Money mishaps: Aussies lose $13 billion

A composite image of Australian money and a crowd of people walking in the Sydney CBD.
Aussies are wasting money on purchases they regret. (Source: Getty)

Aussies are spending more than $13 billion every year on purchases they regret, according to new research.

A new survey from MyState Bank found Aussies spent $13.5 billion a year on spur-of-the-moment purchases.

Almost all Australians (94 per cent) are splurging on themselves despite the current cost-of-living pressures, with Gen Z (68 per cent) and Millennials (56 per cent) the most likely to spend on impulse purchases.

Conducted by Lonergan Research on behalf of MyState Bank, the survey of more than 1,100 Australians looked at how these impulse purchases happened, and the financial impact from them each year.

The research also found that while nearly half (45 per cent) of those who splurged on themselves felt happy when they did it, the sense of instant gratification wore off quickly, with almost 5 million Australians buying something in the past week they already regretted.

Despite that regret, seven out of eight Australians are aware of when they’re more likely to engage in that spending behaviour.

What are we wasting our money on?

Funnily enough, 33 per cent of Aussies admitted they treated themselves as a reward for previously forgoing something they didn't need - literally treating themselves for not treating themselves.

When it comes to the products Australians most regret purchasing, exercise equipment and health accessories topped the list, with one quarter claiming those categories as their most regrettable purchases, compared to only 6 per cent regretting a tattoo.

And, despite feeling good in the moment, the research found that, in the long run, regrettable purchases were impacting our mental and financial well-being.

A third of those surveyed said purchase regret was taking a negative toll on their mental health and they were worried they were too set in their ways to manage their money better.

The survey reported half of Australians agreed their impulse purchases were costing more than ever due to the current cost-of-living pressures.

MyState Bank CEO Brett Morgan said he hoped the survey results would remind Australians that we’d all made money mishaps, and it was never too late to “reset” and start good savings habits.

“In the past week alone, almost 5 million Australians will have purchased something they already regret,” Morgan said.

“Money mishaps are something we’re all guilty of, and we want to help, rather than feel any shame about it.”

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