New report highlights cautious approach to spending

Aussies are not the only people who are taking a more cautious approach to spending, if a new report conducted by Nielsen is to be believed.

The study monitored the purchasing habits of people all around the world and it concluded that residents of most countries are keeping a tighter grip on their debit and credit cards.

Its Global Consumer Confidence barometer – which monitors what is being sold in the retail sector – showed that people's buying intentions were three points lower in the second quarter of 2012 when compared with the previous three months.

The overall index was recorded at 91 points, which was actually two points higher than in the corresponding period in 2011.

It seems that the shaky global economy has forced people all around the world to reassess how much of their disposable income can be spent on luxury items.

Taiwan suffered from the biggest fall in confidence levels, as its score dropped by 12 points in the quarter.

Sadly, Australia's rating also fell by five points – the same as Argentina, China, The Netherlands and the US.

This is perhaps unsurprising, as the cost of living in cities like Sydney and Melbourne has spiralled upwards in recent months and Aussies have had no choice but to commit more of their disposable income to essential bill payments.

Managing director of Nielsen Pacific Chris Percy said Aussies' confidence levels were at their lowest ebb since the company's index was first established in 2005.

"Continued frustration over interest rates and ever-increasing utility and living expenses are impacting discretionary spending, as consumers opt to keep their wallets firmly in their pockets," he remarked.

Australians' increasingly responsible approach to managing their finances is good to see and a lot of people have been trading their credit cards for debit cards. This makes it far easier to stick to a budget and you are only spending money that is already in your bank account, rather than racking up debt.

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