A Budget shows how much money you have coming in (INCOME) this can include pay checks, government payments and other sources of income, how much is going out (EXPENSES) and how you might (SAVE) some Money. It is important to stick to a budget so that you can save money to pay your bills and buy things you may need and want.

THINGS YOU MUST SAVE MONEY FOR (Things that must be paid for first)

  • Food
  • Rent
  • Medicine
  • Electricity
  • Telephone
  • Loans
  • Petrol
  • Clothes
  • Toiletries


  • Bus Tickets
  • Taxi Fares
  • Internet
  • Car payments, Car Insurance, Car Registration and Car Repairs
  • Hair Cuts
  • Eating Out and Takeaway
  • Owning Pets
  • Movie Tickets, entertainment


  1. Make a shopping list and buy only the items on the list.
  2. Shop at discount stores or thrift stores.
  3. Buy home brand instead of name-brand.
  4. Look for sales.
  5. Look for free community events e.g. festivals, concerts and movies.
  6. Borrow free books and movies from the library.
  7. Cook and eat most of your meals at home.
  8. Bring lunch to work rather than buy takeaway.
  9. When buying food or clothes check for things that are on sale.
  10. Never shop on an empty stomach.
  11. If you can’t avoid temptation when shopping or buy more groceries when your children are with you shop online.


To figure out where all your money is being spent it is a good idea to begin saving all your cash receipts. For one fortnight keep the receipt for anything you buy with cash in a container such as jar.

If you don’t get a receipt, then write a note about what you spent and how much it cost and put the note in the jar. At the end of the fortnight add all these up and you will know what you have spent your money on and how much these things cost.

If you pay for things you buy using a debit card print out a two-week bank statement, so you know what you spent your money on and how much it cost. Download a free app for money management to keep track of your spending when you are on the go. It can be your bank’s app or apps like Pocketbook, MoneyBrilliant or Money Lover, etc.


  • If you receive a wage have your employer automatically deduct money from your pay check and deposit it into your savings account.
  • Rather than saving money only if you have any left over, you can put some aside no matter how small the amount into savings straight away out of your payment.
  • Try putting a $1 a day, plus any coins into a large envelope or jar. At the end of the month deposit that money into your savings account. (One dollar a day can add up to $365 a year).


CENTREPAY is a free service to pay bills and expenses as regular deductions from your Centrepay payments. Bills you can pay via Centrepay include the following:

  • Rent
  • Electricity
  • Telephone
  • Education fees and expenses
  • Child care
  • No Interest Loans

DIRECT DEBIT is when money is automatically taken out of an account you have set up at the bank. The money is used to pay your bills. It is important to make sure that you have enough money in your account for each payment or you will be charged extra money by your bank if you don’t. To use direct debit, you first must contact the service provider to set things up.


BUY NOW PAY LATER SERVICES: Afterpay, Certegy Ezi-Pay, ZipPay, BrightePay, Oxipay, Openpay. These buy now pay later arrangements allow customers to obtain goods and services immediately and pay off these purchases over time. These services are advertised as “interest-free” or 0% interest, but the cost of these services will add up if you can’t make repayments on time.

Late payment fees: These consist of $10 for a failed payment from your account because of insufficient funds and $7 late fee if the payment hasn’t been made by 7 days later.

Re-payments are made in four equal instalments every fortnight and because of this short repayment time repayment amounts on these services can be very high.

RENT TO BUY PRODUCTS: This is where you agree to rent an item e.g. fridge or television for a period of time.

You will usually make regular rental payments for example every month over 3 years.

If you decide to go ahead with the rental agreement you maybe charged account-keeping fees as well as penalties if you miss repayments or pay it off early. By end of the contract you may have paid up to 3 times as much as the original cost of the product you rented.


CENTRELINK ADVANCED PAYMENTS: You may be eligible to receive a part of your Centrelink payment in advance. You must pay the money back to Centrelink but there is no interest or charges.

NILS LOANS: these loans are for people on low incomes. These loans have no interest, no fees and no hidden charges. These loans are generally for the purchase of essential household items such washing machines, fridges and other house hold appliances. They also cover dental, optical, medical procedures, medical equipment, education fees and computers. CASA NILS Loans now also cover car registration and car repairs. NILS Loans are available at CASA (Community Accommodation & Support Agency, Mackay QLD). Ph. 49 514 299. These loans are up to $700 for people on Newstart and up to $900 for people on Newstart and Family Tax Benefit, Disability Support Pension and Carers payments.

StepUP LOANS: are unsecured loans between $800 – $3000 you can get from Good Shepherd Microfinance and the NAB Bank. You must pay the loan back, but these are low interest loans at 5.99% fixed rate with no fees or charges.


When deciding which type of mobile phone to settle on, you will have to consider what you will be using the phone for. Before you purchase a mobile phone, it is always important to ensure that you have good mobile coverage in your local area and other places you may what to use the phone. Ask the phone company to see a coverage map to check the coverage of your phone.

PRE-PAID PHONE PLANS: If your needs are fairly simple and you only need to use your phone for daily calls to your family and friends and nothing more a prepaid phone might be the right one for you.

With a prepaid mobile phone plan, you will not risk occurring any extra costs and a big unexpected bill at the end at the end of the month. The down side of these pre-paid mobile plans is that traditionally they have higher per minute call rates and charges than post-paid mobile plans.

POST-PAID MOBILE PLANS: Always ask how long the contract will be for, the minimum you will pay per month and the total you will pay over the contract period of the phone. Most contracts are for 12 or 24 months which are locked in for the entirety of the plan. There is often a hefty cost incurred if you end the contract early. One of the downsides of these plans is that you can end up with a hefty unexpected bill at the end of the month if you don’t understand what the phone contract covers. Before you buy your mobile phone read the contract and only sign when you fully understand what you are getting. Ask the retailer for a Critical Information Summary (CIS). The CIS will help you understand what your new phone service is really going to cost you and what you be getting for your money.


BOND LOANS: A Bond Loan is an interest-free and fee-free loan to cover the rental bond when moving into private rental accommodation. The loan amount is up to a maximum of 4 weeks rent and must be repaid. Bond Loans are available to eligible people.

RENTAL GRANT is a one-off grant of 2 weeks rent to help you pay for the cost of moving into private rental accommodation. A Rental Grant is for people in a housing crisis. Rental Grants are available to eligible people only.


  • This scheme allows people who have reached the safety net threshold during the year for scripts to have your medicines for cheaper of even free.
  • Keep a record of all your PBS medicines on a Prescription Record Form which you can get from your pharmacist.
  • Once you reach the PBS threshold amount spent on scripts of $316.80 for concession card holders your PBS scripts will be free. For people who are not on a health card the PBS threshold is $1486.80 it means that the rest of PBS scrips will cost $6.60 once you have reached this threshold.
  • You can reach the threshold sooner by combing what everyone in your family spend on PBS medicines. A family is any of the following: a married couple; a couple in a de facto relationship; a single person with dependent children.
  • A dependent child is any of the following: Younger than 16; a full-time student younger than 25; attends school, college or university and you support them financially.

To combine your family’s PBS amounts, complete the PBS/RPBS Safety Net prescription record form and application for a Safety New card form. Each time you collect PBS medicine, hand both pages of the form to the pharmacist. The pharmacist will then record what you and your family spend on PBS medicine.

Use this form to help you keep a record of how much you have spent on PBS/RPBS medicines and to apply for a PBS Safety Net card:


The Queensland Government offers a range of concessions and rebates to householders. These consist of the following:

ELECTRICITY REBATE: Queensland pensioners, seniors and eligible low- income households in receipt of a health care card can receive $340.85 per year form their electricity bills. This rebate is also available for on-supply arrangements your electricity.

HOME ENERGY EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE SCHEME: Low income households who are experiencing a short-term financial crisis or emergency that has limited their ability to pay their current electricity bill can receive assistance under the Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme (HEEAS). Assistance is offered as a one-off emergency payment of up to $720.00 towards your electricity bill. This can only be accessed once in a two-year period. This service is set up by the Customer Assist Team at Ergon Energy Ph. 1800 670 352.


This Spectacle Supply Scheme (SSS) provides eligible Queensland residents with a pair of basic prescription spectacles, once every two years. This scheme provides a complete set of spectacles for both adults and children, including basic frames, lens and lens treatments (if clinically justified.)

You must be in receipt of the following concession cards continuously for a minimum period of six months immediately before you apply:

  • Pensioner Concession Card
  • Health Care Card
  • Queensland Seniors Card

When applying for spectacles you will need to have your eyes tested by an optometrist. Once that need has been determined you can apply.

Please let your optometrist know that you will be applying for SSS funding at the time of your eye test. If the optometrist is not a dispensing agent, the optometrist will give you your prescription to take to a dispensing agent. Once you have selected your frames, the dispensing agent will forward the completed application prescription form to SSS.


  • The Optical Superstore Caneland Central (49 57 6066).
  • EyesRus Evans Avenue (49 425 266)