Financial savviness is on the rise but many are still making big sacrifices – especially millennials


SYDNEY, Australia – 30 September 2019: New research from UBank, reveals 3 in 4 Australians are now savings-focused, with over half (53%) saying that being financially savvy is – wait for it – cool.*

While UBank’s 2018 Know Your Numbers Index found 59% of Australians were stressed or losing sleep over their finances**, new research reveals only 33% now say they’re losing sleep about money. In fact, 52% say they’re in better control of their spending and are more financially savvy than ever before. Across all age groups and income levels, Australians are feeling frugal.

With recession fears, low interest rates and would-be first-home buyers seeing hope from falling property prices, there’s a clear focus on saving rather than spending. 20% even say they ‘fixate’ on their savings and budgets, with Aussies only making unplanned purchases 1.32 times a week on average. In a quest to get ahead, many are making sacrifices that range from holding out on smaller, everyday luxuries to bigger cutbacks like dropping insurance.

Brunches, ride-sharing apps, streaming and subscription services are some of the first to get the boot when Aussies are in saving mode. The most common sacrifice is dining out (61%), especially for people aged 18-24 (76%), while 41% say they’ve cut back on coffee and subscriptions like gym memberships or streaming services.

But 35% are going further by cutting back on private health insurance, along with other insurance products (29% of Australians say they’ve cut back on home, content or car insurances). Millennials are even likelier to skip insurance to get ahead – 44% say they dropped their health insurance or other type of insurance.

Although the research finds most are feeling proud of their money-managing skills, there are other signs that many are still dealing with challenges – especially if they’re part of a younger generation. For one third of Aussies, the way they spend money makes them feel like they haven’t saved enough for their age. This number jumps to 46% for millennials.

Many Australians aren’t confident about their ability to save for big-ticket items, either. One quarter (25%) say their spending makes them feel like they won’t be able to afford a home; nearly half of millennials (40%) say they feel this way. And a whopping 77% say that dipping into their savings causes them anxiety, underscoring the importance of preventive budgeting and saving.

UBank CEO, Lee Hatton says, “Millennials get a bad rap when it comes to their finances, but these results show something that we’ve known for a long time – that this age group certainly has big goals in their sights and they’re willing to make tough choices to get ahead.”

Despite a shift toward savviness over extravagance, only 12% of Australians say they’re currently using a financial management or budget tool to help them save. This number is higher for millennials (23%), a group who are also more likely to say they’d be interested in trying a budgeting tool if they aren’t already.

With financial awareness in vogue, yet so few people using technology to help them save, it’s more important than ever for Australians to be aware of the tools that can support their goals.

“Even if Australians are feeling more focused and confident about saving money, managing personal finances can still seem complicated without the right tools,” says UBank CEO Lee Hatton.

That’s where features like UBank’s in-app tool, Free2Spend, can help. The tool allows users plan for expenses, savings goals and income. It then calculates the dollar value that users are ‘free to spend’ each day, constantly recalibrating their daily number based on how they’re spending with their USpend transaction account. Put simply, it outsources the day-to-day mental calculations of planning and sticking to a budget.

“Since launching, UBank customers using Free2Spend have saved $109 million against a combined goal value of $490 million. The average goal is $40,000 per person. And, customers who have Free2Spend login and check their accounts once every two days (on average), compared to customers without Free2Spend, who are checking their accounts approximately once a week,” said Hatton”


For more information or to use Free2Spend as a UBank customer, go to


Free2Spend is available on iOS (10+) and can be downloaded from the App Store3 today via the UBank app:

About the research

Research conducted and compiled by YouGov Galaxy on behalf of UBank, September 2019. The sample comprises 1,008 Australians aged 18 years and older distributed throughout Australia. Following the completion of interviewing, the data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates

About UBank

UBank was launched in 2008 and was developed and is supported by the financial strength and global capabilities of National Australia Bank Limited (NAB). UBank is a fintech and provides simpler, better, smarter banking for its customers online and over the phone. Operating under NAB’s banking licence, UBank currently offers a range of products including competitive home loans, online savings accounts, and Term Deposit accounts (which can be used by Self-Managed Super Funds). © National Australia Bank Limited ABN 12 004 044 937 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 230686.

Media contact:

Elizabeth Johns, Pulse Communications
0466 527 830


* Research conducted and compiled by YouGov Galaxy, September 2019

** Know Your Numbers research conducted and compiled by YouGov Galaxy, February 2018