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Belt tightening time: 17 million Australians would cut back spending to stay afloat

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Spending sprees and dinner dates may become infrequent thanks to surging everyday costs, according to new research by Finder.

A new nationally representative survey of 2,011 Australians found a staggering 85% of Aussies – equivalent to 17 million people – would cut back on spending in certain areas to manage rising costs.

The luxuries Aussies would cut first are eating out (22%), online shopping (13%) and TV subscriptions (10%).

Almost 1 in 10 (9%) Aussies would stop going to the pub to rein in spending.

Rebecca Pike, money expert at Finder, said a growing number of people are being forced to change their spending habits.

"Australians are tightening their belts and making some tricky decisions about how they spend their cash.

"The soaring cost of living is wreaking havoc on household budgets and making it tough to justify certain costs.

"'Fun' has been forced to take a backseat as households grapple with pressures to their budget, including rising interest rates and inflation."

With winter in the air, 5% of Aussies said they'd cut out heating their home to save money.

Health insurance (2%), children's extracurricular activities (1%) and school fees (1%) would become unattainable for some.

The research shows a whopping 94% of millennials would cut costs to ease financial pressures, compared to only 68% of baby boomers.

Pike urged consumers to group expenses into 2 categories – essentials and non-essentials.

"Cut from the non-essentials column first and shop around – now is the time to really think about where and how you can save money.

"That said, there's only so many ways to trim down expenses before making ends meet starts to feel impossible.

"If you find yourself in financial stress already, contact your providers and ask for a payment plan or contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007."

Women (88%) are more likely to make changes to adapt to rising costs than men (82%).

Pike said it was critical to know what's going in and out of your account, so you can budget accordingly.

"Money management apps – like the Finder app – can help you see your income and expenses all in one place and figure out how much you can afford to spend," Pike said.

If your expenses started to suddenly increase, what would be the first thing you would cut out to save money?
Going to restaurants22%
I wouldn't cut anything out15%
Online shopping13%
TV subscription10%
Going to bars/pubs9%
Gym membership6%
Takeaway coffee6%
Driving my car5%
Heating/cooling my home5%
Health insurance2%
My child's sport/music lessons or extracurriculars1%
Life insurance1%
Toys for my kids1%
Kids' school fees1%
Source: Finder survey of 2,011 respondents, June–July 2022
*Respondents could select all that apply

Looking for ways to save money? Here's 50 practical money-saving tips.

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