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Most Australians are guilty of overspending particularly at Christmas

16 December 2016, Sophie Elsworth, News Corp Australia Network

A MAJORITY of Australians admit they have a problem with overspending particularly at Christmas and the biggest budgetary drain is spending too much money on groceries.

New Galaxy research commissioned by debt solutions company Fox Symes found three in four Australians admit they have a problem with exceeding their budgets and Generation Y are the worst.

The next biggest money waster behind groceries is entertainment, including spending money on socialising, restaurants and movies (30 per cent), followed by holidays (24 per cent) and clothing (24 per cent).

Fox Symes’s director Deborah Southon says it was concerning that so many people battle the overspending bug, which often leads them to end up drowning in debt.

“When you go through bank statements, it’s the level of discretionary spending that is quite extraordinary, it comes as a shock,’’ she said.

“It could be as soon as someone gets paid they go out and hit the shops, they might go to the supermarket, not once but two or three times in the same day, then buying clothing, it’s almost as though we can’t control our spending.”

Southon says it’s easy to go rogue on your spending during the silly season and not feel the full affects of a budgetary blowout until credit card statements arrive in the new year.

“Credit card debt is money that is not yours so you are spending money that you haven’t earned,’’ she said.

“Live within a budget and don’t spend any more than that, don’t wake up in January regretting what you did in December.’’

Rising Tide Financial Services managing director Chris Browne says “tap and go” had made spending become “too easy”.

He says many people “don’t have the dough and are trying to keep up with the Joneses.”

“For our clients we do an experiment of living on cash for one month and then we come up with a weekly target, often it’s around $200 and that’s what they have to live on for the next week,’’ he said. “Inevitably they give up after four days because they run out.”

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