How to budget

Practical information to help you budget.

Getting started

Calculate how much money you have coming in. To do this, collect your:

Work out how much you’re spending. To do this, collect your:

  • bills
  • credit card statements
  • receipts and shopping dockets
  • costs for annual expenses, like insurance and car registration, even though you can pay them monthly.

Use the Australian Securities & Investments Commission’s (ASIC) Simple Money Manager to complete your budget.

You can then see how much money you have left over. You can use this for your savings. Set a savings goal, that way you’ll know how much you need to save on a regular basis to reach it.

You can use the ASICs MoneySmart savings goals calculator on the how to build savings page to help you. It shows you how long it will take to reach your goal and how much you’ll need to save.

Remember to review your budget often to make sure it’s still working for you. A change in your income or ongoing expenses can affect your budget.

Simple Money Manager

More services we offer

Centrepay is a free and voluntary service you can use to pay bills as regular deductions from your Centrelink payments. Read more about how Centrepay works. The Centrepay Deduction Statements help you track your deductions.

Our Rent Deduction Scheme is a convenient, secure and free service. It allows you to pay your state or territory housing authority rent through regular deductions of your Centrelink payments.

Tips and tricks

We have more information and tools to help you manage your money.

Use online tools

ASIC’s MoneySmart has apps to help you track your spending and savings.

Use ASIC’s MoneySmart TrackMySPEND app to get a clear picture of your spending habits. Set up and track savings goals with TrackMYGOALS. You can also write down your goal and put it somewhere where you can see it and track your progress.

Watch the video on ASIC’s MoneySmart website to learn how to check your bank statement. Check your bank statement often to help you better manage and understand how you spend your money.

Do your research

Find the best deal you can get. Whether you’re shopping for clothes, have a mortgage or thinking about switching electricity provider just ask for a better deal. It might save you money.

A clever way to make the most of your money is through your super. You can get a Government co-contribution if your income is below a certain amount. ASIC’s MoneySmart website details how you can take advantage of the Government co-contributions.

Save on banking fees

Every little bit counts. If you get a Centrelink payment, you may be able to get a savings account that won’t charge fees. Ask your credit union or building society about fee free accounts.

Use your bank statements to spot your spending patterns. This will help you improve how you manage your money over time.

Many companies and banks charge you each time they send you a paper bill or statement. Choosing to get bills and statements online can save you money. The way you get bills can vary depending on the company. You can get them:

  • by email, or
  • in your online account with that company.

If you aren’t able to get your bills online, you can still choose to get them sent in the mail. Check to see if you can be exempt from the fees they charge to get a paper bill.

Read about savings accounts at ASIC’s MoneySmart website before talking to your bank or credit union. Most banks have online accounts that have better interest rates.

Talk to someone

If you run into problems with debt, the National Debt Helpline has a free, confidential and independent financial counselling service.

It’s worth getting free expert advice to get a clear picture of your finances. Use the find a financial counsellor map on the Financial Counselling Australia website to find help in your area.

Page last updated: 22 October 2018