Case study: How Finn found his budgeting flow

Discover how Finn learnt to budget, to better manage his finances.

Having moved out of home, Finn, 19, is “adulting” for the first time in his life. Here’s how Finn overcame the challenge of managing his finances on a limited budget.

A financial shock to the system

It’s been a big year of change for Finn. Having left the security of the family home to move into a share house with his friends, he is studying his first year at TAFE to become an electrician. With limited savings and only a part-time job, Finn was having trouble making his money stretch to cover his commitments and entertainment expenses.

Finding a budgeting approach that works for you

Finn decided to take a simplified approach and divide his income into broad buckets — a budget technique popularised by the likes of the Barefoot Investor. To understand where his money was going, Finn tracked his expenses for a few weeks by scrolling through his bank account. He found the majority of his income was going to rent, eating out and nights at the local pub.

Young man with glasses

Using budgeting “buckets”

Finn’s finances weren’t complicated, so he came up with five main buckets that would cover the basics, then matched his bank accounts to those same categories. These were: 

  • rent
  • food
  • bills
  • entertainment
  • savings 

Every fortnight, Finn divides his pay into the five buckets according to his budget, with the aim of spending only what he’s allocated. “I’ve found that sometimes I haven’t accounted for something, so I need to dip into another bucket to make it work, but at least the money is there."

Keeping your finances on track

Budgeting has helped Finn keep on track with his expenses and enabled him to make ends meet, even on his limited income. 

Allowing for some fun will help you stick to a budget. Dedicate a special account to nights out or shopping and you won’t feel guilty about spending.

Like Finn, you might be confused about where to start when it comes to doing your first budget. Here are some tips to help you on your journey.


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