Four simple budget tips

Apr 21, 2020


Developing a budget is the first step in recognising available resources, identifying expenditure and ongoing commitments then being accountable for how your income is managed.

Using available resources and support can help strengthen your ability to manage your money and make informed choices to determine your course of action.  

1   Identify your income.

Identify your fortnightly income.  This could be wages from a casual job, Centrelink benefit, salary from a full-time position or income from investments and other sources.  There are many templates available online ie budget planner

2   Think about what you spend your money on. Separate needs from wants.

Consider what can be reduced short term.  Can you negotiate a better deal with a service provider?  Write a list of all expenses you regularly incur like car registration, metroCARD, health insurance, car or house payments, childcare fees, memberships and subscriptions.

Identify your spending leak

  • Record all your incidental spending e.g. buying a coffee, a takeaway lunch, a chocolate bar.  
  • You will be surprised how much you spend unnecessarily or without much thought.
  • Writing it down will give a pattern of spending and help identify small changes.  Small changes in how you spend your money can make a huge difference in meeting your budget target.

3   Set limits on your spending

Identifying how much you spend in certain areas can help you set realistic limits for following a fortnightly budget.  Budgeting can help avoid overspending and assist you to plan for regular expenses and save for unexpected expenses.

Some simple ideas may include:

  • Organise to pay bills in instalments
  • Make a list of items you need from the supermarket and stick to the list. Buy only what you need and keep an eye out for specials of your most used items. Consider generic brands.
  • Review the need for subscriptions – do you need Stan, Foxtel and Netflix?
  • Consider alternatives for keeping fit – can you reduce gym or PT fees and exercise at home or with friends?

4   Reduce debt

Ideally the goal is to reduce debt and minimise your bills by managing your income.  Reducing debt before taking on further financial commitment.

  • Prioritise your debts — make a list and identify importance.  Reduce smaller debt quickly.  Strive to make regular payments on your debts even if they are the minimum each month.
  • Reduce limits on credit cards and consider reducing how many you have or close them when you have reconciled them.
  • Seek support and advice.  Financial counselling should not cost you any fees.  There are many reputable resources available.
  • Once your debt is paid off make a savings plan for something you would like to see, do, explore or buy.
 Adapted from the Australian Government website:, April 2020


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