Budgeting & saving
Save your money for what you want
A budget helps you control how much money you spend. This helps
you save money.
The less you spend on little things like takeaway food or
magazines, the more you have to save for big things like fridges,
beds and washing machines.
Make a budget
To start your budget, use our online budget planner or get a pen
and some paper.
Decide whether you want to do a budget over a week or a
Add up all the money you receive over the time period such
- Your paid job
- Your pension
- Any Centrelink benefits or Community Development Employment
Projects (CDEP) payments
- Any other money people in your household might contribute
Now add up all of the money you spend over the same time period.
This could be:
- Rent or mortgage
- Bills for electricity, gas or telephone and insurance
- Travel such as public transport and the costs of your car like
registration, petrol and insurance
- Loans or debts you have to pay back, such as car loans or
- Extras such as magazines, gifts, cigarettes or alcohol
Case study: Sam and Sarah's weekly budget
|Money coming in
||Money going out
|Other benefits $50
Sam and Sarah have $50 extra to put towards their savings.
Before they go to the shops, they look at their budget and see that
they can only spend $100 on food.
Don't be pressured into buying anything. If you don't need or
want something, say no. This will help you avoid getting into debt.
See door-to-door sales for more
Government concessions and assistance
Some people receive payments from the Government to help them
pay for their home, food or bills or help them find a job. The
Department of Human
Services has lots of information about the different payments
and concessions available.
Some communities have income management in place, organised
through Centrelink. This is where Centrelink will set aside a
percentage of your benefits that can only be spent on essential
goods and services such as food, housing, clothing, education and
health care. For more information read the income management webpage on the
Department of Human Services website or call their Indigenous
Australians call centre on 1800 136 380.
If you can't pay your bills or are spending more than you
Don't panic. See a financial counsellor,
or visit your local money
management worker. To find out where they are, visit the
money management course providers directory on the
Department of Social Services website.
For more information see get help with money.
Save what's left over
If you're like Sam and Sarah and you have some
money left over after paying your bills and buying essential items,
you should save it either for something special like going to an
event in your nearest town or community or for a big purchase like
The best way to save is to spend less money. Think about cutting
back on the things you buy that are not essential like takeaway
food, gifts and magazines.
Case study: Sam and Sarah save money
Sam and Sarah want to visit Sarah's family next month and it
will cost them $200 to get there. So Sam takes his lunch to work
instead of buying it at the cafe. Sarah stops buying magazines and
doesn't buy any new clothes for a month. Before they go on their
trip they have saved $250.
Another way to save is to put money away where you won't be
tempted to spend it.
Every time you are paid, give yourself a set amount for food and
bills. Put the rest into a savings account that gives you a high
interest rate. For every dollar you save, the bank will add a
little bit extra. Your savings will grow just by being in the
account. For more information see savings accounts or use our
savings goals calculator.
Work out how long it will take to meet your savings targets.
Savings goals calculator
Listen to our audio segments on budgeting and saving.
Saver Plus is a program to help families on low incomes develop
savings habits. It helps you reach a saving goal and then matches
it dollar for dollar, up to $500. Find out more about Saver Plus.
Budgeting and saving your money will help you
afford the things you want in your life. Start now with our online
Last updated: 20 Jun 2017