Almost one in five Australians are living pay to pay, a National Australia Bank survey shows.
While the vast majority (70.4 per cent) of those surveyed considered themselves good at managing money, almost one in five rarely or never have any money left at the end of a pay cycle.
People living in regional areas are more likely to be caught short than those living in capital cities, the survey found.
A dental or medical expense was the most common unexpected expense experienced by respondents in the past 12 months, followed by a higher-than-expected household bill, and car repairs.
Most dipped into their savings or whipped out the credit card when they found themselves without money, while a smaller percentage sold a possession.
The release of the survey of 1,205 adults coincides with the launch of Stop Small Problems Getting Big, a joint campaign between NAB and Good Shepherd Microfinance.
The campaign reaches out to people experiencing financial hardship, who are often locked out from mainstream banking, to show that there is a safe and affordable alternative to high cost fringe lenders.
Good Shepherd Microfinance chief executive Adam Mooney says there’s a disconnect between how well people think they manage their money and the reality.
“People who find themselves in difficult financial situations often seek quick fixes such as selling their possessions or getting a high cost payday loan,” he said.
“While satisfying the immediate need, these solutions can lead to bigger problems down the track.”
WHAT PEOPLE DO WHEN THEY’RE OUT OF CASH
* 70.4 pct dipped into their savings
* 40 pct used a credit card
* 16.4 pct sold something they owned