Australians are splurging thousands of dollars a year on movies and meals selected with the tap of an app from the comfort of the couch.
The cost of convenience has been revealed with new figures showing consumers are spending an average of $328 a month — or $74 a week — to have food, movies, music and booze delivered to their doors or devices.
A growing appetite for food delivery apps accounts for the biggest slice, new St George bank data found, with spenders averaging $238 a month on Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Menulog.
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Some app-happy customers are even ordering food and drink deliveries from restaurants and cafes located less than 1km away, Uber Eats drivers say.
Consumer finance specialist Lisa Montgomery said the age of convenience was coming at a cost, as apps linked to bank cards could result in detachment from spending.
“We are now a set and forget society where we sign up for payments to come out of our accounts, but don’t see them unless we look at our bank statements,” she said.
“The costs can really add up, as we are not always paying attention due to our busy lives. It could actually lead to us spending a lot more money than we should.”
Bingeing on movie and TV streaming services Netflix and Stan, and purchases from iTunes, is costing an average of nearly $100 a month ($98.90), St George’s research found.
General manager Ross Miller said it was important consumers paid attention to how much they were spending at the tap or click of a device.
“With services such as movies and dining available in a few taps and linked directly to your bank account, we would encourage Aussie households to take a look at how much they are spending and decide if they are comfortable with these costs,” he said.
New figures from ING shows convenience apps are increasingly eating into our income, with an average of $304 spent on food delivery apps from January to November 2018, compared with $199 in 2017.
Drinkers are increasingly snubbing the bottle-o, with figures revealing a rising thirst for alcohol served to their doorsteps. They forked out an average of $174 on Tipple and Jimmy Brings so far this year, up from $160 last year.
Laura Higgins, senior executive leader with ASIC’s MoneySmart, said it was important consumers struck the right balance of budget and spending apps on their devices.
If used wisely, she said apps of convenience could actually be a good way to monitor how much people were racking up on their cards.
“All of that data is at your fingertips and it can really change how people understand their finances and track how much they are spending,” she said.
“When you are using cash you don’t necessarily know where that last $100 went.”
CURB YOUR APP SPENDING
• Create a budget and plan how much you can afford to spend in areas such as food and entertainment.
• Download a budgeting tool like ASIC’s TrackMySpend app.
• Move spending apps to the last screen of your phone so they are not immediately visible.
• If you can’t use credit cards sensibly, link your apps to debit cards instead.