skip to log on skip to main content
VoiceOver users please use the tab key when navigating expanded menus

The 50-30-20 budget system

  4-minute read

We know it can be hard to create a system for your money that's easy to follow and works hard for you. This is where the 50-30-20 budget can be a simple way to start.

Create your own 50-30-20 budget now


What is the 50-30-20 budget?

The 50-30-20 budget (or rule as it’s sometimes referred) is a percentage-based budget concept that emerged in the late 90s.

This is a popular budgeting style due to its simplicity, flexibility and how it can apply to different stages of life. It’s based on percentages and not how much you earn, so you can adapt it to your own circumstances.

How does the 50-30-20 budget work?


50% to your needs

Needs are loosely defined as necessary costs for you to live, like a roof over your head, food in your mouth, electricity, hot water, transportation, credit card and loan repayments etc.

Possible account types:

ANZ Access Advantage

ANZ Access Basic

ANZ Pensioner Advantage


30% to your wants

Wants may include all those things that we enjoy but, let’s face it, could go without if we had to. Things like entertainment and social outings would fall into the wants category.

Possible account types:

ANZ Access Advantage

ANZ Online Saver


20% to financial goals

Financial goals are completely dependent on what’s a priority for you and your life. You may be in a situation where debt reduction is your goal, saving for something special or for unexpected expenses.

Possible account types:

ANZ Progress Saver

ANZ Term Deposit

ANZ Advance Notice Term Deposit

But how does the system work in practice?

Let's imagine your fortnightly pay was $1,000. We'll use the example below to illustrate:


Half of it ($500) would stay in your designated account for all your needs, e.g. rent, bills, food and transport. 


$300 could be set aside for your wants, e.g. nice clothes, a trip, social expenses, or that upcoming weekend away with your 'squad'. 


The final $200 is set aside for savings and not touched. This could be used for financial buffers, saving for a home loan or other large goals. 


Some things to consider

Are the percentages set in stone?

The beauty of a percentage-based budget is that it’s customisable to your needs so you can adapt the percentages to what works for you (eg. 60-30-10, 55-30-15 etc). You get to set your own limits to live by.

Is 50% for needs too low?

There are options you can explore to try and reduce the cost of your needs.  For example, shopping around for more competitive service deals on utilities, phone, internet could be a good place to start - see money saving tips for more info.

Is a 50-30-20 budget right for you?

You may find that with your current circumstances there’s no room yet for saving or indulgences. Don’t be deterred, there are things you can do to start getting on top of your finances like, looking at ways to save on your needs, tracking your spending and starting a budget plan.

Want to learn more about your finances? 

Introducing MoneyMinded. A self-paced, free, online resource to help people build their financial skills, knowledge and confidence. Whether you're looking to create a budget, reduce your debt or start saving, our program has something for you.

See more about MoneyMinded

Related articles

Creating a personal budget

How do you create a personal budget, and why is it so important? Dive into the world of budgeting and find budget tips to help you save money and be more financially prepared for the future.

Food budgeting

Being a little clever about what you eat is not just beneficial for your health. It can work wonders on your budget and savings, too. Find out how to budget better when it comes to food.

Budgeting basics

Money in, money out - this is budgeting in its most basic form, but what exactly goes into a budget? And how do you create one? Read more about budgeting or get started with our budget planner.

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.