ME Bank's latest survey of 1,000 Australian adults revealed that 40% of respondents are creating new habits to help achieve their financial goals.

The majority (84%) also said time at home was an opportunity to assess their financial goals.

New financial habits have included being motivated to create an emergency fund (55%), saving for a significant expense (41%), and starting a side hustle (21%).

Additional new habits have included:

  • Spending less on discretionary items like takeaway meals and coffee (72%)
  • Creating budgeting or saving plans (45%)
  • Tracking expenses (40%)
  • Paying bills on time (32%)
  • Planning purchases (32%)
  • Spending less on groceries (30%)
  • Saving loose change (27%)

ME's money expert, Matthew Read, attributes many people re-evaluating their finances to the extra time on their hands during lockdowns.

"It might be fair to say COVID lockdowns have, and may continue to, make many Australians more financially savvy," Mr Read said.

These findings are corroborated by data released last year, which showed the household savings ratio hit 46-year highs off the back of lockdowns, government support, and limited ways to spend money.

However, many people did not experience positive changes in financial behaviour during lockdowns, according to ME's survey.

One fifth (19%) of respondents developed 'negative' habits that 'hindered or are hindering them' from achieving their financial goals.

These habits have included general online shopping (71%); shopping when bored (34%); alcohol consumption (33%); and impulse buying (25%).

"We all know the lockdowns aren’t easy, and we’re once again being tested, but it’s great to see so many Australians working towards a healthy financial future," Mr Read said.

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