Whether you have a job, run your own business, or receive an allowance, understanding how to manage your money can help you survive and thrive.
This page aims to provide you with some useful advice to help you to get in control of your money to help you achieve your goals.
On this page: Banking, Budgeting, Credit and debt, Financial counselling, First job, Getting a car, Getting a pet, Insurance, Investing, Mobile phone deals and plans, Moving out of home, Online transactions, Saving, Scams, Study costs, Superannuation, Tax, and more information.
Putting your money into a bank account doesn’t mean you can forget about it. It’s your money, so you should make sure it’s being looked after in the way you want.
There are lots of different bank accounts, so make sure the one you have is right for you. If it’s not, think about switching. You could save money in fees and charges.
Visit the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) MoneySmart website to find information about banking, including types of accounts, using your account, online and mobile phone banking, government guarantee on deposits, what you can expect from banks and how to make a complaint about your bank.
By taking charge of your money you will ease money stress and feel more secure and in control.
Visit the MoneySmart website to find information about budgeting, such as tracking your spending and creating a budget.
Credit and debt
Credit is money you borrow from a financial institution like a bank or credit union, to spend the way you want. Credit can come in different forms, such as ‘buy now, pay later’ services like Afterpay and Zip Pay, interest free loans and personal loans. You will need to repay this debt to the credit provider, usually with interest and sometimes other extra costs like yearly annual fees on top of the amount you borrowed.
Visit the MoneySmart website to find information about credit and debt, including types of credit, what to do before you borrow money, credit reports and getting help with debt.
Credit debt can easily spiral out of control if you aren’t careful with how you spend. If you find yourself in trouble managing your credit debt, don’t give up–you can get help to get on top of your finances. Check out MoneySmart’s 5 golden rules for managing debt.
Financial counselling is a free service offered by community organisations, community legal centres and some government agencies. Financial counsellors can help you solve your money problems.
Visit the MoneySmart website to find information on financial counselling, including how to find a financial counsellor, what they do, and debt consolidation vs financial counselling.
When you start a new job, it’s important to find out if you’re getting the right pay and what to do if you have problems at work.
Visit the MoneySmart website to find information about money issues related to your first job, such as getting paid and solving pay issues.
Getting a car
When buying a car you need to consider how you will buy it, how much it will cost to run and what type of insurance to get.
Visit the MoneySmart website to find information on getting a car, including finding the right car and ongoing car costs.
You can also visit the StreetSmarts website to search for the safest cars within your budget by make, model or price. It can even filter for cars with engines that are Queensland P-plater approved.
Getting a pet
Adding a furry friend to your life can give you companionship, love and exercise, but animals can be costly to care for properly.
Read about some of the common costs of pet ownership and find suggestions on how to keep these to a minimum.
Insurance provides the money you need when things go wrong. If you have insurance, the cost of repairs, medical treatments, travel changes or theft can be softened.
Visit the MoneySmart website to find information about insurance, including what to look for in insurance products so you can find the right policy for your needs.
Whether you’re an experienced investor or a beginner, there are plenty of steps you can take to grow your money and keep it safe.
Visit the MoneySmart website to find information on investing, including the basic principles of investing and how to find a good financial advisor.
Mobile phone deals and plans
There are many mobile phone plans and each one offers something different.
Visit the MoneySmart website to find information on mobile phone deals and plans, such as considering your options, questions to ask before buying, tricky phone terminology and signing a phone contract.
Moving out of home
The right time to move out of home is different for everyone. Some people leave as soon as they’re able, others might wait until they’ve saved enough money to buy their own place.
Visit the MoneySmart website to find information on moving out of home, including the costs involved, sharing with flatmates and a moving out checklist.
Find more general information about moving out of home, such as choosing a place to live and where to get help with housing if you need it.
Shopping and banking online can make life easier, but only if you know how to protect your money and your privacy.
Visit the MoneySmart website to find information about online transactions, such as internet banking, online shopping and solving problems with online transactions.
Setting a savings goal for yourself is exciting. Your goal could be to put some money aside for emergencies, or you may want to save for a car, holiday or home deposit.
Whatever your goal, once you start a regular savings plan you may be surprised with how much you can achieve, once you put your mind to it.
Visit the MoneySmart website to find information about saving.
Visit the MoneySmart website to find information on scams involving investments, superannuation, managed funds, financial advice or insurance.
For other scams, visit the Scam Watch website to find out about types of scams, how to report a scam and where to get help. You can also subscribe to Scam Watch Radar to receive email alerts on the latest scams direct to your in-box.
Whether you’re a student at high school, TAFE, university or a private college, it helps to plan for the costs of travel, study and resources.
Visit the MoneySmart website to find information on studying costs, such as living on a student budget, student loans and work-related study.
On this website you can also find information about education costs and financial help or visit the TransLink website to find if you are eligible for a public transport concession in Queensland.
Superannuation (or ‘super’) is money set aside during your working life for when you retire. For most people, super begins when you start work and your employer starts paying a portion of your salary or wages into a super fund for you. These payments are known as ‘super guarantee contributions’ or ‘concessional (pre-tax) contributions’. Super is your money.
Visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website to find information to help you understand super and work out what you’re entitled to.
Getting a tax file number
When you start paid work–whether it’s casual, part-time or full-time–you will need to provide your employer with a tax file number (TFN). Your TFN is:
- your personal reference number in the tax and superannuation systems
- an important part of your tax and superannuation records, as well as your identity, so keep it secure
- yours for life; you keep the same TFN even if you change your name, change jobs, move interstate or go overseas.
How you apply for a TFN will depend on your circumstances. Find out more about how to apply if you are:
- an Australian resident
- a foreign passport holder, permanent migrant or temporary visitor
- living outside Australia.
Visit the ATO website to find out more information.
Centrelink also requires you to have a TFN number when you are receiving payments from them. If you receive support from Centrelink and require assistance with your TFN application, contact your local Centrelink Customer Service Centre.
Lodging your tax return
A tax return is a form you complete online, on paper or get a tax agent to help you with, helps the Australian Tax Office (ATO) check if you have paid enough tax or too much. The form tells the ATO how much money you earn and if you are claiming deductions.
Tax returns cover the financial year from 1 July to 30 June. If you’re lodging your own tax return, it’s due by 31 October.
Visit the ATO website to find information on lodging your tax return.
Income and deductions
Income tax is paid on money you receive, such as salary and wages. You can reduce the amount of tax you pay by claiming certain deductions that are directly related to earning your income. Your tax may be further reduced if you are eligible for certain tax offsets or government rebates.
Visit the ATO website to find information on income and deductions.
Getting a tax refund
If you get a tax refund, find information on smart ways to use it that will give you long-term benefits.
- ATO calculators and tools
- ATO online services for individuals
- ATO taxation information for individuals new to tax and super
- Kids Helpline information about managing your money
- MoneySmart calculators and resources
- MoneySmart financial advisers register
- MoneySmart tips for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- MoneySmart Student life and money
- Scam Watch website