Way Forward Budget Planner

Being across your household budget is an important part of staying on top of your finances.

Our free interactive budget planner helps you understand your current financial situation. Using it is simple – just enter your income and expenses to find out where you are spending your money and how much money you have left to save or help repay your debts.

How to use the planner

Use this budget planner on one device to build a comprehensive overview of your household budget. As you enter your details, it will be automatically saved and you can change the time period as needed.

Clear your data by clicking reset at the bottom. Note if you clear your browser cache or history, you will reset the budget planner and lose the information you’ve inputted.

Once completed, you can submit your details below to receive a copy of your budget for your records via email.

For additional information, tips and more, see below for our FAQ on budgeting.

This budget planner is intended only as a helpful guide by assisting you in understanding your personal financial position.  

Way Forward Budget Planner

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Insurance & financial

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Groceries

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Personal & medical

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Transport & auto

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Children

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Get a copy of your budget items

If you’d like us to get in contact to see if we can help you manage your personal debt repayments, please submit your details to Way Forward for our team to use in your first appointment. You will also receive a copy of your budget for your records via email.

Alternatively, click no if you’d prefer Way Forward not keep your details on record or contact you.

You can use our Excel Budget Planning spreadsheet if you want to save a copy for your own personal records on your own device.


Frequently asked questions about budgets

Understanding your bills and payments to loans, credit cards and other household expenses can create an awareness of your current situation and identify ways to make changes to your expenses where possible and/or understand what you can allocate to reducing debts or increase savings.

We know that preparing and using budgets can feel challenging and are generally best used to understand how much money you have coming in, how much is going out and how much you might have left at a certain point of time.

While it might feel tedious, the more detail you add to your budget, the better. Adding accurate estimates of how much you spend on things like gifts, haircuts or car maintenance, will allow you to have a complete overview of your household spend – even for things you might not think too closely about but still pay for.

Once you’ve done the hard work, you’ll have a comprehensive budget – which will give you confidence when it’s time to spend money!

Being across your household budget is an important part of staying on top of your finances. Our interactive budget planner helps you understand your current financial situation.

Using it is simple, enter your income and expenses to understand where you are spending your money, how much money you have left and get a visual overview of your current household budget.

As you enter your details, they will be automatically saved and you can change the time period as needed. Clear your data by clicking reset at the bottom. Note if you clear your browser cache or history, you will reset the budget planner and lose the information you’ve input.

Once completed, you can submit your details to receive a copy of your budget for your records via email.

In short, a budget is beneficial for most people because most people don’t realise where their money goes. Knowledge is power.

A household budget helps to set clear financial goals such as how much you can put towards reducing debts or savings every month for a long-term aspiration like holiday or mortgage. A budget also helps you make informed decisions about your life – for example, whether now is the time for a big purchase or whether you should save up for it first.

If you’re struggling with debt, a household budget will have many benefits. It will help you understand how much money you have left to repay your debts, how you can save money by reducing unnecessary expenses, and better prepare for big expenses like rego by saving up in advance.

You can either go through your bank statements or add your best estimate.

For the most accurate view, we recommend going back to your bank statements of the past three months to establish how much you usually spend on things like insurance (health, home, contents, car, pet etc.), bills (phone, power, water, gas, etc.), meals at restaurants, and so forth.

A lot of big expenses like car registration are paid annually. With our budget planner, you can input an annual expense and the tool calculates how much that will cost you monthly, weekly or fortnightly. This helps you understand the on-going cost of an occasional, big expense so you can better prepare. As said, knowledge is power!

All of our new clients work through a budget with their designated hardship advocate, which is based on their pay period. The end result is similar to the budget generated by our free budget tool. We do this to get a full picture of your finances so we know how much you have left to repay your debts. We then use the budget to negotiate your loan terms and repayments with your creditors in a way that guarantees you have enough money left to pay for everyday expenses.

At Way Forward we support our clients for the long-term. It’s important for us to help our clients manage their debts and regain confidence in understanding and maintaining healthy finances. We want to empower you with knowledge, setting up good practices in budgeting and saving. This way, once the debts have been cleared, you can continue to improve your financial position without worrying about debt collectors calling you again.

There are many ways you can stay on top of your finances for the long-term. After you’ve added all the detail in this budget tool, click ‘submit’ to get a full record of your budget items via email. You can then revisit this information at intervals that make sense to you, be it monthly, quarterly or even once a year.

We also recommend revisiting your budget if there are big changes to your household finances – for example, a change to your job, rent, or mortgage. You can also use our Excel Budget Planning spreadsheet if you want to save a copy for your own personal records on your own device and keep updating it when needed.

For inspiration, our team of hardship advocates have prepared some of their top tips and mistakes to avoid when budgeting. We hope you find them useful.

  1. Make sure your income is more than your expenses. This might seem obvious but can present a challenge due to changes in personal circumstances such as job loss. Whilst you may be able to manage changes to your income in the short-term by using savings or more credit, the circumstance can quickly deteriorate. Asking for assistance early on is likely to present more opportunities before financial problems begin to escalate.
  2. Have a goal. It will be easier to stick to a budget or a savings plan if you have a long-term goal in mind. Setting a clear goal keeps most people on track and makes the whole process feel nicer. It’s all about flipping to a positive mindset instead of dwelling on the negatives.
  3. Set up an account for your bills with automated transfers. Let’s face it, we all have big ticket items when it comes to expenses that can take us by surprise. To combat this, figure out your big expenses and save towards them ahead of time using automated transfers to a separate bills account. Then you can pull funds from your account when they land. This will help you avoid using credit when big bills arrive uninvited – and protect you from financial hardship in the long-term.
  4. Set up a savings account with automated transfers – and don’t touch it! Setting up a savings account with automated transfers on payday is a great way to save money, hassle free. Sometimes it’s too easy to dip into your savings account – consider opening a savings account with another bank so you’re less likely to use the funds.
  5. Do things on the cheap. You don’t need to stop enjoying life as long as you’re being smart and savvy! For example, we often consider a holiday as a big investment but many things don’t cost as much as you think. Australia is blessed with countless options to enjoy our free time without breaking the bank – from camping to museums, galleries, city festivals, markets, hiking, swimming, beaches and so on.
  6. Explore discounts with lenders and service providers once a year. Contacting your lenders and service providers to negotiate a better deal is a guaranteed trick to save money. If your provider won’t offer a better deal, do your research to establish if a competitor might.
  1. Budgeting for the short-term. Many people have a short-term view when it comes to their finances and live paycheck to paycheck. This can leave them vulnerable to financial hardship. For example, if you get paid monthly, you might budget for the month ahead but forget to consider the big bills that come through less frequently. This is when you might be hit with an ‘unexpected expense’ as you didn’t save up for the expense before it was due. This is where the Way Forward budget tool comes handy as it encourages you to take a longer-term view of your money and also, understand the monthly cost to an infrequent expense.
  2. Using credit to pay credit. Taking on more credit to pay for credit can land you in financial hardship. As most of the short-term credit options have surprisingly big interest rates, you can easily get in trouble maxing your credit limits or picking up more credit to pay the bills.
  3. Not speaking to the provider if you can’t pay a bill. Most lenders and service providers have hardship teams and options to offer their customers unable to pay. Speak to your provider immediately when you’re struggling – tackling the issue early on will also limit impacts to your credit rating.
  4. Spending more money than you earn. Many clients who come to Way Forward have landed in financial trouble for this simple reason: they’ve spent more money than what they earn, sometimes without realising. This is where a household budget is helpful, as it gives you a clear idea of how much money you have left after you’ve paid for the essentials.

Easy – just give us a call! We understand that your situation may change in the future. If things either improve or become more difficult, reach out and we can work through any adjustments. We may also check in with you every now and then, just to make sure that you are still happy with your repayment plan.

Contact us via our website or call on 1300 045 502 and speak to one of our financial hardship advocates today.

As an independent not-for-profit organisation, our sole purpose is to support our clients. You can trust us to always act in your best interest. We are not selling products or working on behalf of a particular business.

We take your privacy and safety seriously. Our protocols ensure that what you share with us remains confidential. When we speak to your creditors on your behalf, we only share what is necessary to set up your repayment plan, and we only do so after you have given your permission.

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