Commonwealth Bank reveals Australia’s New Year’s spending

PARTYGOERS have spent a fortune on New Year’s Eve celebrations in recent years — and this December 31 is predicted to be no exception.

According to Commonwealth Bank figures, customers spent an incredible $74 million on 1.7 last-minute purchases between 5pm and 4am on New Year’s Eve in 2016.

It was an 11 per cent increase in spending on the previous year, while the number of purchases has also increased by 32 per cent year on year.

Following those trends, Australians are tipped to spend an even bigger amount this December 31.

When it comes to what we’re spending our cash on, unsurprisingly, the biggest splurge was on food and entertainment.

The busiest shops and services on New Year’s Eve are usually grocery stores and supermarkets, fast food outlets and restaurants, service stations and transport.

Australians spent $11.5 million on dining and $10 million on food and groceries between 5pm and 4am last year, followed by $11.9 million on retail purchases, $7.7 million on entertainment and $6.2 million on travel and transport, including taxi and limousine hire.

We also spent more than $6 million on travel and transport last year — a figure which is also expected to grow this time around.

If you’re hoping to beat taxi queues and Uber waiting times, the busiest times for both services is between 10.50pm and 11pm, with a spike in spending also seen earlier in the evening between 7.30pm and 7.40pm.

During that 10 minute peak window, there were around three taxi transactions every second, with more than 121,000 taxis paid for during New Year’s Eve 2016, with far less money spent on public transport on the big day.

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Apparently, Byron Bay is one of the country’s biggest New Year’s ATM hot spots, as it is home to three of the bank’s top ten busiest ATMs.

Sydneysider Natalie Chalmers, who will usher in 2018 in busy Byron Bay with a group of friends, said they had all planned ahead to avoid New Year’s Eve chaos.

The group booked their accommodation back in August to make sure they were within walking distance of the hotel where they will celebrate New Year’s Eve, meaning they would avoid taxi queues.

“We pre-booked everything and bought our tickets for New Year’s Eve itself six weeks ago,” she said.

“We did the same thing last year too and it means it’s all prepared and paid for before we got here. We’ve also made reservations for restaurants because it does get a bit crazy on the night.”

Other ATMs with the highest number of transactions on New Year’s Eve are located in Harbourside NSW, Chinatown Mall, Southbank Parklands and Airlie Beach in Queensland, Bank Street in South Australia, Northbridge in Western Australia and Salamanca Place in Tasmania.

Western Australians tend to withdraw the most cash on December 31, with an average of $190, while Tasmanians withdraw the least with just $139.

To minimise waits in ATM queues, CommBank recommends withdrawing cash either well in advance or after 5pm, when the number of withdrawals begin to drop off significantly.

To escape crowds and queues this year, partygoers should get their shopping done early, avoid taxi and Uber peak times and either withdraw cash early or use a card.

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To keep your spending in check, CommBank suggests having a plan and sticking to it, taking advantage of free public transport, organising restaurant bookings in advance or eating at home and tracking spending with budgeting apps.

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