HEY big spender. It’s still a week from payday and your bank balance is looking perilously low. Where did your money go? Rent? Bills? Saturday night out? Or that leather jacket you just had to have?
According to research released by ING Direct Australians spend their money on a variety of things. Nationally, we spent 20.5 per cent of our take home on housing, an average of $990 a month per household. Western Australians had the highest housing costs at $1249 while South Australians got off cheap 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 Surry Hills, Albert Park or Northbridge, 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 got it done with $585.
The cost of groceries claimed 12.1 per cent of monthly salaries at $531. Transport costs (including car) extracted 6.9 per cent, or $299, from hip pockets while health expenses accounted for 4.2 per cent, or $174, of spending. Victorians were the biggest spenders on clothing at $161 a month, $20 above the national average of $141 (3.2 per cent of monthly salary) and on entertainment and dining out at $240. The national average spent on entertainment was $203 and made up 4.3 per cent of the take home packet.
Over a year, Australians spent $2952 on holidays. However, Queenslanders were the most frugal in this area, parting with only $2390. It must be all those staycations in the sunny north. 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. 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.
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.”