Managing your money

Budgeting and tracking your spending

Set aside money for unexpected costs. Use a mobile phone app to track where your money is being used (which saves you time and paper). The MoneySmart website has a free expenses tracking app with useful features.

Creating a budget


If you find that you are struggling to keep up financially due to debt stress it may be time to take action.  There are free financial counsellors working in the community may be able to assist you in gaining control over finances.

How to access a financial counsellor

Reduce your costs where possible

Shop around for the best deals. Check for better deals when a contract is almost up, e.g. a different mobile plan or electricity provider. Borrow books if possible and only print something if necessary.

Sometimes, spending more upfront could save you money in the long run. For example, an affordable phone or tablet could mean less money spent on printing, paper and stationery.

Alternatives to well-known brands

Well-known brands usually come with a premium price, so look for newer or lesser-known brands that offer great quality at a more affordable price.

Older, refurbished or second-hand items

Older, refurbished or second-hand items do not necessarily mean lower quality. However, you should consider long-term use and compare prices.

Owning a car

Cars are expensive to run. Registration alone costs close to $700 each year. If you have a second-hand car, be prepared to set aside enough money for maintenance. You also have to include the cost of insurance.

If you only need to use a car occasionally, consider renting or using a car share scheme.

Mobile phones

Pre-paid plans can be cheaper and help limit your usage, but you should choose the option that best suits you.

Ways to reduce your spending

  1. Turn off lights and electronics at the switch when you are not using them.
  2. Control impulsive spending, leave the credit card at home, make sure it is a need not a want.
  3. Use up food in your fridge or pantry. You might be surprised at how much there is.
  4. Prepare your own meals. Eating out can cost significantly more.
  5. Sign up for a supermarket loyalty card. You usually get discounts on groceries or earn points that you can redeem.
  6. Make use of your student status for discounts on food, movies and entry tickets.
  7. On cold days, wear extra clothing or use an electric blanket (or a hot water bottle) instead of the the heater.
  8. Enjoy free events on campus and around Melbourne.