NAB report shows Aussies want to save money and the environment

Olivia Gee

Thursday 18 June 2020

Travel, environmental impacts and budgeting are among the top concerns for Australians moving beyond lockdown conditions, according to a new NAB report.

Woman sits under tree using computer, considering financial future after COVID-19.

The analysis is based on more than 2,000 survey responses collected between May 21-29. It investigates the extent to which Aussies plan to change the way they live, work and shop in a post-coronavirus future.

Beyond practical considerations around enhanced hygiene, the way people travel and move around day-to-day is the most prominent anticipated change. Saving more for emergencies is the next item on the agenda, alongside other reductions in non-essential spending. 

But when it comes to aspects of life which have been altered by the lockdown measures, reduction in pollution levels is what Australians are most intent on maintaining. 

Sustainable future focus

Around 42% of respondents said they would not like to return to the higher levels of environmental impact and pollution seen prior to the pandemic conditions. 

International bodies like the World Economic Forum and numerous research groups have analysed reductions in carbon emissions as flights have been suspended and factories and cities shut down around the world. A report published in science journal Nature Climate Change estimated a 17% drop in global daily carbon dioxide emissions in April, the lowest level seen in more than 14 years. 

How can my financial choices impact this? 
There are many money moves which can help reduce your carbon footprint. Ensure your cash is stored somewhere supporting sustainable practices by choosing a bank and super fund not investing in fossil fuels. 

Then look at your utility bills. Are you eligible for a green energy plan? Or, can you switch to a provider offering carbon-neutral options? These choices – which could save you money in the long run – can contribute to the big sustainable changes Australians are looking for.

Travel and getting around

Different modes of transport and holiday destinations are top of mind for many as the country navigates social distancing and travel restrictions. NAB’s survey respondents cited international holiday travel, plane travel and using public transport as three out of the top four lifestyle elements they expect to change in the future, with significant reductions expected across the board.

How can my financial choices impact this? 
The important thing here is to consider what your travel needs will look like in the future, and how to manage any related finances. If you’re working from home instead of commuting to the office via public transport, it might be wise to pop that extra $50 per week into a high interest savings account

For car-owners who are driving less, pay-as-you-drive car insurance could be a cheaper alternative. Conversely, if you’re organising a road-trip holiday while international excursions are still off the cards, you may want to give your wheels a tune-up and consider including any additional drivers on your insurance policy. This could help you avoid paying more excess for non-listed drivers in case you need to make a claim.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to save on car insurance right now.

Shopping less and saving more

It looks like plans to spend less on non-essentials and save more for future emergencies are still a high priority for Australians. The report showed 30% of respondents want to continue to consume less into the future after reduced spending during COVID-19. 

When respondents were asked how likely they were to increase their emergency fund on a scale from 1-10 (10 being ‘to a significant extent’), 5.3 was the average answer. Compared to when the question was posed in NAB’s March survey, this rate jumped up from 4.1, which is the largest increase across all the assessed lifestyle factors. 

How can my financial choices impact this?
Curb spending and maximise savings by creating a budget. It may sound simple, but laying out all your incoming and outgoing costs, cutting non-essential or wasteful spending, and aiming for a dedicated savings goal each week or month can really boost your emergency nest egg. 

Want to set out a long-term savings plan? Check out term deposit rates with Mozo’s comparison tool.

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