2013 may become the year of frugal living

RISING utility costs, uncertainty over employment and a lack of confidence in the global economy will make 2013 a year of frugal living for Australians, according to the ninth annual National Consumer Sentiment Survey from Mortgage Choice.

The online survey conducted by Australia's largest independently-operated mortgage broker uncovered the major concerns; financial plans; housing market outlook; and more, of 1025 consumers.

The national survey findings released late last week found Australians will tighten their belts in 2013 by reducing their spending and looking for other avenues to save money.

Mortgage Choice head of corporate affairs Belinda Williamson said "our annual Consumer Sentiment Survey has found Australian residents are not feeling overly confident about 2013, mostly due to external factors beyond their control".

"As a result, people are taking a more frugal approach to their finances and are working towards proactive steps to change their situation for the better."

The survey found that rising utility bills were the greatest concern for most consumers (22 per cent of respondents).

Equally in second place were concerns over job security, the state of the global economy, economic management at a Federal Government level (11% each) and rounding out the top five responses was other costs of living such as clothing, insurance, etc (10%).

To cope with the rising cost of living, more than half (55%) of those surveyed claim they have dipped into their savings to help make ends meet.

"The much publicised increase in the cost of utilities seems to be hitting every one hard and this survey suggests that Australian's overall are not feeling any more optimistic about their ability to meet these costs in 2013," Ms Williamson said.

"With job security and the economic outlook also weighing on the minds of Australians it is understandable that people are tightening their belts.

"We encourage those who are feeling the pinch to look at practical ways to positively impact their financial outlook for the year ahead, such as health checking your home loan to see if you can get a better deal or by making changes to your daily spending habits."


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