Buy Smart Competition details

Spending money wisely is something we all have to learn. We all need good consumer and financial skills to navigate the wide range of choices we have when buying products. Providing young people with these skills helps to establish good habits and responsible attitudes from an early age.

Young people are becoming more active in the marketplace and increasingly exposed to consumer issues. Learning these skills from an early age will help your students develop smart financial and consumer habits that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Helping young people to be smart consumers

The Buy Smart Competition is a hands-on learning competition, designed to teach Queensland students in Years 4 to 12 life-long skills and awareness about consumer issues.

The competition is run annually by the Office of Fair Trading and is designed to increase students’ knowledge and understanding of issues such as:

  • budgeting and saving
  • avoiding scams
  • seeking a refund
  • making major purchases (such as a first car or mobile phone).

It engages with students’ imaginations by asking them to design a creative project that explains their chosen issue.

The Buy Smart Competition also offers a total of $15,000 in cash prizes for the winning schools and students!

Entries for the 2019 competition has closed. Teachers can continue to use the Buy Smart Program resources for planning classroom activities.


Young people can enter the Buy Smart Competition through their school, community, or youth organisation. They may enter as individuals or in groups of up to 6.

Entries are sorted into the following categories (based on the students’ current school year):

  • Years 4–6
  • Years 7–9
  • Years 10–12

Details on how to submit entries can found in the student entry kit (PDF, 1.7MB).


We offer prizes as set out in the table below:

Award type

Prize for entrant/group

Prize for school/club

1st place (in each category)



2nd place (in each category)



3rd place (in each category)



Highly commended (Max. 10 awarded across whole comp)


School Champion


The School Champion prize is a discretionary award given to a school or organisation to recognise outstanding work in supporting their students’ consumer and financial literacy education during the competition period.


The Buy Smart Competition allows young people to exercise their creativity while exploring their topic.

The competition asks entrants to:

  • pick a consumer or financial issue as their topic area
  • research the issue
  • think of a target audience that needs to know more about their issue
  • design a project that can explain the issue and give advice to their audience.

Suggested topics include :

A project can be just about anything.

Students are encouraged to develop a unique approach to presenting their consumer message. They should try and think of what methods appeal to their chosen target audience as a guide to what might be most effective.

Some project ideas include:

  • poster
  • cartoon/comic strip
  • storybook/booklet
  • board game
  • song
  • website
  • short film
  • powerpoint
  • scrapbooking.


Teachers and supervisors can apply the Buy Smart Competition to suit a range of purposes.

Teachers can use the competition’s classroom resources in a range of curriculum areas. It can also make a fun play-based activity to use outside the classroom (such as in after-school care, holiday activity groups or youth organisations).

If you wish, you can place specific restrictions on your students’ entries (such as on topic area or project type) in order to satisfy your own outcome needs. For instance, some teachers in previous years have required students to focus on the topic of scam awareness in order to achieve a specific curriculum outcome.

Any restrictions that you impose will not be considered by the judges. All entries are considered on their merits and against the other entries received.

Following are some of the applications we have seen teachers and supervisors use in previous years.

As an assessment piece

Buy Smart Competition entries are ideal as a student’s final assessment piece for many different subjects. School curriculums are packed—using the competition as an assessment piece alleviates the need to try and squeeze in yet another activity in an already overflowing schedule.

As a reinforcement tool for unit/subject work

Buy Smart Competition entries can also reinforce the learning outcomes of the curriculum or your school’s subject plans. As the competition encourages self-learning and creativity, it can be a fun and expansive way for students to encapsulate what they have formally learnt in the classroom.

The competition may also be useful for developing of communication skills through writing letters of complaint, exploring the role of marketing and advertising, presentation techniques and community education.

As a framework for unit/subject work

The Buy Smart Competition can also be applied to subjects where consumerism is not the main focus of learning.

The competition is versatile in terms of what constitutes a project. Teachers in learning areas such as English, the visual arts or design technology can use the project as a framework for tasks relevant to their teaching area.

As long as content is based on a consumer or financial literacy issue, how it is delivered can be entirely driven by teachers.

As extra-curricular task for extension students or learning support

The Buy Smart Competition provides an opportunity for extension students to expand the scope of their studies. It is the perfect showcase for innovation, creative thinking and resourcefulness. Students are encouraged to ‘think big’ or ‘outside the box’ in developing new ways to communicate a message to others.

Likewise, learning support students can also benefit from entering the competition as Buy Smart can give context to learning, in a fun way. For example, in 2012 a learning support student won a Commendation prize for a simple yet effective PowerPoint presentation on consumer rights.

As ‘life skills’ education

Students not working towards an OP or participating in Vocational Education and Training (VET) can also benefit from entering the Buy Smart Competition. The competition can teach important financial and consumer skills and encourage critical thinking necessary for future independent living.

Students can explore areas that specifically interest them, including buying a car, mobile phone contracts, online shopping and the rights and responsibilities of businesses and consumers.

Culturally and linguistically diverse students can also use the competition to explore Standard Australian English, as well as to gain valuable knowledge of the Australian market and their rights and responsibilities within it.

Judging criteria

Entries will be judged on the following criteria.


  • Does the entry represent the issue in a creative and memorable way?
  • Is the format relevant to the audience?


  • Is the entry suitable for the target audience?
  • Is the entry effective in delivering its message?
  • Does the entry offer tips or solutions on how to overcome the identified consumer issue?
  • Is the topic relevant to the target audience and the language, format and design easily understood?


  • Has the entry identified a fair trading consumer issue?


  • Is spelling and grammar correct?
  • Is it well presented?