Our research found that having a budget is linked to better financial wellbeing. But you don’t need to crunch numbers regularly on a spreadsheet to be financially healthy.

What matters is being able to meet your financial obligations and have some money left to enjoy life and save for the future. If you spend less than you earn, you should be well on track to do this.

Having a clear picture of what expenses you are committed to and how much you need to live on, you can work out how much you have left to put away and spend on things you enjoy.

What are your essential expenses?

Your essentials are your day to day expenses you have to pay to keep everything running smoothly.

These can include:

  • Groceries
  • Petrol, car servicing and registration
  • Public transport
  • Home maintenance

What are your financial commitments?

Your committed expenses are your fixed expenses, they include bills and debt repayments.

These can include:

  • Household expenses such as rent payments, utilities, phone and internet
  • Any debts you are committed to paying off including buy now pay later and credit card debt
  • Any insurances you may have that you pay directly from your account
  • Family expenses such as school fees, day care, child support or baby sitting

Tally up the costs

Once you know what your fixed expenses are, you can set your budget. You can use our Budget Planner to tally up these figures.  

Allocate your income

Next you can work out how much you have leftover to allocate towards your rainy day or emergency fund, your one day goals or simply enjoying your day to day.

Some people like to stick to their budget by separating their money into different accounts, each account having a set amount of money to spend on everyday items or bills, for example.

Let’s look at an example of how you might set up your accounts:

  1. Commitments - such as bills, paying off debt and making rent or mortgage payments
  2. Essentials - like your groceries, transport and health costs
  3. Lifestyle – such as buying clothes, movie tickets or eating out
  4. Saving - for your rainy day or emergency fund or your one day goals

This can be a good way to make sure you only spend the money you have allocated for that purpose.

Keep in mind that with every transaction account you open, you may need to pay more in fees. Although, you won't usually pay fees on savings accounts

Review & tweak

Our research found that if you are organised with your spending, review your finances regularly and actively plan for the future, you are on track to improve your financial wellbeing. Reviewing your spending will help you make any necessary tweaks or factor in expenses you hadn’t thought of.

You can do in the CommBank app with Spend Tracker, which allows you to see how much you spend across various categories including health, utilities, eating out, shopping, groceries and more.

Things you should know

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. Some terms and conditions apply to our financial wellbeing features – please see commbank.com.au for details.