Keeping track of your money will help you gain more control over your finances. Preparing a budget will help you understand how much money you have and how much you need to meet your expenses.

To prepare a budget, begin by writing down all your income and expenses and then calculate the difference – follow the steps listed below. To track your expenses, try keeping a daily spending diary for a couple of weeks and write down where all your money goes. Another way to record your expenses is to download an app on your mobile phone – see the online tools section below.

If you are not sure where to start or your finances are complex, you can ask a financial counsellor or financial planner for assistance. Once you have prepared your budget, review it regularly, as your circumstances change.

Learn more about:

Listen to our podcast on Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis

Steps for preparing a budget

1. Choose a time frame

Decide if your budget will be weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Many people choose the time frame that matches their pay period.

2. Write down your income

  • take-home (net) pay
  • bonuses
  • income from investments, shares or property
  • government benefits, such as Centrelink payments
  • child support payments
  • repayments from anyone who owes you money (debtors)
  • any other income.

3. Write down your expenses

  • housing – rent/mortgage, council rates, strata fees
  • loan repayments – car loan, personal loan, credit cards
  • utilities – electricity, gas, water, phone, internet, pay TV
  • insurance – home and contents, car, private health, life
  • health – medical, dental, pharmaceuticals, optical
  • transport – petrol, registration, repairs, fares, parking fees
  • education – child care, school fees, excursions and uniforms, HECS/HELP
  • food and groceries
  • clothing and shoes
  • personal care (e.g. haircuts)
  • entertainment, holidays, gifts
  • unpaid fines
  • tobacco and alcohol (if used)
  • incidentals (pocket money).

4. Calculate the difference

Work out the difference between your income and expenses. If your expenses are greater than your income, read the section below on how to balance your budget.

Online tools

How to balance your budget

Sometimes people find they spend more than they earn, that is, their expenses are greater than their income. If this is the case for you, you may want to explore ways to reduce your expenses and/or supplement your income. The information below lists some possibilities, but whether they are available to you will depend on your individual circumstances. You can read more about each option by following the link, or talk to a financial counsellor.

Ways to reduce debts and expenses

Ways to find other income

Thrifty tips

  • Plan your meals for each week or fortnight and shop with a list; buy in bulk and avoid buying on impulse.
  • Go shopping after a meal – hunger can prompt you to buy more food than you need.
  • Think about how much you might be spending on coffee, alcohol, tobacco, takeaway food and eating out – all these expenses can add up.
  • Take a packed lunch rather than buying it.
  • Reconsider any regular payments or subscriptions (e.g. pay TV, magazines, online services).
  • Borrow books and DVDs from the library.
  • Close curtains at night and use a door snake (draught excluder) to cut heating costs.
  • Use energy-efficient devices.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Cancer and Your Finances.

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in October 2015
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Ask a health professional or someone who’s been there, or find a support group or forum

Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono legal and financial matters, no interest loans or help with small business

Work and cancer
Information for employees, employers and workplaces dealing with cancer

Cancer information

Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope

Making decisions about work and cancer
What to consider and expect regarding work after a cancer diagnosis

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends