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How to create a personal budget

  4-minute read

Creating a budget lets you clearly see your finances and find the right balance between spending and saving. Get financially prepared for the future.

Get started now with our Budget Planner

Why is a personal budget important?

Creating a budget could help you find the right balance between spending and saving. It may help you manage your money to provide a clearer path to your saving goals and be better prepared for unexpected life events.

Preparing your budget

There are two main things you should include in a budget:

Income

  • Income is money that you're paid, or that you receive. This could include your pay from your full-time or part-time job, any casual work, your pension, government benefits, child support payments and any money from investments.
  • If your income is variable, make an estimate based on your past year's earnings.

Expenses

  • Everyday expenses, such as like petrol, coffee and groceries. You may like to try keeping a spending diary for at least a fortnight to work out how much you spend on these items.
  • Large expenses, such as like car registration, rent or mortgage, as well as utilities. Check old bills or bank statements to find out how much you spend on these items each year. If you’re not sure, use your best guess.

It is helpful to initially look at the money going in and out across a whole year. Once you know how much you spend on these items in a year, you can work out how much money you spend in a week or a fortnight. The ANZ Budget Planner can help you work these out.

Creating your budget

To start:

  • Keep a spending diary for a fortnight, noting all everyday expenses. 
  • When this is complete, work out your fortnightly budget. The ANZ Budget Planner tool can help you calculate your budget step by step, if you do not want to use the tool you could follow these steps:
  • Note down your fortnightly income.
  • Note down your everyday expenses over the fortnight and calculate the total.
  • Figure out how much your large expenses are costing you fortnightly.
  • Calculate the total of everyday plus large expenses. To do this, check old bills and statements to find out how much each one costs each year. Once you know the annual amount, divide by 26 (weeks) to see how much you spend in a fortnight.
  • Finally, subtract your total expenses from your fortnightly income. This is the money you may have to spare every fortnight.
  • If your spare money is not enough to reach your saving goals, review your spending diary to see what changes you can make. Try to consider which of your expenses are essential (needs) or non-essential (wants). You may then like to think about whether you'd like to keep spending on your non-essential expenses.
  • If you find you have extra cash, there are many things you could look at doing, like:
  • Opening a high interest savings account
  • Investing in shares, property and others
  • Making contributions to your super

Planning for life events

Life is full of big events that you need to be prepared for - such as having a baby, buying a house or losing your job. Planning ahead can help you manage their financial effects. A personal budget is a great way to prepare and set some money aside for future life events or unexpected emergencies.


Want help building your financial skills?

The MoneyMinded program is an award-winning financial education course we developed to help people build their financial skills, knowledge and confidence.

Whether you're looking to create a budget, reduce your debt or start saving, there's something for you.

See more about MoneyMinded

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The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on the information, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations.  You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.

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