Tips to help you budget on a low income

Improve your financial situation by making your money work harder. 

New budget standards reveal the minimum income required by low income Australians for healthy living ranges from $597.31 per week for a single adult to $1,173.38 for a couple with two kids1.

These figures include housing, food, clothing and footwear, household goods and services, transport, health, personal care, recreation, and education, and allow for a degree of social participation consistent with social inclusion and healthy living.

Not everyone is in a position to increase their income, but there are ways every household can make their money go further, following the simple principals of budget management: save more and spend better.

Fatten the piggy bank

As most of our financial advisers will tell you, true financial stability is not so much about how much disposable income you have but about how much you have saved. This increases your ability to pay unexpected bills. So it pays to make saving a priority.

To do this, sit down and calculate how much you have, how much you need, and how much you want. This can be done by visualising your end goal, setting a clear time frame and defining achievable milestones.

  • It may be useful to split your money into three pots: a pay pot to pay current and future bills, a save pot that puts a little towards your goals, and another for leftover money that’s safe to spend. The AMP Bett3r account is a smart bank account with these features built in.
  • Managing these pots of money is much easier if transfers and deposits are automated, that way you’ll have less chance of spending on a whim.
  • It’s never too late to start saving, especially if you use our how to save tips to help you get started. 

Keep an eye on expenses

Find out how to budget and use a budget calculator to help you monitor your expenses. This is a tool best used alongside the following habits:

Check your bank statements

Check the income you’re receiving is correct. This may include your salary, Centrelink payments, child support payments or any other income streams, and if any is missing or incorrect, challenge it with your boss or contact Centrelink.

Also look at what you’ve spent by going over the ‘debits’ column of the statement and compare these debits with your receipts to make sure they’re right, and while you’re at it, consider how much you’re paying in bank fees and look to minimise these.

Reduce your spending

Stay on top of your budget by cutting costs wherever possible. Turn off lights, eat at home, reuse and do your own household repairs if you can.

Consolidate your debts

Prioritise debt payments to get rid of the highest interest rates first. You can also take advantage of balance transfer offers, or look at other ways to consolidate your debts and save on interest.

Compare before you buy

An informed shopper is a smart shopper. Insurance, health care and even utility providers offer special tariffs to accommodate all budgets, and reviewing your providers or asking them to match cheaper prices offered by other providers can help. You may also be eligible for low-interest loans or special bank accounts with little to no extra fees.

Maximise your entitlements

Find out if you qualify for any government financial support schemes. From housing and health care to utilities and tax deductions, there are many types of government support available.

You can count on us

We can help you stay on top of your bills, achieve your savings goals, and spend your money wisely.

My AMP gives you fast, easy and secure online access to your banking, super, insurance and investment accounts all in one place. You have the ability to add non-AMP accounts, and view your external balances, giving you a clear picture of your overall financial situation.

Check out these articles for more tips on how to save money and spend more wisely:


Budget planner calculator

Use our Budget planner calculator to assess your current financial position and how much you may be able to invest. 

Start budgeting today

Managing your money

Find out how you can make a big difference to the opportunities and lifestyle you enjoy today and tomorrow with our online module. 

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Explore your goals

Try our online tool to explore, prioritise and create your own goals timeline.

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Any advice in this page is general in nature and is provided by AMP Life Limited ABN 84 079 300 379 (AMP Life). The advice does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of this advice having regard to those matters. AMP Bett3r Account is issued by AMP Bank Limited ABN 15 081 596 009, AFSL 234517. Consider the terms and conditions available on request by calling 13 30 30 or at and whether this product is appropriate for you. Fees and charges apply.

Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any decision. Except where liability cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability for any resulting loss or damage.