Has 2020 made Australians better savers?

Two Indigenous Australian women check savings on a smartphone.

As it turns out, bus seats and public phone boxes aren’t the only things we’re looking at differently in 2020. With less places to go and less stuff to spend money on, it would seem that a lot of Aussies have really started to up their savings game since March.

In January, the average Pocketbook app user put away around $1,200. In July that figure rose to $2,600 - more than twice as much! Not to mention the fact that household net saving went up from $42 billion to $59.5 billion in the June quarter, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Research from the bureau shows that the average household savings ratio rose from 6% in March to an astounding 20% in June.

Changing attitudes

While these figures could be put down to temporary business closures and increased government support, they could also be attributed to changing attitudes towards saving. 

Deloitte’s ongoing ‘State of the Consumer’ report shows that Australians have been spending less on things like dining out, shoes and clothing and electronics since March. Perhaps this willingness to save more and spend less on material goods shows a shift away from consumerism. 

Staying ahead of the savings curve

We spoke with small business owner Xara about how her and her family have managed to save during the pandemic.

Xara says her and her husband’s attitude towards saving has definitely changed since March. 

“Apps like Pocketbook have been really useful in helping me keep track of my expenses, which has been necessary given the future of my business is a little uncertain,” she says.

She adds that while her and her family don’t have a strict budget, they do try to put aside 30% of their income for a rainy day. “We have a loose “float” in our daily spending account that we try to stay above, so we don’t run into any trouble.”

Money motivations

In terms of motivation, “At the moment, my primary concern is next March when the government subsidies will stop - so my main motivation is saving as much money as possible while I have the support,” says Xara.

She adds that doing stuff like preparing lunches at home, rather than eating out has really helped to reduce the family’s outgoings.

Mindful spending, not stingy savings

Speaking of tracking outgoings, Xara says her family has learnt that you don’t have to overhaul your whole lifestyle to save more and that prioritising really helps.

“A smart attitude and useful tools like Pocketbook can really help you get there without the headache of spreadsheets,” she says. “We’re spending less on fast food and coffees and putting money away for a nice night out or investing in sports activities for our daughter.

“When things return to a more normal state, we’re keen to continue the good habits we’ve developed as a result of the pandemic.”

So, as you can see saving doesn’t have to be about going without or being stingy. It can simply be about choosing not to spend money on something you don’t need, or trying to be more thoughtful about your shopping overall.

Ready to start spending more mindfully? Head to Mozo’s compare savings accounts page to see what features come with different accounts to help you stash more cash for a rainy day.

Compare savings accounts - last updated 9 December 2023

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