Press Release

For immediate release

79% of Kiwis are more money-cautious than they were pre-COVID

        • Nearly 3 million people have changed their personal finance habits
        • Ditching restaurants and budgeting among the top new behaviours
        • Quick tips for better money management

15 March 2021, New Zealand The pandemic has changed Kiwis’ relationship with money, according to new research by Finder, a consumer research and financial comparison site in New Zealand.

A new, nationally representative Finder survey of 1,501 respondents aged 18 and above has revealed that the majority of New Zealanders (79%) – equivalent to almost 3 million people – have changed their personal finance habits as a result of the pandemic.

Around 1 in 2 people (48%) are eating out less than they were pre-COVID, while 45% say they are comparing financial products to find the best deal more than before.

Kiwis have also become more diligent at budgeting (32%) or paying off debt (25%).

Kevin McHugh, Finder’s publisher in New Zealand, said that the pandemic caused people to think differently about their financial situation.

“It’s been a year since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Many of us have had to make adjustments during this time, including our spending.

“The pandemic was a stark reminder about how important it is to have rainy day savings – you never when the rug may be pulled out from under you.

“It’s encouraging to see that Kiwis have become more budget-conscious and are looking to find better deals to save money,” McHugh said.

The research found that Millennials are the most likely to compare products more than they were pre-COVID (51%), while Gen Z is the most likely to be budgeting more than before (44%).

Baby Boomers are the least likely to have made any changes to their financial habits as a result of the pandemic, with a third (34%) saying they haven’t changed their behaviour at all, compared to just 11% of Gen Z.

Despite consumers being money-shy in the wake of the crisis, KPMG has predicted a wave of e-commerce growth as consumer confidence begins to recover, similar to that which followed the Global Financial Crisis.

McHugh said that although an economic upswing is forecast, he expects most consumers to remain cautious with their money in the meantime.

“New Zealand has done incredibly well compared to most other countries. But we’re not out of the woods just yet.

“Although our employment levels are rising and the economy is improving, it’s still important to be cautious with your money.

“Use this time to prioritise your savings as much as possible, and focus on paying down high-interest debt like a credit card or personal loan.

“Take a look at your current financial products to see if there’s a better deal out there. You can compare credit cards, car insurance and more at Finder,” McHugh said.

What financial behaviours have you changed as a result of COVID-19?

Financial behaviourDoing moreDoing lessNo change
Comparing products for the best deal45%2%53%
Setting or sticking to a budget32%7%62%
Shopping online29%19%52%
Paying off debt25%5%70%
Share trading and other investing16%10%74%
Eating out6%48%46%

Source: Finder survey of 1,501 participants, January 2021

Methodology:

  • Based on a nationally representative Finder survey of 1,501 participants in January 2021.
  • Data on unemployment and the economy were taken from Stats NZ.

Quick tips for better money management:

  • Save early and often. The sooner you save, the sooner you can start building interest. You may want to choose a low-risk option like a high-interest savings account or term deposit or invest the funds in the share market instead.
  • Swap cards for cash. Can’t keep track of your spending? Try only paying in cash for a month and see if it makes a difference. Psychologically, it’s much harder to part with physical cash at the counter than it is with a card. This means you’ll be more likely to question your purchases.
  • Prepare for periodic expenses. Things like car registration or health insurance can creep up and arrive seemingly out of nowhere, and this can really hurt the hip pocket. Try and set aside small amounts over time so when your annual bills are due, you’re prepared.

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Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com's review pages for the current correct values.

About Finder

Finder is a global comparison site, now available in New Zealand. Each month, 90,000 consumers turn to Finder to save money and time, and to make important life choices. In New Zealand we compare credit cards, mortgages, travel insurance, shopping deals and more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by three Australians: Fred Schebesta, Frank Restuccia and Jeremy Cabral. Since launching in 2006, Finder has continued to expand and launch around the globe, with offices in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland and the Philippines. For further information visit https://www.finder.com/nz.

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