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Financial slip-ups: The most common mistakes Aussies are making

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Millions of Australians are guilty of making mistakes when it comes to their money, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,090 respondents revealed 2 in 5 (41%) – equivalent to 8.3 million Australians – have made a financial blunder in the last 12 months.

Forgetting to cancel a free trial (17%), letting a gift card expire (14%), and going over data limits (13%) are the top most common financial errors Australians have made in the last 12 months.

Taylor Blackburn, personal finance expert at Finder, said many of us can relate to making careless mistakes when it comes to our finances.

"Keeping track of all your expenses – especially the automatic ones – can be a challenge.

"But turning a blind eye can cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars if you aren't vigilant.

"Having just one $20 per month subscription you aren't using will set you back $240 a year. If that service costs $20 a week, now you are talking about $1,040 wasted in 12 months."

The research shows 1 in 10 (11%) have lent money to a friend without chasing them for a repayment, while 9% have missed out on their bonus savings rate.

Blackburn said the difference between the bonus savings rate and the standard rate on a high interest savings account can be more than 500 basis points.

A standard rate can be as low as 0.10% p.a. while the bonus rate can exceed 5% p.a.

"Missing out on bonus interest from your savings rate is a much bigger deal now than it used to be.

"With rates at 5.5% p.a. there is big interest to be made."

Someone with $10,000 in a bonus savings account at 5.5% p.a. would make $564 a year in interest.

That same person would make just $10 in a year if they were to miss the bonus rate and get 0.10% p.a.

Blackburn said everyone slips up once in a while.

"Whether it's being absent-minded or falling hostage to too many subscription services, we've all been there.

"If you are trying to get on top of these little flubs, there are free money management apps, like the Finder app, that do the hard yards for you.

"You can track all your expenses in one place, including upcoming bills, so you can take control of your finances," Blackburn said.

Gen Z are the most likely of all generations to make financial mistakes (66%), compared to baby boomers (16%).

Queenslanders are the most likely to admit to financial flubs (46%) compared to those in WA (27%).

Have you made any of the following financial blunders in the last 12 months?
Forgot to cancel a free trial17%
Let a gift card expire14%
Used more data than I had on my phone plan13%
Lent my friend money and didn't chase them to repay me11%
Missed out on my bonus savings rate9%
Had multiple subscriptions to the same service (e.g. digital subscriptions to the same newspaper)5%
Misunderstood an exchange rate and paid too much3%
No, I haven't made any financial blunders in the last 12 months59%
Source: Finder survey of 1,090 respondents, June 2023

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