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Little treat culture: 15 million Australians reluctant to forgo certain luxuries

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Millions of Aussies are refusing to give up their little luxuries, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,096 respondents revealed three quarters of Australians (74%) – equivalent to 15 million people – have held onto certain comforts despite the cost of living crisis.

Entertainment (20%), dining out (18%), and takeaway coffees (18%) top the list of luxuries Aussies are clinging onto regardless of rising costs.

As pressure looms, 15% are refusing to give up on their overseas holidays, while 14% are keeping a clutch on beauty products or services.

Almost 1 in 5 (17%) haven't given up anything – that's equivalent to 3.4 million people who are seemingly unaffected by skyrocketing living expenses.

On the other end of the spectrum, 1 in 4 (26%) have given up all luxuries in order to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.

Chris Jager, shopping expert at Finder, said despite discretionary spending falling, there are certain luxuries Australians won't give up.

"On one hand, a quarter of people are forgoing non-essentials just to make ends meet. On the other, many aren't ready to let go of certain things that provide them joy.

"The data points to a widening gap in Australia between the haves and the have nots – some are being forced to take drastic action while others are unaffected," Jager said.

Of all the generations, gen Z (86%) are the most reluctant to give up on discretionary spending, followed by millennials (76%).

The top three luxuries gen Z refuse to go without are entertainment (25%), beauty products or services (23%), and gym memberships (17%).

Jager said with the right mindset you can still enjoy small luxuries without feeling constrained.

"While it might feel like a 'little' treat at the time, try not to make a habit of it. These purchases can add up and cost hundreds or even thousands over the course of a year if you're not careful.

"Look for ways to enjoy little treats while saving money – there are cashback apps that you can use to save money on movies, or loyalty programs that give you points on your purchases.

"Creating a budget and tracking expenses is key to staying accountable and aware of where your money is going.

"That way you can set aside money for things like hobbies or beauty products without having to sacrifice bigger financial goals," Jager said.

Men (21%) are more likely than women (13%) to admit they are not restraining themselves from spending on non-essentials.

Which luxuries have you held on to despite the cost of living crisis?
I've given up all luxuries26%
Seeing entertainment (sports, concerts, movies)20%
Regularly eating out at restaurants18%
Barista takeaway coffee18%
Going on overseas holidays15%
Beauty products / services14%
Driving or taking ubers / cabs instead of public transport or walking11%
Expensive gym membership10%
Designer clothing9%
I haven't given up any17%
Source: Finder survey of 1,096 respondents, July 2023

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