Spending outside the comfort zone: Mozo comfort spending report

Almost two-thirds of Aussies admit comfort spending is putting their budget under pressure

14 July 2022

  • Negative emotions are heavily linked to comfort spending with boredom (44%), stress (41%) and unhappiness (35%) the most common reasons why Australians engage in this expensive habit 
  • 86% of Australians engage in comfort spending, with more than a third (37%) doing so at least once a week
  • Australians are splurging $39 billion a year on comfort spending, $2,274 on average
  • Clothes (49%), takeaway food (47%), and chocolate (46%) were found to be comfort spender's main vices
  • Almost half (48%) of shoppers put comfort spending on debit cards, while 34% opt for credit cards and 30% for buy now, pay later (BNPL)
  • Online is Australia’s favourite way to indulge in comfort spending, with more than a third (36%) identifying it as their go-to place to shop

According to new research from Mozo, Australians are comfort spending to the tune of $39 billion annually, with almost two-thirds (65%) of people saying their comfort spending habits are putting their budgets under pressure.

This is a 12% increase from the findings of the 2021 Comfort Spending Report, where just over half (53%) of Australians admitted comfort spending was putting their budget under pressure. 

Worryingly, negative emotions are heavily linked to comfort spending with Mozo’s research finding boredom (44%), stress (41%) and unhappiness (35%) are the most common reasons why Australians engage in this expensive habit. 

“As interest rates rise and cost of living pressures increase, comfort spending could be a recipe for adding additional stress to household budgets,” says Tom Godfrey, Mozo spokesperson. 

“Although Aussies might be tempted to purchase their way out of the winter blues, slashing the cash on eating out or the latest fashions could leave them in the red and feeling the pinch.” 

“If comfort spending is getting a little out of control, breaking this habit could be as simple as recognising triggers and finding less costly ways to improve mood without blowing the budget.”

Why Aussies Comfort Spend

Mozo’s research found that 86% of Australians regularly indulge in comfort spending, with more than a third (37%) doing so at least weekly. Clothes (49%), takeaway food (47%), chocolate (46%), junk food (38%) and alcohol (30%) were found to be the main vices.

What Aussies are comfort buying

How much are Australians comfort spending? 

As a nation, Aussies are splurging a whopping $39 billion on feel-good purchases, $2,274 on average. 25-34 year-olds are the biggest comfort spenders, spending $2,864 a year, 16% more than 35-44-year-olds who spend $2,407 a year on average.

How much Aussies are comfort spending

Almost half (48%) of shoppers pay for comfort spending outright with their debit card or EFTPOS cards, while others use credit cards (34%) or Buy Now, Pay Later services (30%), breaking down purchases into smaller payment instalments. 

“While credit cards and BNPL services can be a good way to buy higher-priced items, it’s important shoppers set a budget and plan out purchases to help ensure they are living within their means and they don’t get caught paying interest or late repayment fees,” Godfrey says.

How we pay for comfort spending

Where do we comfort spend? 

Mozo's research also found that more than a third (36%) of comfort spenders prefer to do a majority of their shopping online, a third (33%) like the physical store experience, and just less than a third (31%) a mixture of both. 

“After years of lockdowns, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Aussies are heading back in-store to their favourite restaurants and retailers, but many still love the convenience of ordering in their favourite foods from the comfort of the couch,” said Godfrey. 

Over half (55%) of online comfort spenders reported that they enjoyed the easy and carefree nature of online shopping. While savvy spenders said they enjoyed shopping online because they could price match (38%) or find a discount code (30%). 

Tips to curb comfort spending: 

  • Out of sight, out of mind - With many of us spending money to pass time when we're bored, unsubscribing from retailer marketing emails can help to remove the temptation of cashing in on email sale offers.
  • Set up a savings account for comfort spending - If you don’t want to cut out comfort spending completely, it’s worth considering opening a savings account dedicated to feel-good purchases and avoiding going into debt. 
  • Avoid spending outside your means - To ensure you don’t overspend and rack up debt, it pays to set a budget and plan your comfort purchases. 
  • Look for an alternative remedy - If you are tempted to spend when you experience negative emotions, try out other mindful methods of reducing stress or boredom, such as meditation, walking or journaling. 
  • Make use of a money management apps - Apps such as Frollo can be a great way to track your expenses and curb overspending, allowing you to link up bank accounts to one platform so you can see your transactions and categorise your spending. 


Notes: Mozo commissioned a nationally representative survey of 1569 Australians conducted by Researcify between 14- 26 April - 2022. Where percentages equal more than 100%, respondents were asked to select all options that applied. Average yearly comfort spending was calculated as an average of all 1569 respondents. National comfort spend was calculated with the average yearly spend, all respondents that answered ‘yes’ to comfort spending and the national population from the ABS for all people over the age of 18 years.