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A budget is an effective way of organising your money to see:

  • how much money comes in - income
  • how much needs to go out - expenses.

Knowing when income and expenses will occur enables you to plan your spending so that you don't run out of money.

Expenses you need to consider:

  • Recurring expenses - weekly travel, monthly rent, quarterly gas bills
  • Yearly or one-off expenses (course fees, insurance, etc)
  • Unexpected costs such as accidents or illness
  • Lifestyle choices including entertainment and savings.

Preparing a budget

Steps Tasks Hints
Step 1 Review the cost of living and cost of studying estimates
Step 2 Work out your income

Include any government support, part-time work, tax returns and any allowances such as scholarships, and family allowances
Check your eligibility for government income support
Step 3 Keep track of your expenses for several weeks Divide the costs into categories at the end of the period
Step 4

Use an online budget planner to help track your income and expenses

Overestimate your costs slightly, rather than underestimate, so you are less likely to run out of money

Remember to include large annual costs like car registration, course fees and paying tax
Step 5 Assess your income and expenses. Decide on a monthly spending limit that's workable for you If your budget doesn't work, talk to a student adviser at Monash Connect

It's helpful if you take your draft budget to discuss
Step 6 Stick to your target spending limits and monitor your progress.

If you don't have enough funds, you need to either decrease your spending or increase your income
Get advice before taking on extra work committments or changing your study load, as changes to your enrolment can affect Centrelink payments and scholarships

Get advice before applying for a loan. For interest-free loans, contact Monash Connect
Step 7 Revise your budget when your circumstances change