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Savings sinkhole: Australians dip into nest egg to the tune of $47 billion

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Disposable income is quickly drying up, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,059 respondents revealed almost 1 in 2 Aussies (47%) have taken money out of their savings account in the past 12 months.

The research shows that of the Australians who have taken from their savings, they have withdrawn $2,365 on average – that's a staggering $47 billion nationwide.

Mortgage and rental payments ($367), everyday essentials ($327) and unforeseen emergencies such as medical costs ($185) are burning the biggest hole in Aussies' savings.

Debt repayments ($149) and school fees ($29) are also draining funds.

Alison Banney, money expert at Finder, said a growing number of families are living paycheque to paycheque.

"Aussies are doing it tough with many unable to cover rising costs from their income alone.

"Millions of people are in pretty bad financial shape at the moment and pressure continues to build."

Finder's data reveals women spent more of their savings over the past year than men – with women withdrawing $2,524 on average, compared to $2,199 for men.

Banney urged Australians to do a thorough audit of their lifestyle to cut costs.

"From refinancing a loan for a lower interest rate to getting a better deal on your mobile phone plan there are a lot of quick wins hiding in plain sight.

"Budgeting is also important to see where your money is going to make sure there isn't any wastage.

"There's a ceiling for how much you can cut from your life – but the sky's the limit when it comes to how much we can earn."

Banney said households should prioritise boosting their income to replenish savings.

"Take on extra responsibility at work to secure a pay rise if you're able to or use your skills to earn some extra cash in the gig economy to increase revenue streams.

"Then invest this extra money to build wealth."

Have you had to take money out of your savings in the last 12 months?
Yes, for an emergency (e.g. medical cost)$185
Yes, for everyday essentials$327
Yes, to pay for rent/mortgage$367
Yes, for school fees/expenses$29
Yes, to pay off debt (e.g. BNPL, credit card)$149
Yes, other$542
Source: Finder survey of 500 Australians who responded "yes" to taking money out of their savings, March 2023

Need some help kickstarting your financial goals? Check out these 50 easy and practical money-savings tips that will help you budget and save money quickly.

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