University students are among the poorest individuals in Sydney, but incomes rise drastically as they graduate, progress through their careers and take up residence in wealthier suburbs.
Recently released statistics from the ATO put residents of postcode 2052 – the University of NSW area – as Sydney’s lowest income earners, with an average taxable income of $26,246 in 2010-11.
That’s one-sixth of the $170,114, on average, that residents hauled in around Australia’s highest-earning postcode, which covers Darling Point, Edgecliff and Point Piper.
Business Insider Australia looked at real-world transaction data from UBank and NAB customers to get a picture of how spending varied across the two demographics.
We compared data on single male renters in the UNSW area who were aged 18-21 and earning under $50,000, with single male homeowners in the wealthy 2027 postcode aged between 30-34 and earning more than $150,000.
Here’s what we found.
University students spend between 20 and 40 per cent of Australia's highest income earners in all categories but day-to-day expenditure and entertainment.
The day-to-day category includes charitable donations, insurance, car and education expenses, and telecommunications bills, while entertainment includes music, DVD and book purchases, cinema visits, event tickets and 'the arts' - visits to the Opera House, art galleries and the like.
High-income earners spend an average of $863 a month on food and drink, far above the UNSW average of $242 a month and the $597 spent by the average Australian.
UBank data shows that students tend to spend their money on fast food and takeaway brands, spending $39 a month on online delivery service Menulog and Mexican chains Guzman & Gomez and Mad Mex.
High-income earners spend an average of $24 a month on fast food and takeaway, but far more dining out and visiting pubs and clubs. High-income earners pay to dine out 34 times a year, and often at Cafe Sopra, Icebergs in Bondi, Miss Chu and Frankie's Pizza.
They pay to visit pubs and clubs 15 times a year, racking up an average bill of $122, including $111 at the Ivy, $142 at the Establishment, and $469 at Regent Street Instalments. Students are more likely to spend $45 per visit to pubs and clubs like the Opera Bar, Cargo Bar and Eastern Hotel.
Students spend far less than high-income earners at bottleshops, but that's mostly because they tend to buy cheaper alcohol, with the average student liqour shop bill at $40 versus $113.
Both population groups spent far less than the average Australian on groceries, with high-income earners spending $299 and UNSW residents spending $75 a month compared to an average of $380 a month across Australia.
Sadly, education expenses, which account for almost 40 per cent of UNSW residents' day-to-day bills and about 6 per cent of their overall expenses, don't end with university. (If that figure seems low, note that Australian university students can defer paying university bills under the Federal Government's HELP scheme.)
High-income earners spend $220 a month on education, compared to UNSW residents' $191. That's likely to be because a few people in that population group may be paying for further education, while others may be paying for private school fees for children. Cranbrook, Ascham and SCEGGS are the most common private school payees, according to UBank data.
UNSW residents are a classy group, spending almost half of their entertainment budgets at venues like art galleries and the Sydney Opera House.
The few remaining Australian bookstores will be sad to note British e-tailer BookDepository among the top entertainment billers in both population groups.
Within the books, music and DVDs category, high income earners tend to prefer the former, with Amazon's Kindle e-book store attracting the most spending, BookDepository the second and Australian online bookstore Booktopia the third.
UNSW residents prefer BookDepository, followed by video services Oovie and Quickflix.
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