Savings alert: Aussies spent way more on booze in 2015

Shirley Liu 3 February 2016


Aussies spent more on alcohol, health & education

In the September to December quarter of 2015, Aussies spent more of their money on alcohol and tobacco, health and education. Over the Christmas period, generally, spending on alcohol increases, but increased education expenditure seems less obvious.

Expenditure on alcohol and tobacco rose by 5.8%, well above the general cost of living increase of 1.1%.

The numbers in the table below show the percentage change in expenditure across a range of categories for employee households only, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). You can click on the table headings to sort.

CategoryChange (%)
All groups1.1
Food and non-alcoholic beverages0.4
Alcohol and tobacco5.8
Clothing and footwear0.4
Furnishings, household equipment and services1.9
Recreation and culture1.7
Insurance and financial services-1.9

According to the 2009-10 Australian Household Expenditure Surveys, households that went through tough financial times were spending more on alcohol even though that meant missing meals or failing to pay bills.

A report from the joint Centre for Alcohol Policy Research and Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education revealed Aussies direct 1.9% of their income on alcohol per week. Alcohol has a substitutive effect where it replaces essential goods and services like food, clothes and health services.

Young adults, especially younger men between the ages of 18 to 24 were the likely culprits when it came to spending more than average for alcohol. These people, that usually rented, were 1.7 times more likely to experience financial difficulty.

Many bottle shops are located in lower socioeconomic areas which tempt people to buy alcohol. Struggling households should consider refining its alcohol spending but government support might be needed. Policies that target household expenditure on alcohol may help reduce financial hardship. By restricting the availability of alcohol and raising prices and taxes, this may help young people and renters.

To make sure that you're not falling into the trap of spending more of your income on alcohol, check out these savings tips. Alternatively, you can open a savings account which will help you manage your finances better.

Picture: Shutterstock

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