How do Australians Spend Their Money

Have you ever reached the day before payday and your account balance was running on empty? Do you ever wonder where all your money goes each week? Nights out? Rent? Bills? Those expensive shoes you “really need”?


According to research released by ING Direct Australians spend their money on a variety of things.

Australians spent 9.9 per cent of their salary on paying back credit cards with households paying back $428 a month. However, ING Direct’s research found people who said they had an uncomfortable level of credit card debt also spent a higher than average amount on the essentials. ING Direct treasurer Michael Witts suggested some Australians may be using their credit cards as a bridge to pay for these items.

The research also found 18 per cent of households were spending more money than they earned which shows that we are definitely a nation that wants it now and is willing to pay for it later.



Nationally, Australian’s spent 20.5 per cent of their take home pay on housing, which works out at an average of $990 a month per household. Western Australians had the highest housing costs at $1249 while South Australians had the lowest cost of housing coming in at $787.

These numbers are averaged out between those in metropolitan, regional and rural areas so if you’re baulking at your $2800 apartment in Newstead, Fortitude Valley or Milton, remember where you live.

What might surprise people is that Australians are spending almost as much on household bills with 15.5 per cent of their salary going to the telephone, internet and power companies. The average amount spent every month is a whopping $633. But the disparity between states isn’t as great with New South Welshmen spending $682 at the pointy end while Victorians came in a little lower with $585.

What about food? The cost of groceries claimed 12.1 per cent of our monthly salaries at $531. Transport costs (including car) extracted 6.9 per cent, or $299, from our hip pockets while our health expenses accounted for 4.2 per cent, or $174, of our total spending. Victorians were the big spenders when it came to clothing at $161 a month, $20 above the national average of $141 (3.2 per cent of monthly salary) and they also took out the top prize for entertainment and dining out at $240 per month. The national average spent on entertainment was $203 which makes up 4.3 per cent of our take home pay packets.

Over a year, Australians spent $2952 on holidays. However, Queenslanders were the most frugal in this area, parting with only $2390. It must be because Queenslanders are lucky enough to have all those beautiful beaches on their doorsteps so they chose staycations instead of vacations.



Witts said: “Ultimately, there is no one size fits all approach to setting a budget. While rules of thumb can be a useful guide, you need to take your own individual circumstances into account. What’s probably more important is being aware of how you’re spending your money and taking early action to respond to an adverse change in circumstances when necessary.”

The big question of how do we go as a nation at saving our money came up also and it was found that Australians saved 6.4 per cent, or $329, a month of their take home pay. South Australians squirrel away the most money, putting aside $416 a month.


In general, Australians are good payers but not that good at saving, hence why finance is our number one choice when it comes to arranging a bike loan, car loan, jet ski loan, camper loan or pretty much any purchase over the $5,000 mark.

If you have any questions on how you can finance your next big purchase head to our website for more information.

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