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Eating out costs Aussies a fortune

Australians love dining out at restaurants and many are paying for their meals on credit.
Australians love dining out at restaurants and many are paying for their meals on credit.

THE nation's addiction to fast food and wining and dining in restaurants is costing a small fortune as Australians splash more cash than ever on eating out.

New analysis of Commonwealth Bank transaction data has revealed the banks' customers are spending more than $640 million per month on eating out, and with Christmas just six weeks away, customers are being warned to watch their spending.

The Commonwealth Bank has revealed customers are spending more than $640 per million eating out.
The Commonwealth Bank has revealed customers are spending more than $640 per million eating out.

At restaurants, diners are splurging about $140 per month each - up 6 per cent in two years - and appetites for fast food are also on the rise, with consumers spending about $90 per month - an increase of 20 per cent.

For those tucking into fast food, about 72 per cent of transactions are on debit cards, whereas for those dining in restaurants payments are split - only about 55 per cent of transactions are on debit cards and the rest pay by credit.

But with the nation's credit card debt resting at a whopping $51.3 billion and about $31.4 billion of that accruing interest, CBA's executive general manager of digital Pete Steel warned consumers to think carefully about how they paid when not eating at home.

CBA’s Pete Steel said there’s a growing trend for Australians to buy takeaway or eat out.
CBA’s Pete Steel said there’s a growing trend for Australians to buy takeaway or eat out.

"The RBA said about 85 per cent of all transactions are non-cash now, so we think as money is getting invisible it's a lot easier to spend,'' he said.

"When it comes to debit or credit, responsible budgeting and cashflow management is the key. Whether you are taking a monthly line of credit or whether you are spending directly out of your account, the key is to understand what you are spending."

Mr Steel said transaction notifications and alerts on the bank's app could help customers monitor their spending and they could also use the app's Spend Tracker capability.

This differentiates where and what customers are spending on in categories including eating out, entertainments, bills and shopping.

Rising Tide financial services' managing director Chris Browne said "tap and go" payments and paying by card had made Australians "more impulsive with spending."

Rising Tide Financial Services’ managing director Chris Browne said it can be easy to overspend when dining out or buying takeaway.
Rising Tide Financial Services’ managing director Chris Browne said it can be easy to overspend when dining out or buying takeaway.

"They are not taking cash out of their wallet and paying for their takeaway, they are rushing out their card and they are done,'' he said.

"You need to quantify the expense you would suffer if you take your family to a restaurant, for example is it worth taking them to a restaurant and paying $100 if I can make the same meal for $20 and make it at home.

"The reality is a lot of people are under pressure and working harder and longer because they have skyrocketing mortgages so inevitably they are going to eat takeaway and eat out."

Topics:  eat out editors picks expensive takeaway



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