Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (Psychology) Honours


School of Arts and Humanities

First Advisor

Dr Guillermo Campitelli


In Australia, most people aspire to achieve the “Australian dream” of owning their homes. Australian house prices have risen dramatically in comparison to people’s incomes, but despite this, many Australians still strive to enter the property market. The aim of this correlational study was to investigate the relationships between saving behaviour (with the ultimate goal of spending accumulated savings on a house deposit) and various psychological variables over and above sex, age, education, employment status, and income. The investigated predictor variables were motivation, extrinsic aspiration, financial literacy, and materialism. Previous research grounded in self-determination theory (SDT) has shown that intrinsic (autonomous) motivation predicts sustained effort in goal striving and goal attainment, whereas extrinsic (controlled) motivation does not. Theoretically, it was thought that extrinsic life aspirations (aspiring to achieve financial success and social recognition) would be related to saving money for the “Australian dream” because the goal imbibes notions of high(er) status, and is contingent upon being financially successful. There are no known studies to date on motivation and extrinsic aspiration within SDT for goal directed saving behaviour. Previous research on financial literacy has consistently shown that it is associated with better money management (i.e. financial behaviours such as saving, spending and borrowing money). In this study, the relationship between financial literacy and saving behaviour was investigated in the context of saving for a tangible durable, rather than saving for its own sake, or for something intangible such as retirement and emergencies. Lastly, previous research on materialism has consistently shown that it is negatively associated with saving for precautionary reasons; and positively associated with spending and credit card debt. Because of the inherently material nature of homes and the widespread desire to own them, the relationship between materialism and saving behaviour was investigated to find out if a different relationship would emerge. Participants living in Australia between the ages of 18 – 40-years (N = 230) completed an online survey. Hierarchical regression analyses and Pearson’s correlation showed that there was no relationship between types of motivation and saving behaviour; and no relationship between extrinsic aspiration and saving behaviour. Consistent with previous research, financial literacy was positively and significantly associated with saving behaviour; and materialism was negatively and significantly associated with saving behaviour. Scores for financial literacy were considerably low among participants. Although improving financial literacy would be beneficial for aspiring homeowners (and for everyone more broadly), saving behaviour probably would not improve dramatically because demographic variables and financial literacy explained only 5.4% of the variation in saving behaviour. Aspiring homeowners (particularly those who obtained higher scores on the measure for materialism) should prioritise addressing their spending tendencies associated with materialism before addressing financial literacy. Demographic variables and materialism explained 11% of the variation in saving behaviour. Study limitations and strengths, and suggestions for future research are presented.


Thesis Location