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Managing Your Money

Setting up a Bank Account

A bank account is the safest place for your hard earned money. First you need to choose a bank, or financial institution. You may decide on a bank because it has a special kind of account that you like, low fees or because it’s close to you. Some student accounts have no fees, so if you are a student let your bank know when setting up your account. If you’re not a student ask about which accounts have the lowest fees, and check how much the fees are and when you incur them (for example, most banks have high fees if you withdraw money from a different banks’ ATMs).
When you go to the bank to open an account, you need to show the bank teller a certain amount of identification (there’s a point system for ID and to open a bank account you need 100 points.) This means you will need your birth certificate or passport, a driver’s licence or health care card, and your tax file number (see below). You also need to show them your current address on either your licence, rental agreement or a bill etc. It can be useful to phone the bank to double check you have the correct amount of ID before you go there.
Most accounts will give you a bankcard so you can withdraw money from ATMs and pay for things in shops using EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer Point of Sale – you learn something every day!). This is different to a credit card, you can only withdraw/spend the amount of money that is in your account – which is much better when you’re trying to budget!


Developing a budget is essential in managing your money and it will save you a lot of stress and problems. It involves planning ahead so that you can make your money last until your next pay day. Budgets show your everyday expenses, including food, transport, bills, rent. Sticking to your budget leaves you with enough money to pay all your expenses, as well as hopefully having some left over for unexpected things (and for fun things too!).
It can be helpful to first record all your spending for a fortnight to get a good idea of what you actually spend. Then make up an honest list of everything you spend in a fortnight, including entertainment and clothes. If it’s too much for what you earn then you need to find places where you can cut it down. Remember to try have some left over each week to save up for unexpected costs, such as fixing a broken car.
For help making a budget check out the Dollars and Sense website.


If you’ve managed to save up extra money WELL DONE! A good option is to keep it in an account that earns high interest. Usually these accounts only get the high interest if you don’t withdraw money from it very often. So it can be a good idea to have one account that you do your spending from and also have a high interest savings account that you only deposit money in to. Talk to your bank what about your needs are and ask which accounts best suit you. Remember to shop around for different banks’ interest rates and offers to find the best one that suits your needs. If you do you could be buying that new car or taking your dream round the world holiday in no time.