Australians are spending as much as $250 a week on entertainment, with mid-career home-owners leading the charge, research reveals.
Middle-aged, high-earning professionals based in the inner suburbs are the nation’s biggest spenders on leisure at $248 per week, with half of their outlay devoted to activities at home such as entertaining family and friends, gardening and hobbies, the results from market research Ray Morgan showed.
Career-minded, upwardly mobile Gen Ys who are yet to start a family aren’t far behind, shelling out $234 per week, with the bulk of their dollars going towards activities outside the home such as clubbing and the theatre, the report, entitled Adult entertainment (it’s not what you think), found.
… As you get to the more affluent, then how people spend their money really becomes a matter of choice
The average Australian adult spends $132 a week on entertainment, comprising $71 on going out, $47 on home entertainment and $15 on gambling.
At the bottom of the spectrum, older people living in rural areas were the thriftiest demographic, parting with just $84 a week on leisure activities.
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says that it’s not only the amount spent on entertainment that increases in income, but also the range of leisure activities sought out that increases as wages go up.
“What you find is as you get to the more affluent, then how people spend their money really becomes a matter of choice,” she says.
Across all population groups, gambling makes up a significant part of entertainment expense.
For some sections of society – such as older people working in unskilled jobs who have minimal savings – betting and gaming makes up a very significant slice of their entertainment budget, with their spend coming in at almost three times the national average.
But is spending on entertainment a good measure of how much Australians enjoy their lives?
Comedian, Asher Treleaven, whose new show Smaller Poorer Weaker Cheaper focusses on finding contentment in life beyond consumerism, says that it’s not necessarily the case.
“What are we really shooting for? What’s the point? And I guess the point is to be content and happy and at peace,” he asks.
“And there’s lots of different ways of achieving that – you don’t all have to go and sit under a tree and meditate and have a little spoon of yogurt every 500 years.
“And you simultaneously don’t need to reach it by getting absolutely blitzed every single weekend and throwing yourself into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt.”
What types of spender are you?
Young and Platinum
Average entertainment spend: $234
Who they are:
• Ethnically diverse
• Many are married – but are yet to have children
• Highly educated, ambitious and well-paid
• Work hard to let off steam through socialising
Age: Mature age
Average entertainment spend: $248
Who they are:
• Home is important – they have invested a lot of money in where they live – and, as a result, about half their entertainment spend is on “cocooning” activities such as gardening, hobbies and entertaining friends and family.
• Leaders in their fields – whether that is business, surgery, PR or finance.
• Typically married with children and living in the inner suburbs.
Average entertainment spend: $214
Who they are:
• Educated, urban, hard-working and motivated
• Hold responsible jobs across the public service and private sector
• A significant proportion earn high salaries
• Mainly singles and de factos, who lead high-flying, hectic lifestyles
Average entertainment spend: $84
Who they are:
• Work in the agricultural sector
• Often empty nesters, or else single after a separation or death of a spouse
• Left school early to start working in manual labour agriculture positions and worked up to managerial or proprietor roles
How to cut down on your entertainment spend:
Emma Merkas, founder of $30 Dollar Date Night, a blog that provides ideas for couples to spend quality time on a budget, suggests the following ways to cut down on your entertainment spend:
Find weekday happy hours
Most people go out on weekends, but that’s not when you’ll find the best value.
Pubs and clubs often schedule discounts, offers and happy hours for weekdays when business is quieter.
Do your research, figure out the options in your area for a cheap night out – and, as an added bonus, skip the crowds.
Swear off the moonshine
For those who enjoy a drink, the cost of alcohol can be a big contributor to the cost of going out.
Many pubs and clubs – particularly live music venues – put on free gigs to attract customers so they can make profits through alcohol sales.
What if you went out but didn’t buy drinks? It’s not only good for your wallet, but your health too.
BYO – no corkage fees
Even when you’re at a restaurant, alcohol still makes up a disproportionate cost of the meal.
The easy way around that, is finding places that have a BYO policy – and don’t charge corkage fees.
First time’s for free
Take advantage of free trials for activities that interest you, but have never tried.
It could be good way to get a crash course in learning a new hobby.