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$2,365 per person: Aussies drain savings

Around half of Aussies have taken money from their savings account in the past 12 months.

A composite image of a crowd of people walking on the street and Australian currency to represent savings.
Aussies have removed around $47 billion from their savings. (Source: Getty) (AAP/Getty)

Aussies are dipping into their savings to get by as the cost of living soars, according to new research from Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,059 respondents revealed almost one in two Aussies (47 per cent) had taken money out of their savings account in the past 12 months.

The research found that those who had taken from their savings had withdrawn $2,365 on average – that’s a staggering $47 billion nationwide.

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But why were we removing our rainy-day buffers? It turns out, mostly to get by. Mortgage and rental payments ($367), everyday essentials ($327) and unforeseen emergencies such as medical costs ($185) were burning the biggest hole in Aussies’ savings over the past 12 months.

Debt repayments ($149) and school fees/expenses ($29) were also draining funds.

Finder money expert Alison Banney said a growing number of families were living paycheque to paycheque.

“Aussies are doing it tough, with many unable to cover rising costs from their income alone,” Banney said.

“Millions of people are in pretty bad financial shape at the moment and pressure continues to build.”

The data found women spent more of their savings over the past year than men – with women withdrawing $2,524 on average, compared to $2,199 for men.

Banney urged Australians to do a thorough audit of their lifestyle to cut costs.

“From refinancing a loan for a lower interest rate, to getting a better deal on your mobile phone plan, there are a lot of quick wins hiding in plain sight,” she said.

“Budgeting is also important to see where your money is going, to make sure there isn’t any wastage. There’s a ceiling for how much you can cut from your life but the sky's the limit when it comes to how much we can earn."

Banney said households should prioritise boosting their income to replenish savings.

“Take on extra responsibility at work to secure a pay rise, if you’re able to, or use your skills to earn some extra cash in the gig economy to increase revenue streams. Then invest this extra money to build wealth.”

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