Australians are struggling to put money aside, while households are feeling less comfortable after having spent their carbon tax compensation allowances, a survey has found.
Single parents and couples with children are suffering the most anxiety as the majority of Australians struggle to accumulate monthly savings, the ME Bank household financial comfort report found.
The study of 1500 households in December 2012 found financial comfort levels had declined over six months, scoring their welfare at 5.29 out of 10.
"Current comfort levels are similar to those reported when they feel occasional stress or worry," the report said.
In May last year, 1.6 million families were given allowances of up to A$110 (NZ$135) per child ahead of the carbon tax starting.
This led to households feeling more comfortable in June 2012.
But by December, those Family Tax Benefit A and B payments had been spent, making households with children feel less secure, the report said.
"This downshift in comfort for households with children may reflect a return to normal levels after a temporary positive effect of increased government payments that came through in the June quarter 2012," it said.
Australians are also struggling to save, with 52 per cent of surveyed households having no cash left over at the end of a typical month.
A quarter of survey respondents said they could not maintain their lifestyle for a month if they lost their job or could not raise A$3000 in the case of an unexpected emergency.
Still, 63 per cent of people in the report are managing to meet monthly expenses, despite poorer households worrying about living costs.
Retirees had the highest level of household financial comfort while single parents had the lowest.