Young Aussies struggle to cover costs of a night out

Young people are going out less – and it's putting pressure on hospitality venues.

Young people are going out less – and it's putting pressure on hospitality venues. Photo: Getty

Fergus McWhirter loves to try Melbourne’s newest restaurants and bars, see the latest play or visit art exhibitions.

But like many young people, the 27-year-old had to slash his outings, especially since buying a home with his partner more than a year ago.

“My spending habits changed around then, definitely due to the cost of living and also the added stress of mortgage repayments as well, and interest rates that are super high,” McWhirter told The New Daily.

Rising financial pressures has put a dampener on Fergus McWhirter social life. Photo: Fergus McWhirter

“I try and limit [going out] to, say, a special occasion like … a date night or a friend’s birthday.

“I’m more hesitant with what I spend … I’m definitely not ordering that cocktail to start.”

He’s not alone; an ongoing survey by digital bank Up found more than a third of young Australians struggle to cover a night out.

More than 40 per cent of Gen Z said overspending on the good life was the main factor preventing them from getting ahead with money, while an equal amount of Millennials considered the cost of living to be the leading factor.

Up’s median ‘Hi-Fi score’ (which measures financial wellbeing on a scale from 0 to 100) was 55 for Gen Z, and 60 for Millennials.

Although more than half of the young Australians surveyed felt like things were getting better since November, the hospitality industry is keenly feeling the impact of reduced consumer spending.

Cafe owners are reluctant to put up coffee prices despite soaring costs due to the combination of stiff competition and less Australians with extra cash to spend on a daily brew.

Several high-profile restaurants across Melbourne and Sydney have closed their doors over recent months, and business owners have seen a shift in the demographics of their customers.

Rachel Power, owner of Mt Field Retreat in Tasmania, previously told The New Daily she was seeing more older customers during the cost-of-living crunch.

“With cost-of-living pressures we’ve seen a real demographic shift in the past 12 months,” she said.

“The older demographic like hotter coffees and different foods to the younger demographic – they tend to stay longer and like to have a chat.”

Australia Post data released in March shows Baby Boomers, many of whom have paid off their mortgage and raised their children, led the nation in online spending over the past year.

Baby Boomers splurged almost $1 billion more, while Generation X and Millennials saw their spending plunge by 11 and 2 per cent respectively.

But there is still hope for businesses and young consumers.

When asked to set an intention for 2024, 50 per cent of Up’s respondents said they intend to “grow their savings”, with Gen Z leading the charge.

More than half of young Australians also said they are feeling optimistic about their finances.

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