Four money mindsets revealed as Aussies reset their finances for 2022



Almost half of all Aussies are worried about the future of their finances and one in four don’t plan for it, according to new NAB data.

With money and finances featuring in many New Year’s resolutions, it can be revealed three out of five Australians wish they could save more each month than they currently do.

NAB can also reveal four key money mindsets based on extensive research and customer interviews as thousands use the new year to reset their finances and goals.

  • Dollar-stretchers who watch how they spent every dollar and often struggle to make ends meet in the final days of a pay cycle.
  • Goal-driven savers who focus hard on achieving savings goals, but whose habits can change once they reach a milestone.
  • Impulse spenders who live for the moment, love having different experiences and don’t like thinking long-term.
  • Habitual savers who love saving money and get satisfaction, safety and security from watching it grow.

NAB Group Executive Personal Banking Rachel Slade said the survey of more than 1,000 people highlighted how Australians wanted more control of their money.

“We know saving and spending new year’s resolutions are popular with our customers and 2022 will be no different as thousands of Aussies think about and plan their goals, hopes and dreams for the year ahead,” Ms Slade said.

“For some people, January can be a financial hangover as we get out of holiday mode and assess the full impact of Christmas spending. For others, reviewing their finances is something they do at the start of every year.

“NAB’s money mindsets are a great way to identify how you think, feel and behave about spending and saving.

“Our research and interviews showed money mindsets aren’t income dependant. Instead, they are influenced by major milestones like getting married, having a baby, achieving a financial goal or a change in financial circumstances.

“NAB’s budgeting and planning tools like My Goals can help customers manage their finances so 2022 is memorable for all the right reasons.”

The research also found:

  • 23% of people struggle to control spending.
  • Aussies under 30 and the most digitally savvy are the biggest savers but also the biggest discretionary spenders.
  • 60% have a budget of some kind, with almost 7 out of 10 reviewing it monthly.
  • 9 in 10 use some sort of tool to manage their finances, with internet banking and banking apps the most popular.

NAB customer and Melbourne HR professional Jenny Le said she’d identified with different money mindsets at different points in her life.

Jenny Le changed her money mindset after buying her first home.

“I used to be an impulse spender. After an achievement, like getting a new job, I’d buy myself a treat, like some shoes or a bag on the credit card, and take that out of my savings,” Ms Le, 29, said.

“My partner and I bought a house (last) year. Before we got a mortgage, I was more of a habitual saver. I’d put savings away for the sake of it without really having a goal. But since getting a mortgage, having to pay that and put money into the offset, I haven’t really been able to save for myself.

“Now I’m more of a goal-driven saver combined with a dollar stretcher. I get paid fortnightly and put away money for bills, mortgage repayments and the offset into different accounts straight away. I’m left with very little spending money for the rest of the fortnight.”

Ms Le, who has a credit card and everyday transaction account with NAB, said she and her partner recently did a budget together.

“It was quite confronting when you add up all those expenses together, but it helped us realise that we can’t be putting everything on the credit card,” she said.

Identify your money mindset and find ways to save


  • Highly conscious of where they spend their money.
  • Income goes to everyday essentials like food, rent and transport and debt repayments, meaning there’s little or nothing left for discretionary spending.
  • Strong budgeter.
  • Often uses credit to cover everyday expenses and can feel anxious about finances.



Tips and tricks for dollar-stretchers

  • Know there’s assistance available to access funds in an emergency.
  • Consider consolidating debts at a lower interest rate and paying the smallest off first.
  • Build an emergency fund as soon as you’re able to. Regular, small amounts are key.

Goal-driven savers

  • Savings are goal-focused and earmarked for a purpose like a holiday that can often be achieved within six months.
  • When highly motivated, will reduce expenses and increase their income with extra shifts or side hustles. Financial windfalls like bonuses and tax returns used to boost savings.
  • May be reluctant to commit to a long-term savings goal like a house deposit.
  • Without a savings buffer, unexpected expenses can prevent them from reaching their goal.

Tips and tricks for goal-driven savers

  • Set a savings plan, and a savings goal.
  • Separate the savings goal account from other funds like an emergency fund and everyday accounts using fee-free accounts.
  • Pay part of your salary straight into your savings account or set up an auto transfer so relying on what’s left at the end of a pay cycle.

Impulse spenders  

  • Discretionary spending and instant gratification takes priority over other goals and, in extreme cases, paying important bills.
  • Unlikely to have a long-term financial goal.
  • Often driven by a desire to reward themselves or have a particular experience. Often shop online when bored. Financial windfalls used on discretionary spending or debt repayments.
  • Can switch gears and become a goal-driven saver if a goal is desirable enough.


Tips and tricks for impulse spenders

  • Avoid any unnecessary purchases in the first week of a monthly pay cycle so you aren’t short at the other end.
  • Put barriers to spending in place – hide your savings from your account list, name accounts and savings goals so you’re less likely to dip into that money and leave items in your online shopping cart for one, three or five days to see if you really want/need them.
  • Keep receipts safe and look for generous returns policies.

Habitual savers 

  • Motivated by a desire to have control over their life and be secure, so spends frugally and loves a bargain.
  • Allocates savings at beginning of pay cycle and likely to “bucket” funds, but can overcommit and be left short for everyday expenses.
  • Likely to be saving for a house deposit or own property, and have an investment strategy.
  • Accesses financial education like YouTube or personal finance books. Frequently mentions role models, such as parents or commentators.

Tips and tricks for habitual savers

  • Plan the month ahead so you don’t overestimate your ability to save. Remember unexpected expenses sometimes occur and identify large one-off purchases where possible.
  • Look at ways to maximise savings such as term deposits or ensuring you’re using an offset account effectively if you have a mortgage.
  • Plan your next step, such as making an investment, and set a goal that may trigger it.


  • The research discussed in this article was conducted with 1017 people aged 16+ and representative of the Australian population.
  • The money mindsets are based on detailed customer interviews and extensive research and literature review.
  • The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends that you seek independent legal, financial and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.

Customers, banking & finance


Media Enquiries

For all media enquiries, please contact the NAB Media Line on 03 7035 5015

Related Articles

  • Scams

Aussies travelling abroad warned about international summer of scams

Australians heading overseas to chase a European or North American summer are being urged to get scam savvy to avoid a holiday from hell. Criminals are expected to target major sporting events and big international concerts, just as hundreds of thousands of Australians and their families prepare to jet off overseas.

  • 06.06.2024
  • Time to read 3 min read
  • Scams

Explainer – three travel scams to watch out for while chasing a European or North American summer

NAB shares the three travel scams to watch out for as hundreds of thousands of Aussies prepare escape winter down under and travel to Europe or North America.

  • 06.06.2024
  • Time to read 1 min read
  • Media Release

Families now the top users of no interest loans

More than 42,000 no interest loans have been issued in the past year by Good Shepherd and NAB, up 19% on the previous year, as Australians face cost of living pressures.

  • 31.05.2024
  • Time to read 3 min read

Quick links

Business Research and Insights

For more business news and analysis, visit NAB’s Business Research and Insights .

NAB Security Podcast

For more insights about cyber security and fraud, and practical tips on how to stay safe, listen in to NAB’s Security Podcast series.

NAB tech blog

For more insights about technology and the digital developments enabling change for customers, visit the NAB tech blog on Medium.