Australia's savings efforts are paying off.

House hold with large savings account.

Article by Kevin Boyle

Australia's new frugal trend is starting to pay off on household savings accounts, with the median savings account balance tripling from $5,155 in 2011 up to $15,427, according to the results of the quarterly ING DIRECT Financial Wellbeing Index.

Much has been said recently of Australia's change in spending habits, ditching the old credit card debt lifestyle for debit card payments and a new focus on topping up savings accounts. The ING DIRECT Financial Wellbeing Index measures six key aspects of personal finance including credit card, home loan debt, savings, investments, household income and the ability to pay off debts. The Index's overall findings for the last quarter show that thanks to their new savings attitudes, Australians are feeling a large weight off their shoulders with household comfort levels rising from 107.4 points in the last quarter of 2012 up to 108.2 for the first quarter of 2013.

"it is significant that household savings rose during the first quarter of the year as this is traditionally a time when many Australians experience a cash drain following the festive season," according to John Arnott, executive director customer at ING DIRECT.

In the first quarter of 2013, 44 percent of homeowners were ahead on their mortgage repayments and the level of comfort for long term debt was the highest of all six financial indicators with a score of 5.7 out of 7. Overall 93 percent of homeowners were comfortable about their home loan.

And despite low interest rates, Australians are still holding onto enough money at the end of the month to contribute towards their savings. In fact, eight times out of ten, households with $67,000 or more in savings were homeowners. By comparison, 47% of households with less than $1,675 in savings lived in a rental property.

Overall 71 percent of households are comfortable with their level of savings but  levels varied between the generations. Generation X, typically raising a family, were finding it the toughest to build on their savings with an overall median of just $8,060. Generation Y, those between the ages of 18 to 34, are proving to be sensible savers despite their age, with an overall median savings of $14,377, not far behind the Baby Boomers who lead with a median of $17,744 in savings.

"The continued growth in savings since mid-2011 reflects the commitment of Australians to building a buffer of cash, and it is not surprising that high levels of savings are supporting increased financial confidence among households," added Mr Arnott.

A big step towards improving personal finance is to insure to not be paying too much on banking products, with many Australians paying thousands more than they need to due to lack of awareness of the best rates available to them. Savers can view the markets best home loan, credit card and savings accounts interest rates on Mozo.

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