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A 50-30-20 budget system

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 50-30-20 budget with our online budget tool

What is a 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.

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.

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

More guides to help you

Create a budget

Follow these simple steps to create a budget, take control of your spending and reach your savings goals.

Learn more about creating a budget

Track my spending

If you want to save money, you should track where it goes. Money missing is money lost.

Learn more about how to track your spending

Saving tips

We've put together some helpful tips to help you start saving and make saving part of your daily routine.

Learn more about better ways to save

Hide and save

When it comes to saving money, you can be your own worst enemy. Just when you think you’re getting ahead, you withdraw a stash of cash for an unplanned purchase. Hiding your money can help.

Find out ways that you can hide your money to save it

The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives financial situation or 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.