A budget helps you understand how much money you have, how much you’re spending and how much money you need to cover your expenses.
Learn more about:
Tracking how much you spend for a couple of weeks will help you understand where all your money goes.
Ways to track your spending include:
- Jot down expenses in a notebook
- Use an online tool such as the government’s money smart budget planner,
- Download a mobile phone app – visit the App Store (Apple phones) or Google Play (Android phones) to see what is available. For example, TrackMySPEND is a free, easy-to-use app provided by the Australian Government.
If you need assistance preparing a budget, you can speak to a financial counsellor.
1. Choose a time frame
|Decide if your budget will be weekly, fortnightly, monthly or yearly. Many people choose the time frame that matches their pay period.|
2. Write down your income
3. Write down your expenses
4. Calculate the difference
|Work out the difference between your income and expenses. If your expenses are greater than your income, see How do I balance my budget?.
Once you have prepared your budget, review it regularly, as your income and expenses may change.
If you spend more than you earn, that is, your expenses are greater than your income, there are various ways to reduce your expenses and/or increase your income. You can read about the options that apply to you on the links below, or talk to a financial counsellor.
Reduce debts and expenses
- Electricity, gas and water bills
- Phone and internet bills
- Council rates
- Loan repayments
- Credit card payments
- Medical expenses
- Pharmaceutical expenses
- Continence aids
- External breast prostheses
- Stoma supplies
- Transport and accommodation
- Tax debt
- Education expenses
- HECS/HELP debts
Find other income
- Centrelink benefits
- No interest loans
- Insurance claims
- Property and other assets
- Compensation for work-related cancer
Keith Manchester, Senior Legal Counsel, Financial Services Legal, AMP, NSW; Alka Bisen, Financial Counsellor and Project Coordinator – Financial Assistance Services, Cancer Council NSW; Patricia Dunn, Consumer; Emily Gibson, Social Worker, Mater Hospital Brisbane, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Michelle Ruchin, Social Worker, Cancer Council SA; Robert Simon, Technical Services Manager, Tapln and Technical Strategy, AMP Advice, NSW; Krystyna Wisniewski, Consumer.
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Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.
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