Rise of the cafe brunch: Aussie spending more on food and fun

Aussies are splurging more on holiday accommodation, food and arts and recreation activities, instead of retail goods, according to recent data from NAB.

According to NAB’s Customer Spending Behaviour report, overall customer spending in Australia increased by 3.9% over the second quarter of 2017, with the average monthly spend hitting $2,064 in metropolitan areas and $1,918 in regional areas.

And it seems Aussies are primarily concerned with splashing their cash on having a bit of fun - along with a massive 35.5% growth in arts and recreation spending, there was a 10.5% increase in spending on accommodation and food.

While fun and leisure showed the biggest increase in spending, financial and insurance services went up 3.8%, retail grew by just 3.3%, and areas like construction or education and training lost ground, with spending declining by 1.8% and 2.5% respectively.

RELATED: New fintech app takes a Welfie of your money

Recent Mozo research delving into the cost of living in Australia found Aussies are set to rack up a bill of $145 billion this year on spends like eating out, drinking, and clothing purchases.

In particular, the research showed that eating out was a real money-drain, with food and beverage related spends making up six out of the top ten lifestyle costs in 2017.

Mozo Cost of Lifestyle findings - food and beverages

ActivityTotal cost in 2017
Restaurant dinners$11.6 billion
Takeaway dinners$10.6 billion
Weekend brunch at a cafe or restaurant$7.3 billion
Buying lunch at work$6.4 billion
Buying coffee out$5.9 billion
Drinks at the pub or bar$5.8 billion

“Restaurant dinners racked up a formidable $11.7 billion – our second largest lifestyle cost, after clothing, which goes to show that Australians nationwide love to eat out,” said Mozo Director Kirsty Lamont.

But for anyone feeling the pinch of stagnant wages and rising living costs, there are some easy ways to claim a chunk of those funds back and stick them in your rainy day fund.

Mozo’s top tips for saving

1. Pack your lunch for work. You’ve probably heard this before, but there’s a good reason why it’s repeated so often. Instead if coughing up $8.50 for a deli lunch five days a week, try cooking up a week's worth of lunches on Sunday night. Tasty home-made lunches and an extra $42.50 in your savings account every week? Win-win.

2. Find free social activities. While we all enjoy a meal out or an event, you don’t have to go out to a restaurant, pub or expensive show every time you leave the house. Think about other fun things to with friends - for example, every second weekend, you might decide to stay-in for a Netflix marathon instead of hitting the town.

3. Choose the best place to stash your cash. If you saved every dollar you earn, you’d never have any fun, right? Well, the key to keeping your rainy day fund looking plush may not be cutting out all the things you love to do, but making the savings you have work harder for you. The first step to doing this is to stick your dollars in a high interest savings account. Head over to our savings account comparison table to check out your options.