It's hard to ignore the constant exhortations to spend, spend, spend, even in the week following the Black Friday sales.
This is, of course, an imported American tradition that has flowed forcefully into our collective psyche thanks to the world-shrinking effect of online shopping.
But it's one that turns out to be quite well-timed as we careen into the Christmas season.
The cost-of-living crisis is still a living, morphing thing, one that doesn't disappear just because of the giving season. If anything, it is enhanced. And so, the mad sales dash becomes ever more urgent.
Meanwhile, though, up in the macrosphere, Deloitte is forecasting a second budget surplus (a smaller one of $2.4 billion) and predicting an extra $70b of revenue over the next four years.
Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers last week hosed down expectations of handouts during the mid-year budget statement due to come out the week beginning December 11, but has hinted at more assistance in the May budget. But Deloitte has warned while more assistance, particularly for low-income households is welcome, it will need to be offset by savings in other areas to avoid adding to inflation.
This is one of the many conundrums the government faces as it looks to resolve both long- and short-term financial concerns. Another conundrum is the continued need for investment in housing and infrastructure to meet the demand generated by strong population growth.
But again, inflation is the underlying factor in anything to do with easing cost pressures for the consumer.
The government must address housing affordability while trying to keep inflation in check.
It's a juggling act, but so, in a way, is managing the household budget for the average consumer. Spend to save, or save to spend?
There's no getting away from the excesses of Christmas, nor the long-term pressures of a mortgage, and other mainstream household costs.
The fact is average Australians are hurting, even as they rush to take advantage of pre-Christmas sales.
There's a reason Macquarie Dictionary chose "cozzie livs" - an abbreviation of cost of living - as the word of the year; it's hard not to be consumed by how expensive life has become, and how much people are having to sacrifice at this time of year.
Hearing about a projected budget surplus is only good news if it translates into immediate benefits on the ground. In this context, how to balance the need to repair the budget with the carving out of some wiggle room for average Australians who may need a hand becomes a tightrope walk.
May is a long time to wait for some relief - it's a full six months away. That is time enough for one family's fortunes to change, for a long-running overseas war to continue, or for a new one to break out. It's plenty of time for all kinds of unpredictable or unforeseen events to occur. For several more interest rate rises.
It is, to be sure, a balancing act, but the current situation for many Australians shows no signs of abating. The government could consider the immediacy of the current situation for so many Australians and act accordingly, while still keeping our long-term prospects in check.
Any acts of relief now will, after all, pay long-term dividends both on the micro and macro scales. And that's something worth planning for now, even as the budget horizon looms.
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