Australians are wasting an astonishing $7.4 billion annually by focusing their savings efforts on clothes, flights, and other expenses rather than home loans, a new study reveals.

The study was a collaboration between Toowoomba-based Heritage Bank and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). One thousand Aussies living in different parts of the country were polled in the surveyed.

The study revealed that many people were too lazy to source the best deal on their home loans, but were happy to chase instant savings elsewhere. A third of Australians think switching home loans is too much of a bother, while 28% don’t think the savings are worth the time or the effort.

Slightly more than half (55%) had switched a service provider in the past five years, with 30% switching their home loans and 24% changing credit cards.

Of those who changed their home loans, 19% saved $3000 or more annually, 15% saved between $2000 and $3000, 32% saved between $1000 and $2000, and 23% saved between $500 and $1000.

“The attitude of many Australians today [is] to live in the now. [This is] reflected in the belief that switching on major ­investments is confusing, time-consuming and not worth the effort,” said UTS researcher ­Dr. Eugene Chan.

When respondents listed the areas they preferred to save money on, 97% said they shop around for the best deal on electronics, 95% for travel, 93% for clothes, and 90% for groceries. Respondents were also comfortable calling themselves “tightwads” when it came to labelling their frugal spending habits. 

In contrast, only 67% shop around for a better home loan and 79% shop around for better credit cards.