Others have invested in boats, bikes, caravans and fishing and camping as lavish holidays and hotels were ditched for down-to-earth pursuits.
The obsession with health flowed on to chemist counters and medical clinics as workers fearful of getting the sack dosed up on medicines to stave off sickness.
Employees putting in extra hours at the office turned to housekeepers and gardeners to keep their homes in order.
And while consumers sacrificed luxuries such as jewellery and eating out, most refused to cut their hairdresser and beauty treatments.
Spending data reveals the Aussie love affair with sport extended beyond the spectator stands last year to the local fitness centre, footy oval and tennis court.
"People stayed home and did not go on major vacations, but they still needed some form of entertainment," leading economist Craig James said.
"There's also the Biggest Loser effect of constantly being told we're getting fatter and not fitter."
CommSec analysis of Bureau of Statistics figures confirms expenditure on televisions and stereos rose as families cashed in on discounted prices and cocooned at home to ride out the economic crunch.
Despite the obsession with wide-screen TVs, the cinema survived as a popular night out for movie lovers.
Rising water, electricity and gas bills belted household budgets nationwide, with the biggest annual rise in utility charges in 26 years.
But drivers benefited from a drop in the cost of petrol.
What we spent money on in 2009
Major durables for recreation & culture 39.1 per cent
Includes new purchase and hire of aeroplanes, micro-light aircraft, gliders, hang-gliders, hot-air balloons, boats, caravans, trailers, bicycles and all camping and sporting equipment
Sporting & recreational services 4.8 per cent
Includes fitness classes, hiring of tennis courts and green fees
Medicines 13.6 per cent
Hairdressing and beauty salons 12.6 per cent
Cinemas and other admissions 10.9 per cent
Housekeepers, gardeners etc 10.4 per cent
Visits to hotels and motels
Jewellery & watches
Toys and hobbies