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2017 Cost of Lifestyle - Key Findings Report

Wednesday, 06 September 2017

Posted by Ben Tosi

<p>Mozo’s annual Cost of Lifestyle report has revealed some sobering truths when it comes to the superfluous spending habits of Aussies in 2017.</p>

Mozo’s annual Cost of Lifestyle report has revealed some sobering truths when it comes to the superfluous spending habits of Aussies in 2017.

Aussies will spend an eye-watering $145 billion this year on lifestyle costs, with the average spend remaining stable at $7,800.

Our spending habits are pretty similar too, with the top three individual expenses: clothing, restaurant dinners and cigarettes remaining unchanged from last year.

Commenting on the results, Mozo Director Kirsty Lamont said that with a little discipline Aussies could turn these expenses into serious savings.

“A home cooked brunch, a packed lunch and a few less clothing purchases can make all the difference when it comes to accruing savings. This is great news for Australians - a little bit of restraint exercised here and there provides the ability to generate significant savings,” said Lamont.

Summary

Here is a quick overview of the four main areas of lifestyle-related expenditure:
  • We’re spending a whole lot of our cash on fashion with $21.5 billion spent on clothing and shoes.
  • We’re obsessed with eating out at cafes and restaurants with five of the top ten lifestyle costs food or coffee-related.
  • Three of the top ten lifestyle costs are our guilty pleasures, with our vices producing a $23.2 billion drain on our wallets.
  • We’re investing in our health more through an $8.6 billion expenditure on sportswear and gym memberships.

Continue reading for a full breakdown of the report findings:

1. Clothing and shoes

The number one individual expense by almost $10 billion dollars, we’re expected to spend $21.5 billion on clothing and shoes in 2017. Fewer than 1 in 10 Aussies said they don’t buy any clothes and men and women were equally likely to spend their cash on fashion this year.

“Our fashion choices are our biggest expense once again this year, but we’re spending $1.7 billion less than we did last year. Those spur of the moment, impulse buys are certainly adding up”, said Lamont.

It is our younger generation who are leading the way with their fashion-related finances. Over 25% of 25-44 year olds admitted to spending around $1,800 a year on clothes and shoes while just 7% of over 55s spend that amount of money on their threads.

2. Eating out

While clothes and shoe purchases top the list, food or coffee-related purchases make up five of the top ten lifestyle costs for Aussies in 2017, totalling a whopping $42 billion. Restaurant dinners moved up one place to second position this year, a sign that eating out is an increasingly common lifestyle practice for Aussies, according to Lamont.

“Restaurant dinners racked up a formidable $11.7 billion – our second largest lifestyle cost, proving Australians nationwide love to eat out and enjoy the price of convenience,” said Lamont.

Takeaway dinners are also draining our wallets. According to the survey data, we will spend $10.6 billion on takeaway food this year, our fourth largest lifestyle-related money drainer and despite spending half a billion less on coffee this year, we’re putting that money towards weekend brunches at cafes and restaurants. Our fifth largest lifestyle expense, these weekend meals will cost us $7.3 billion compared to the $6.4 billion we spend buying lunch during the work week.

“By preparing food at home and taking the extra time to cook dinners rather than order or eat them out Australians could save almost a third of their lifestyle expenditure. If you really wanted to save some money, being that little bit more prepared when it comes to your food a surefire way to do it,” said Lamont.

3. Vices

Our vices continue to have a serious effect on our finances with drinking at the pub, smoking and gambling expected to add up to $23.2 billion worth of lifestyle costs in 2017.

Drinking

While drinks at the pub or bar finished as our ninth largest lifestyle expense, it is set to grow by $800,000 in 2017 resulting in a formidable $5.8 billion nationwide expense. Our drinking expenses are largely paid by the younger generations, with the majority of respondents under the age of 35 admitting to spending money on alcohol while they’re out.

“Men are more likely to sink a pint or two with 54% of men compared to 35% of women spending money on drinking out. Over 55’s were less inclined to spend money on booze with only 3 in 10 parting with cash at the pub or bar,” said Lamont.

Gambling

Our gambling expenditure looks set to drop by $200 million this year and fell out of the top five from last year to sixth position. In saying that, the majority of Aussies are still splashing their cash on things like sports betting, poker machines and scratchies that look set to cost us $6.7 billion collectively.

This is one of only two areas where young Aussies are outspent by their older counterparts. The survey found that almost two thirds of younger Aussies will not spend any money gambling this year while two in five Aussies over the age of 65 admitted to gambling their money away.

Smoking

Having been placed as our second most-expensive lifestyle cost in 2016, spending on cigarettes took a pretty sharp fall this year to $10.7 billion.

“The good news is we’re nipping some of our vices in the bud and cigarette consumption has dropped from second to third place with Australians spending $3.8 billion less than last year,” said Lamont.

This comes in spite of an increase in the amount of people that reported spending some money fueling their smoking habit, to 7 out of 10.

4. An active lifestyle

Aussies are getting serious about their exercise this year, spending almost a billion dollars more on their sports equipment than they did in 2016. Knocking personal gadgets and pay TV out of the top 10 from last year, sports gear expenditure is set to end up as a $5.5 billion cost for Aussies in 2017.

Add to this the $3.2 billion that we’re spending on sporting club and gym memberships and Aussies will invest approximately $8.6 billion on an active lifestyle in 2017.

“With an increase in food and alcohol consumption, we are putting more money into staying active and screen time looks to have taken a dip as a result,” said Lamont.

How we crunched the data

Mozo’s Cost of Lifestyle report data is from a nationally representative survey of 1002 Australians aged 18 years old and above conducted by Pureprofile. Respondents were asked about spending habits for 30 common lifestyle expenses. 

Note: Numbers have been rounded.

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