Six out of the top 10 categories relate to just two things. Can you guess what they are, and could you be cutting back

As a nation, Aussies aged 18 and over spent approximately $145 billion on lifestyle costs over a 12-month period, with the average spend per person around $7,800, according to research1.

While clothing and footwear took out the number one spot by a country mile on the top-ten list for lifestyle expenditure, six out of 10 categories related to just two things - eating and drinking out2.

Below we list the lifestyle costs that made up the top-10 list and some possible ways you could cut back in these areas without cutting back on life.

Lifestyle expenses costing Aussies the most

Below is what Aussies spent collectively on various lifestyle categories in the space of one year3:

  • Clothing and shoes - $21.5 billion
  • Restaurant dinners - $11.7 billion
  • Cigarettes - $10.7 billion
  • Takeaway dinners - $10.6 billion
  • Weekend brunch outings - $7.4 billion
  • Gambling and lotteries - $6.7 billion
  • Buying lunch at work - $6.4 billion
  • Buying coffee out - $5.9 billion
  • Drinks at the bar - $5.8 billion
  • Sportswear / sports equipment - $5.5 billion.

Ways to cut back on spending

If the categories in the top 10 do sound a little too familiar, and you’re looking at ways to make your money go further, the good news is you don’t have to cut these things out completely to reduce you’re spending. Below are some suggestions.

Clothing and shoes

Consider writing down what you’re after before you go shopping to avoid buying things you don’t need, or rent or raid a good mate’s closet if you have an event but don’t want to wear something you’ve worn before. Even buying one less item a month (at $100) could save you $1,200 a year.

Restaurant dinners

Depending on how many courses you’re having and what selections you’re making from the drinks menu, opting to eat at home occasionally won’t ruin your social life. Taking turns to host dinner parties with friends could reduce everyone’s costs, as could everyone bringing their favourite dish.


Whether you’re a heavy smoker or count yourself more of a social one, reducing your intake by even a packet a week (assuming a packet is around $35) could put over $1,800 a year back in your pocket, not to mention the potential health benefits.

Takeaway dinners

Say you get takeout three times a week and spend roughly $30 each time. If you swapped just two of those takeaway meals with something you could cook at home for say $10 a meal – that’d be a saving of $40 a week, which is just over $2,000 annually.

Weekend brunch outings

Whether you’re ordering smashed avo or you’re more of the bacon-and-eggs type, add a coffee, and you’re probably paying around $25 per brunch. As an alternative, opting for a picnic basket filled with $5 worth of stuff you have at home and hitting the park twice a month could save you $480 a year.

Gambling and lotteries

Whether you buy the odd lottery ticket or have the occasional flutter on the pokies, making this a less frequent event or setting yourself a limit could put money back in your pocket. Meanwhile, if it’s going from a recreational to regular activity and you need help, call the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858.

Buying lunch at work

The convenience of it may be a wonderful thing, but if you’re forking out $50 Monday through Friday, keep in mind bringing something from home (for say $4 a portion) could save you nearly $1,500 a year. Even if you make lunch one week and buy it the next, you could put away around $750 a year.

Buying coffee out

The barista might make a better coffee than you can but giving up five takeaway coffees a week could save you around $1,000 a year. And, if the instant coffee you make is really that bad, even cutting back on one or two takeaways a week could save you more than $400 over 12 months.

Drinks at the bar

If your drink of choice costs around $7 – cutting out just three drinks a week could save you over $1,000 a year. Another idea is to check out what deals are on as you might be able to get a drink thrown in for free when purchasing your dinner. Apps like TheHappiestHour might provide ideas.

Sportswear / sports equipment

If you’re paying a lot here, you could consider a different type of fitness regimen where you swap a new set of dumbbells or boxing gloves for a scenic walk or swim at the beach. Ditching an unused gym membership (which might be $40 a fortnight) could also save you $1,000 a year.

Need help?

If you're successful in cutting back on your spending, you may also be keen to put some of the money you're able to save away for something special. The AMP Saver Account, which is an award-winning savings account, could be worth looking into, having been recognised by comparison groups Mozo and Canstar in 2019 based on a combination of its interest rates and other features. Learn more.

1-3 Mozo - Australians eating away savings, spending a whopping $4 billion on food and drink per month

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This information is provided by AWM Services Pty Ltd ABN 15 139 353 496, AFSL No. 366121 (AWM Services). It is general information only and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relation to products and services provided to you.

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