Take control of your income

Learn how to handle the money you earn so you can make the most of it and achieve your goals, whether you want a shiny new car, big trip away, or you’re planning for the future

where to start

Get your finances in order

First things first, you really need a bank account. The days of stashing all your cash under your mattress are long gone, so you’ll need to get a bank account before you can be paid, and you’ll need to give those details to your employer.

Even if you’re under 18, many banks will allow you to open your own transaction account and you could benefit from reduced fees. It’s easy to link a savings account, so you can start building your future right from your first payslip, and you can ask for a linked debit card as well.

Online banking makes it easy to see your accounts online, transfer money as you need and keep track of everything.

Student bank accounts

Australian’s have a nasty habit of being very loyal to their bank, and there’s a good chance you’ll be with the same bank for many years. Do your research about which bank aligns with your needs both now and in the long term – for example, if a bank has fantastic entry rates for young people but very expensive car loan rates then you may be better off elsewhere. Many Australian banks and credit unions offer specific student accounts, which have different (sometimes better) interest rates, lower fees, and access to debit cards.

How to access your money

Once you’ve got your hard-earned dollars sitting in your bank how do you get it out again? One of the easiest ways is with a debit card.

A debit card is a card that you can use to withdraw money (through an ATM), or to pay for things (EFTPOS or online).

Your debit card gives you access to your own money, so you don’t pay any interest and you can never go into debt using it. A credit card on the other hand is a kind of easily-accessible personal loan, which means you can spend even when you don’t have the money, then pay it back later.

Credit cards are often VERY expensive (in terms of fees and interest charged) and if you’re not careful you can get into big trouble using credit cards. Debit cards are much safer, just as easy to use, and you’ll be better off in the long run.

Managing money

Build a budget

Budgets are not boring. They are powerful tools you can use to achieve your dreams.

Very few rich people managed to wing their way into millions – just about all of them have budgets (and they stick to them).

A budget is simply a method of keeping track of your income and expenses, and choosing to spend your money in line with the rules set out in your budget.

For example, if you want a new car and it’s going to cost $4,000, you know that you need to save that much money. If you don’t budget, there’s a good chance you’ll spend when you really needed to save, in order to reach your goal, which means you won’t be able to afford your car.

If you plan a budget you can set yourself rules, like only going to the movies once a fortnight, and then put the money you would normally have spent on extra movie sessions in your savings account.

What happens if you don't have a budget?

​Think of all the singers and movie stars who’ve blown millions on fast cars and expensive yachts, just to end up broke and alone. But smart actors, like George Clooney, use their movie earnings to invest wisely and stick to a smart budget. He recently sold his tequila brand for close to a billion dollars (now wouldn’t that be nice?)


About your pay

There are rules which dictate how much you should earn, and what your employment conditions look like. Your employer has to follow these rules, and they help make sure you’re safe at work and paid appropriately for your time and effort.

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Pay Rates

They’re set out by Fair Work Australia, and it’s easy for you to find out if the wage you’re being paid is correct at their website.

See the pay rates

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Pay and Conditions Tool

The Fair Work Ombudsman also has a Pay and Conditions Tool which can easily help your calculate your pay, leave, and shifts.

Take me to the tool

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Fair Work Ombudsman

An ombudsman is an independent organisation that’s set up to help people understand their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.

Their services are free, and available to all workers and employers in Australia.

Find out more

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