Managing your money to build savings

We have tools and information to help you build your savings.

How to save

After you have paid your bills and necessary expenses, you can put any money you have left over towards savings.

Setting a plan is easier when you have a goal in mind. It might be short term like paying off a debt or buying a household appliance. It might be longer like saving for a car, a house or for retirement.

Step 1 - do a budget

To start building savings, you need to know where you spend your money. The easiest way to do this is to put a budget together and track your spending. Budgeting helps you manage your money day to day. You can stay on top of bills and work out what expenses you can reduce.

By learning to check your bank statements, you can improve how you manage your money day to day.


Valerie was trying to make some small savings so she could purchase new school shoes for her daughter. She checked her bank statements and found a direct debit for a gym she hadn’t been to for a year. Valerie cancelled her gym membership, which she no longer needed, saving herself $25 per week. She bought the new school shoes and put the rest of the money into an online savings account.

Read more about how to budget.

Step 2 - come up with a savings plan

A savings plan will help you reach your savings goals. Keep it clear and simple so you can review it regularly.

ASIC’s MoneySmart savings goals calculator shows you how long it will take and how much you will need to save to reach your goal.

Tips for success

Make sure you write down your savings goal and plan. A few tips for successfully achieving your goal are:

  • save regularly and stick to your plan
  • track your progress
  • tell your family and friends about your goal so they can help you stay on track
  • if you fall short one week, try to make it up the next - don’t give up

Those who regularly review and remind themselves of their goals are more likely to achieve them.

Visit ASIC’s MoneySmart website and learn more about saving, including how to achieve your savings goals.

Our Financial Information Service is free and confidential that provides education and information on financial issues.

Watch your savings grow

Savings build over time as you add to them. Once you have a plan in place you’ll be able to see how fast they can grow. You don’t have to have a large savings goal - smaller goals are just as good.

Short term goals

You might have a short term goal like:

  • paying off a debt
  • saving for bills you know are coming up, such as car registration, or
  • buying a TV or household appliance

You may reach your short term goals sooner if you:

  • cut back on things you don't really need
  • use cash or a debit card instead of your credit card when shopping - when you run out of cash, you’ll know it’s time to stop spending

Long term goals

Long term savings are usually for larger saving goals, such as a car, house, or retirement. For long term savings you may want to think about getting professional advice. Our video provides information on what you need to know when choosing a financial adviser.

Savings accounts

If you receive an income support payment from us, you may be able to get:

  • a savings account that doesn’t charge fees - find out which Australian banks offer basic bank accounts on the Australian Bankers’ Association website
  • a fee free account from your credit union or building society

ASIC’s MoneySmart website Savings accounts helps you to find the best possible product for you.

Talk to your bank or credit union to find the best product for your situation.

Earning extra money

In some circumstances, you can earn money from paid work without it affecting your income support payment or benefits.

If you’re working age, you can build up Working Credits.

If you’re a full time student or Australian Apprentice, you can use Income Bank to build up income credits.

If you’ve reached age pension age, but still want to work, the Work Bonus may mean your wages have little or no effect on your pension.

It’s important that you report your income correctly so you are paid the right amount and don’t incur a debt.

Page last updated: 10 August 2018