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Consumerism & Finances

The blog is intended as an informative and learning resource for people struggling with their personal finances, consumer habits and debt management.

Australians Are Overspending to Keep Up With Each Other

Tony Buchanon Tony Buchanon , 7/30/2018
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Keeping up with the Joneses or Kardashians – whichever bunch you prefer. The truth remains, Aussies love spending their money on items that will make themselves appear better. The only question is who they are trying to impress – is it their friends and family, social media, or themselves actually? We’ll guide you through some facts before we can answer the question fully.

When it comes to consumerism and spending money on shopping, nobody does it better than the Aussies. According to research, one in two Australians spend (or rather waste) all their income each month, which speaks volumes about the consumer habits. Apparently, people from the Land Down Under are more prone to overspending than the rest of the world. Not only are they able to splurge $11 billion on Christmas presents, but they remain keen shoppers throughout the whole year, thus spending more than they can earn.

An average person living in a metro area spends about $2,150 a month, depending on the time of year. In regional areas, the sum is $1,947. More often than not, salaries are spent too quickly, with Sydney and Melbourne leading the way.

Luckily, UBank has designed a way to limit your costs depending on your desired savings. Hopefully, this should keep you on the right track. But in the meantime, let’s get to the bottom of the matter: why are they doing all this? What’s their driving force? And, is it all Millennials’ fault?  

As you might have guessed, one part of the answer lies in social media. Being connected to people is nowadays more important than ever. Despite the fact that a lot of the correspondence takes place over Instagram, Facebook and other applications. People still feel the need to remain in touch, but not always an equal desire to meet in person. A survey reported that Australians spend 46 hours a week on average looking at screens, but only 6 hours with family and friends. No matter how many people name tiredness and distance as the reasons for not establishing face-to-face communication, there’s always time for what matters the most to them – appearance.

In 2015, citizens from this continent were the biggest spenders when it came to apparel. Canada and Japan followed. Australia is a major clothing market, and there’s no easier way than to show off your “riches” by going to a (online) shop and purchasing something to stand out until the next person gets it. Maybe this wouldn’t be so important and striking if the social media accounts weren’t swarming with photos of celebrities and commons celebrating the fact they own a particular brand.

Let’s use a bit of more psychology. While developed countries are known to continually enlarge their average income, the overall feeling of happiness does not follow the same route. Unfortunately, Australians are in the second place in the world among the developed countries when it comes to buying antidepressants. Considering the fact how much they like investing into the overall appearance, Aussies are simply falling prey to the global pursuit of unreachable goals. Basically, it’s impossible to make your life match someone else’s Instagram account. Especially due to the fact that so many of those representations are absolutely fake. Starting from the basic appearances (cosmetic surgery, layers and layers of heavy make-up, expert use of Photoshop) to the fact that showing off a random luxury item as a sign of happiness is absolutely ridiculous, isn’t it? Essentially, why would owning a bag have anything to do with how one feels? Or maybe a sports car? The more one spends time eyeing and absorbing such images, the unhappier they get because it’s absolutely impossible for most of us to come up to such insanely high expectations. Simply put, life cannot be “fabulous” every single moment, can it?

As for the Millennials part in all of this, they are willing to pay extra for good quality items, but only if it’s on sale, so the whole overspending drama can’t be blamed on them.

So, what does the future hold? It remains to be seen. Hopefully, by using a daily spending app, and by finally setting the priorities right, Australians will once again feel happiness, which seems to be so elusive while they are fighting depression. Recognizing the problem is always the first step towards healing, and probably soon at least one part of the nation will begin to caring less about the Kardashians and the Joneses alike.