Dealing with family pressure about money
Giving money to your mob
Have you ever had family members demand some of your money, even
when you don't have enough for yourself? We all like to help our
families when we can, but it's important to look after yourself
first, so you will be able to help your family when they really
Here we explain how to deal with your family when it comes to
money, and how to know when it's the right time to help them
Money pressures from your
When family members make demands for money from you, it is
sometimes called 'humbugging'. They may come to you every payday,
or ask you to buy them things if they know you have money.
Taking care of your family is a good thing to do, but not if you
give all your money to your family, and then you don't have enough
to pay your rent or bills or buy food. It might mean you have to
borrow money to make ends meet, and end up getting into debt
If your family demands money every time you get paid, or if they
take more than they need, and you're left short, you won't be able
to help them with the cost of big things later, like a new fridge
or TV, car repairs or medical costs.
How to look after your money
To help your family now and in the future, look after your money
and yourself first. Here are some ways you can make your money last
for when you and your family really need it.
Do a budget
A budget helps you work out where all your money goes and will
help you put your money towards things that are important to
Make sure your budget covers all your essential expenses, like
rent, bills and food. If your expenses are more than your income,
it spells trouble, because you won't have enough money to cover the
things you need. If there is money left over, decide how much of
that you want to give to your family and how much you would like to
By including in your budget the amount of money you want to give
to your family, you will be able to tell family members that this
is all the money you have for them each payday, so they'll know
they can't ask for any more than that.
Use our online budget planner.
Check your bank statements
Check your bank statements regularly to make sure no extra money
is coming out of your account. If money is being taken from your
account that you don't know about, you might need to get a new card
or change your PIN number. Talk to your bank or contact a free financial counsellor if you
See checking your bank
statement for more tips on what to look out for.
After you've checked your bank statement, store it in a safe and
secure place. If other people can't look at your bank statement,
they won't know how much money is in your account.
Keep your bank card and PIN safe
Keep your bank card somewhere only you can find it. Keep your
PIN safe by memorising it. Don't write your PIN on your card or
keep a note of it in your wallet or purse. Don't ever tell anyone
your PIN, not even your family or friends.
Keeping your PIN safe helps protect your money. When your bank
gives you a bank card and PIN, you sign an agreement promising to
keep your PIN a secret.
If you have kept your PIN secret, and someone steals money from
your bank account, your bank will usually give that money back to
you if you contact your bank as soon as you can. But if you have
told someone else your PIN and money is stolen from your account,
the bank will not give your money back. That is why it's very
important to keep your PIN safe.
Case study: Jodie deals with money pressure from her
Jodie works as a teachers aide at a primary school and gets paid
every 2 weeks. Most paydays her nephew, Tim, asks her for money,
which she usually gives to him.
One day, when Tim asked for money so that he could go out with
his friends, Jodie said no. But, because he knew her PIN, Tim took
Jodie's bank card and withdrew the money from her account
Later that week, Jodie's car broke down, but she couldn't afford
to get it fixed because Tim had taken the money from her account.
Jodie had to borrow her neighbour's car to get to and from work
until she could save up enough money to pay for the repairs.
That's when Jodie decided to start a budget. The budget included
money to cover her regular bills, as well as some for savings and
emergencies. She also included a little bit of money for Tim each
fortnight in the budget, and she told him this was all the money he
was getting so he had to spend it wisely. Jodie also asked the
bank for a new bank card and she cancelled her other card. She kept
her new bank card away from her family and never told anyone her
Jodie was able to save enough money to have her car fixed and
felt confident saying no to Tim the next time he asked for more
money than she had budgeted.
Track your money with online banking
You can use online banking to transfer money to other people or
businesses. Online banking can help you keep track of where your
money is going and who you are paying money to.
Online banking is very easy to learn how to use. Financial
counsellors and financial capability workers in your community
might be able to help you set up online banking and show you how to
If you are transferring money to other people or businesses,
always double check that the BSB number (which stands for Bank
State Branch) and account numbers are correct. To check the BSB,
you can use the Australian Payment Clearing Association's Find a BSB tool. If you get
these numbers wrong and make a mistake, you might not be able to
get your money back. Find out how to fix mistakes on your
Online banking is an easy way for you to access your money but
you need to be careful. To stay safe online, never use public
computers (like those in libraries or shared computer rooms) for
banking. See more tips on how to avoid identity fraud.
Set up a savings account
You might be trying to save money to buy a car or to buy
birthday presents for your kids. It can be hard to do this if you
are helping family out with money as well.
If you find it hard to tell a family member you can't help them
out, you could set up a savings account. Savings accounts are
designed to help your savings grow faster and can be set up so you
cannot access the saved money on your bank card. You could transfer
the money you want to save directly into that account on the day
you get paid, so you won't be tempted to give in to family
Knowing you can't easily access this money from your bank card
might help you to feel more comfortable saying no when family
members ask you for money or to buy something for them.
What to do if a family member
is being bullied for money
While most people can manage pressure from their family, for
some people bullying can cause problems. Sometimes people can get
hurt trying to stop themselves being pressured for money by family
or other community members, or they can be left with no money to
buy food or take care of themselves.
If you are worried that one of your family members is having
problems saying no to family members, here are some things you can
do it help:
- Contact your local financial
counsellor - Talk to them about ways your family
member can protect their money.
- Look into an '
income management' service - To find out more about
this service you can contact the Centrelink Indigenous phone
service on 1800 136 380.
- Get authority to look after their money - If
you are really worried about your family member and don't think
they can protect their own money, you may be able to get authority
for a trusted person to look after their money for them. This only
happens in circumstances where a trusted legal guardian (which may
or may not be you) can be found. Speak with your local community legal
centre or Legal Aid office about how to best help your
- Contact your local police station - Talk to
them about protecting your family member. Your local police station
can be contacted on 131 444. If your family member is in danger,
call the police emergency line on 000.
It's great to help your family out if you can,
but it's important to make sure you have enough for yourself and
your family when they really need it. If you're struggling with
family pressure for money, there's no shame asking for help to deal
Last updated: 25 Jan 2018