Budgeting is the best way to stay in control of your money. It will help you effectively manage your income, ensure your expenses are paid and help you get the most out of your money.
Budgeting is as simple as calculating the amount of money you receive and deducting the amount you spend. You should try to include all income and expenses you can think of. To help you, we have developed an interactive budget planner (xls, 268 KB) that will do the calculations for you.
Typical income and expenses
Note how much money you have coming in from:
- wages (include total amount banked each week/fortnight/month)
- government assistance (such as Austudy or other allowances)
- grants or bursaries (such as study grants or cash awards)
- share dividends (estimate frequency and amount from previous dividends)
- interest from term deposits or other bank accounts
- incoming rent (if you rent out a room or your home).
Note how much money you spend on:
- rent, board or your mortgage
- home expenses (including electricity, home and mobile telephone, insurance, internet, gas, water, body corporate fees, council rates)
- food (include anything you buy while grocery shopping)
- work expenses (such as public transport or lunch)
- travel costs (such as petrol, car registration, insurance, car maintenance)
- repayments (such as a home loan, car loan, lay-by, or other credit loan)
- entertainment costs (such as movies, dining out, concert or sport event tickets)
- extras (such as clothes, study fees or HECS/HELP, haircuts, medical appointments, private health insurance, holidays)
- savings (money you are putting aside)
- memberships and subscriptions (e.g. gym, magazines)
- other incidentals (such as alcohol, lotto tickets, pet expenses, DVD rentals, magazines, gifts, charity donations).
It is important to be honest with yourself about your spending. Once you know where and how you typically spend your money, you can begin to think about how you might be able to save some money or different things that you would prefer to be spending your money on.
Spending too much?
If you are spending more than you earn, you will need to make some sacrifices with your spending or consider other opportunities to earn money.
Examine your budget and decide where you might be able to save. For example:
- Can you cut back on entertainment?
- Can you make your credit card payments before you are charged interest?
- Can you share the cost of the gifts you buy with others?
- Are you on the most cost-effective mobile phone plan that best suits your needs?
- Are you being extravagant with clothes, shoes, CDs, dining out, etc.?
- Are you paying too much rent? Could you be living somewhere cheaper?
- Do you really need a car or could you survive on public transport?
Think about ways that you may be able to earn more money. For example:
- Could you get another job or more hours at work?
- Are you receiving all the benefits you are entitled to? Check with Centrelink.
- Are you paying too much tax? Check with your employer, the Australian Tax Office or an accountant.
- Do you own anything you could sell to raise cash?
- Do you have a spare room, for a paying housemate?
Last reviewed 11/04/2013