Small sweetener in long black days of budget woes

Barista serving customer takeaway coffee. | Newsreel
Aussies are cutting back on coffee as one way to reduce spending. | Photo: Yakobchuk Olena (iStock)

Restaurants and cafes are bearing the brunt of Australians’ cost-cutting measures, but overall cost-of-living concerns are easing.

New NAB consumer sentiment data revealed we still have concerns about the family budget, but a continued focus on “smarter spending” had eased household tensions.

The data showed Australians were less stressed about their job security, health, funding their retirement and government policy for the first time since late 2022 and, while still elevated, concerns over the cost of living fell for the third quarter in a row.

NAB Personal Banking Group Executive Rachel Slade said consumers were becoming more sophisticated as they fine-tuned their spending and saving behaviours.

“Australians are embracing ‘smarter spending’ to help them manage the cost of living and keep their budgets under control,” Ms Slade said.

The latest survey found half of respondents had cut back spending on eating out at restaurants (57 percent), treats like coffees and snacks (52 percent), entertainment (49 percent), car journeys to save on petrol (4 percent), holidays (45 percent) and food delivery services (43 percent).

Those who are cutting back are saving $320 each month on average, with Gen Z saving more, at around $370 per month.