prices rising and I don’t know how we’ll afford it. 

"My husband and I are both public servants so we have reasonable incomes, but we're still struggling to make ends meet. I don’t know how other people do it!" - H*

15. 'It's a building worry.'

"We live rurally and I drive over 100km per day to get to work. We have done the following: I arranged to work two days per week from home, this requires sourcing an extra day of daycare at another centre. We have also limited our weekend trips to 'town' to one trip only, this often means not scheduling as many social events. 

"My husband is a farmer and we have just started our own contracting business... fuel literally drives everything so hopefully we can still offer a competitive service and get the new business to be viable. 

"It’s not causing us acute stress yet, but it’s just a building worry." - T*

16. 'I really feel for them.'

"I work in an industry that uses volunteer staff. On top of that, the workplace they attend is in an outer suburb so some volunteers travel up to 100km each way to attend. They volunteer as part of Centrelink activity requirements (most are near retirement age, so activity contracts are still in place). 

"But the fuel cost is hurting them, and they are still required to attend. Centrelink won't give them any extra funds to pay for the rising cost of fuel to do their required 15 hours a week. I really feel for them. They already live on such limited funds." - Janine.

*Some names have been changed for privacy reasons.

How has the fuel price hike affected you? Tell us in the comments below.

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