Managing your money

What budgeting is about and the types of help you may be able to get to help you manage your money better.

Why budget?

Budgeting gives you control of your money – and your life. It lets you see how much money you have, what you spend it on and can help you think about ways to make your money go further. Thinking carefully about where your money goes also gives you opportunities to explore ways to improve your situation.

By budgeting, you can:

  • pay off your debts faster
  • keep up with your bills
  • save for the things you want
  • be more prepared for unplanned expenses
  • Do you need a budget?

    To find out if you need to budget, ask yourself:

    • do I worry about money?
    • do I often have no money to pay my bills?
    • does talking about money with my family cause arguments?
    • am I unable to afford the things I want?
    • am I always in debt?
    • have my costs increased for some reason?
    • have I given up hope of having money for holidays or retirement?

    If your answer is YES to any of these, read on – it may be a good idea to start budgeting.

  • Some budgeting ideas

    Budgeting is not just about how much money you spend it is also about where you spend your money. Thinking about where your money goes also gives you opportunities to look for ways to manage your money better.

    Here are some ideas to get you started.

    • open a separate bank account and make an automatic payment into it every time you get paid - ask your bank about this, or
    • take out a set amount of money every time you get paid and leave the rest in your bank account. A good way to save but you need a lot of discipline.

    Pay off your debts as soon as you can because the longer you have a debt, the more interest you're charged, and the more money you owe.

    An easy way to pay off a debt is to put a bit towards it every time you get paid (but only after you've paid your bills). You can organise to pay it straight from your bank account so you don't have to think about it - and you're not tempted to use the money for other things. Ask your bank about automatic payments.

    Only buy the things you need if you really want to pay off your debts and get closer to reaching your goals.

  • Budget plans

    Putting together and planning a budget is a big step but it's just a start to help you understand more about how to manage your money. Everyone can benefit from managing their money better and it's a good idea to do a budget plan, or redo the one you have, to make sure it's still helping you.

    Making a budget plan is just a step towards helping you to start thinking about how you manage your money and what things you would like to change for the future.

    There are 3 steps listed below to help you make your plan. You can print these off and use them to make your plan. You should do them one-by-one to build your plan over time.

  • Free and confidential help with money

    You can contact MoneyTalks, a free financial helpline who can help you get advice and support from trained financial mentors.

    The helpline staff can also connect you with free and confidential services in your own community to help you get things under control and to stay that way.

    MoneyTalks is available from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and on Saturday from 10am to 2pm by:

  • Join a MoneyMates peer-led support group or talk to a financial mentor

    MoneyMates are free groups that you can join where you will get support from people going through the same things, share ideas about how you can increase your budgeting skills and get more information about things you can do to manage your money.

    A financial mentor is someone who can work with you, for free, face to face to help you to:

    • understand what you would like to achieve
    • support you to complete a Financial Plan of Action to help you achieve your goals
    • support you to negotiate reduced payments
    • find other people who may be able to help.

    They'll also offer encouragement and support as well as give you the right advice for managing your money.

    Find MoneyMates peer-led support groups and financial mentors

    You can find out where to locate the MoneyMates peer-led support groups and financial mentors through the free financial helpline, MoneyTalks.

    MoneyTalks is available from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and on Saturday from 10am to 2pm by:

    You can also find the organisations offering free and confidential services in the Family Services Directory:

    You could also ask your local Work and Income service centre for information about financial capability services close to you.

    How to work with your financial mentor

    Anything you discuss with your financial mentor will be confidential.

    When you meet with a financial mentor, it may be helpful to bring these things with you so they can start to work with immediate pressures you're facing straight away:

    • details of your household income
    • bank account statements
    • your regular bills
    • details of any money you owe such as mortgages,
    • hire purchases and credit cards
    • details of any other expenses.

    A financial mentor's job is to support you for free - which may include giving you advice; they may also make the most of other relationships and networks in the social sector or your community to support the work you are doing, for example, mental health, addictions, housing, etc.

    If you need help with these things, your financial mentor will be happy to give you details of people who may be able to help.

  • Extra help with costs

    If you're finding it hard to meet your costs there are a lot of ways we may be able to help. Talk with us or see:

  • Budget worksheet to help you get started