How to fine tune your budget

This article is part of a fictional case study series following "Sarah", a typical first home buyer in Victoria. Read each article to follow "Sarah" through a variety of articles exploring issues related to buying a home.

Sarah was making good progress towards her home deposit. But once you get into a groove with money, it’s hard to break out of it – and that can be both a good and a bad thing. Good in that you’re creating great habits, but bad in that you can often leave little savings on the table.

After all, a budget is simply about managing your finances to see how and when you spend your money. Looking deeper into the details can actually save you quite a bit of cash.

Just take a look at a few discretionary items on Sarah’s budget:

  • $20 for coffee every week from a corner café.
  • $2.50 twice a week for two cans of soft drink.
  • $50 twice a month for ordering in.

That’s $200 a month right there - $2400 a year. Now, can Sarah afford those items? Absolutely. But when saving for a house, it’s best to tighten everything you can to make sure you don’t miss out. Just check out a few fine-tuning options Sarah made to her budget:

  • She bought a plunger to make coffee at work instead of buying it.
  • She purchased soft drink in bulk at the supermarket.
  • She purchased a few ready-made meals.

That’s a significant amount of savings right there, all without giving up the things she loves.

Now remember, a budget needs to be fine-tuned over time. As your expenses change and your income – hopefully – goes up, you’ll need to figure out where you can save money. But remember, it’s all about value.

Just keep a tight eye on your budget when you’re saving, and stay vigilant. You’ll get there sooner than you think.


Sarah couldn't believe how much money she could save by just making a few changes. It's that extra money that can really help her save over time. It’s different for everyone though. If coffee is something that you love buying, you may decide to keep doing so and reduce costs elsewhere, which is fine too. Try thinking about regular habits of your own that you could cut back to save money.

Home First
Home First

General Advice Warning
This information does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore you should firstly consider the appropriateness of this information and refer to the Terms and Conditions and Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before acquiring a product. These documents are available by contacting us on 1300 654 166.