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Pubs, pumps and perfume: Aussies’ biggest money regrets

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If you've ever splashed some cash and felt instant regret, you're not alone, according to new research by Finder.

A nationally representative survey of 1,057 respondents revealed 1 in 2 Australians (58%) – equivalent to 11.6 million people – experience money guilt.

The research found 46% frequently feel remorseful towards spending money.

Concerningly, 12% are always in over their heads, admitting they have no self-control when it comes to spending.

Women (75%) are almost twice as likely to admit to regretful spending than men (40%).

Amy Bradney-George, credit card expert at Finder, said societal pressure can often make you feel guilty about spending money on things you want rather than need.

"There's no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to spending money – everyone has different incomes and financial priorities.

"As long as it's within your means, spending your hard-earned cash on something that makes you happy shouldn't leave you filled with regret."

Eating out (59%), purchasing clothing and shoes (57%), as well as beauty and skincare (31%) top the list of Aussies' biggest money regrets.

Grabbing a drink at a bar or pub makes 1 in 3 (30%) squirm, as does lavishing money on homewares (17%) and gifts for others (14%).

The research shows 12% have no regrets on purchases they make and enjoy spending the money.

Bradney-George said the best thing to do is create a budget.

"Budgeting is great because it helps you see how much money you can put towards 'fun' expenses like Netflix or brunch with friends.

"Once you've put money towards all the essentials, like bills and groceries, you can use what's left to treat yourself – or save it for something bigger down the track.

"It can also make it clearer to see when something's outside of your budget, so you can find cheaper or free alternatives.

"For example, having a picnic or barbeque could be more affordable than eating out with friends. And op-shops or online marketplaces can help you save money on clothes and shoes and be a more sustainable option."

As we head into the year's biggest shopping season, Bradney-George encourages Australians to be mindful with their money.

"Black Friday is just around the corner, and is a great time to get a bargain. But focusing on what you need will help you stick to your budget and what's affordable.

"Make a wishlist and shop around so you can be sure you're getting the best bang for your buck – and that it's within your budget," Bradney-George said.

Gen Z are the most likely of all generations to experience money guilt (86%), followed by millennials (69%).

Baby boomers are the least likely to experience money guilt (31%).

Do you ever experience 'money guilt' (i.e. feeling guilty for purchasing something after the fact)?
Yes, always – I have no self-control when it comes to spending12%
Yes, sometimes – but I'm careful with my money most of the time46%
No, I'm very diligent when it comes to my spending30%
No, I like to spend my money and not feel guilty about it12%
Source: Finder survey of 1,057 respondents, September 2022
What do you feel 'money guilt' about?
Eating out59%
Clothing & shoes57%
Beauty & skincare31%
Drinks at bars / pubs30%
Gifts for others14%
Ubers / taxis14%
Events (concerts, etc.)12%
Gifts / accessories for my pet(s)5%
Source: Finder survey of 610 respondents that answered 'yes' to experiencing money guilt, September 2022 *Respondents could select all that apply.

Don't miss out on all the Black Friday sales happening now.

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