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 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
Work out your income. Include any government support, part-time work, tax returns and any allowances such as scholarships, and family allowances. You can also check your eligibility for government income support.
Keep track of your expenses for several weeks. Divide the costs into categories at the end of the period.
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 tax payments.
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 with them.
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 commitments or changing your study load, as changes to your enrolment can affect Centrelink payments and scholarships. Before you apply for a loan, you should get independent financial advice. For information about interest-free loans, contact Monash Connect.
Revise your budget when your circumstances change.