A bank statement is a list of all the money that went in and out of your bank account over a period of time, usually 3 months.
You can find this in your online banking website, or you might receive them by email or post. You can also look at your transactions in real-time by going to your transaction summary in your banking app or bank account online.
In your transaction summary and bank statement you’ll see:
- Deposits: A deposit is any money that goes in. This could be from your boss paying you for work, someone paying you back money you lent them, or interest being added by the bank if it’s a savings account.
- Withdrawals: A withdrawal is any money that goes out. This could be when you paid for something with your debit card, when you transferred money to someone else’s bank account, or if you have a direct debit set up to pay regular bills like a gym membership.
The bank statement will end with your ‘closing balance'. This will show how much money you had in the account at the end of the period.
Look for patterns
If you’re having trouble saving money it may be because you’re spending money more often than you think.
Most online banking and banking apps will let you search and filter your transactions by theme, date or amount. You can also choose to look at just your withdrawals to see what’s coming out of your account.
You might notice a pattern:
- Can you see food and café purchases?
- Can you see clothing or makeup purchases?
- Can you see in-app purchases for games?
These are often small purchases that we don’t think too much about. But that means they add up without you noticing and can really affect your bank balance.
Make small changes
If you want to start managing your money better, small changes to your spending is a great way to start.
Start thinking of ways to change your spending habits.
- Bring lunch from home a few days a week instead of buying it
- Wait for clothes and makeup to be on sale, or search online for the best price
- Set yourself a limit for how much you’re happy to spend when you’re playing a game and stick to it.
Small changes to your pattern of spending will have big benefits in the long run.
Look for mistakes
A mistake in your bank statement might be:
- a payment coming out twice
- a payment coming out once you’ve cancelled a direct debit
- a payment made to the wrong person
- a payment to a person or company you don’t recognise
- a payment made when you know you didn’t use your card or account that day.
If you see a mistake or any withdrawals from your bank account that you don’t recognise, contact your bank straight away. They can help you work out where the money went and sometimes help you get it back.
If you think someone is taking out money when they shouldn’t, or you think you’ve been scammed, don’t wait to act.
The Australian Government website Scamwatch has useful information to help avoid scams and to help you stop any more money coming out:
If you think you’ve gotten yourself in money trouble, ask an adult for help.