Why 86% of Australians don't know their monthly expenses


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If you don't know how much you spend on household expenses and entertainment every month, you're not alone. It appears very few Australians can tell you the exact amount, according to a new study by UBank.

A staggering 86% of the Australian population doesn't know how much money they are spending every month. Some 82% don't know what their mortgage rate is either.

The most common reason given as to why people don't know their monthly expenses accurately, according to UBank, is that it's too hard to calculate the expenditure.

australians don't know monthly expenses ubank mortgage interest rate budgeting

It may be a relaxed approach to take about money but those Australians without an awareness of their expenses are anything but relaxed. The research found 59% of Australians admit their current financial situation causes them stress or loss of sleep and nearly half of millennials (44%) constantly worry about their financial future.

"With the latest data from the Bureau of Statistics uncovering that the cost of living in Australia rose 2% last year and is the strongest pace of growth we've experienced in 3.5 years, it's never been more important to know your numbers," says Lee Hatton, CEO of UBank.

Australians also struggle to remember other key financial numbers such as the debt on their credit card with only 22% of cardholders accurately knowing their debt.

The number of Australians who feel that they are in full control of their finances is only around one in five, according to UBank.

Budgeting and spending measures can give people peace of mind. The good news is that there are numerous financial management apps that help with budgeting and spending to record expenses and help people feel in control of their money.

The UBank research found only 28% of Australians actively use financial management/budgeting tools. Additionally, 31% say they have not used any, but think it would be a good move.

Hatton makes the point that if you know important rates such as your mortgage; you are more likely to realise that there are special deals that are more attractive and could potentially save you thousands if you switch.

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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.
David Wright
March 28, 2018 1.21pm

Susan your article is spot on in that you have identified that very few people are planning what happens to their money. Their financial journey just happens!
However, I think people realise that keeping records and generating statistics about what they spent last month is a waste of time because last month is done and dusted. You can't change the past.
So not looking backwards at your financial history is NOT necessarily a bad thing, however the real issue is that people haven't worked out what the better alternative is, so they are between a rock and a hard place!
Knowing what you have committed to each month is imperative so it's a scary thing to think that 86% of Aussies don't know that figure. What they also don't know is that there is a much more exciting way of finding it than looking through last month's bank statements!
The key to getting rid of the money stress and to start making real progress is to know what you are planning to spend in the next month and the next and the next... I.e to have a Spending Plan.
Without a shadow of doubt a Spending Plan is the 'better alternative' people don't know they are looking for!
Planning Your Spending BEFORE the month even starts so you know what is possible and what your options are for your money BEFORE it arrives is the stuff that financial freedom is made of!
Spending Planning is the next BIG thing in the world of Money and it will permanently change people's lives for the better!