5 things you weren’t taught in school about your finances


From questionable hair choices to finding rotten food in your locker, high school memories stay with us. 

But what about the bits you’ve left behind, like economic lessons? According to a Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey in 2019, fewer than half of Aussies could correctly answer five basic financial literacy questions. 

So, to get you back on track, here’s a quick crash course on the top five most important things you should know about your finances.

Lesson One: Interest can be a blessing and a curse

Understanding how interest works is key to getting on top of your finances. This is because it has the potential to either help build wealth or send you into debt. Let’s consider the following scenarios: 

At the moment, Mozo’s database shows that Australian Unity currently owns the leading ongoing savings account interest rate of 1.75%. Let’s say you had $7,000 in savings and could afford to put $1,000 away every month for the next year with that rate. According to the Mozo saving’s calculator, after twelve months, your balance would grow to an impressive $19,220! 

On the other hand, the average credit card interest rate sits at 16.88%, with the average balance totalling $3,357. If you were to put $200 toward monthly repayments, it would not only take you one year and 8 months to be debt free, but you’d fork out $499 in interest and fees (this scenario assumes that the card has a $99 annual fee as well).

Lesson Two: Everyone needs a budget

When you’re young self control might be the one thing that’s tricky to put into practice. But understanding how to budget can give you the upperhand. It’s never too late to start with some good old fashioned pen and paper, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

For example, if you find that your outgoing expenses are greater than your incoming expenses, you might need to start reducing some unnecessary spending, such as streaming subscriptions or takeout. 

Still think you need some more help? Check out our creating a budget guide!

Lesson Three: Setting goals gives us purpose

Whether it’s buying your first home or travelling the world, everyone has something they’re passionate about. And because these things can’t be achieved overnight, setting short and long term goals is essential. Aside from giving us something to work toward, goal setting can also instill positive money habits along the way. 

For example, if your goal is to purchase your first property, it won’t be long until you’re switching things up for the better. This could include things like cutting back on eating out, making sure bills are always paid on time, reducing debt and improving your financial jargon.

Lesson Four: Always be prepared for a rainy day

It’s important to ensure you’re prepared for when things go awry. Although dealing with tough situations can look different for everyone, you can’t go wrong with setting up and building an emergency savings fund. 

By having an emergency fund ready to go, you won’t have to resort to credit to take care of unforeseen costs. Your emergency fund should be enough to cover three months worth of living expenses or, according to Mozo research, roughly between $7,000 and $10,000. 

Our comprehensive guide can help you take your first steps and provide insight into how long it could take you to build your emergency fund.

Lesson Five: Never take the first offer

If you don’t tap into your negotiation or research skills, you could be missing out on saving some serious coin.

For example, a recent Mozo number crunch found that the average NSW household could be saving as much as $241.77 a year* on their energy bill by switching to the cheapest offer on the market. 

Regularly shopping around can help make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck and are not spending more than you need to. 

Ready to put some of these lessons into practice? Then you’re going to need a top savings account to get you started! Head on over to our savings account comparison tool or get started with the offers below.

*Ausgrid network, average usage of 4000 kWh a year

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Last updated 19 July 2024 Important disclosures
  • Savings Account

    5.35% p.a. (for $0 to $250,000)

    4.75% p.a.(for $0 to $1,000,000)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Bonus variable rate is available for the first 4 months.

    Competitive introductory variable rate for first 4 months (on deposits up to $250,000). No account keeping fees to pay. Multiple 2024 Mozo Experts Choice Award winner.

  • Reward Saver Account

    5.25% p.a. (for $0 to $1,000,000)

    0% p.a.(for $0 and over)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Intro bonus rate of 5.25% for balances up to $1,000,000 for the first 4 months, reverting to 3.25%. Minimum deposit of $50 and no withdrawals.

    Introductory bonus rate for balances up to $1,000,000 for the first 4 months. Minimum deposit of $50 and no withdrawals. Start your account online in under 10 minutes and earn interest on balances up to $1,000,000 (T&Cs apply). No monthly account fees, helping you save smarter and faster.

  • Savings+Bonus

    5.00% p.a. (for $0 to $250,000)

    2.00% p.a.(for $0 to $250,000)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Minimum $100 monthly deposit and no withdrawals to earn bonus interest each month.

    Earn a generous interest rate on your at-call savings (T&Cs apply). Interest is calculated daily and paid to you monthly. A $5 monthly membership fee will not apply if your total account balances with First Option Bank exceed $1,000 or you have a credit card or loan with the bank.

  • Bonus Saver Account

    5.00% p.a. (for $0 to $250,000)

    0.05% p.a.(for $0 and over)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Bonus rate when at least $20 is deposited each month and five Visa Debit transactions are made each month using linked Glide transaction account.

    Start saving and earn interest with just a $20 deposit and make 5 eligible transactions each month. No fees or penalties for withdrawing money.

  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Savings Maximiser

    5.50% p.a. (for $0 to $100,000)

    0.55% p.a.(for $0 and over)

    Yes up to $250,000

    For customers who have an Orange Everyday account, deposit $1000 into a personal ING account, make 5 eligible transactions and grow their nominated Savings Maximiser account each month.

    Great variable rate every month when you grow your balance each month in addition to other eligibility criteria. No ING fees to pay. Save even more with ING Everyday Round Up. Mozo Experts Choice Awards Everyday & Savings Bank of the Year winner for 2024.^


^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Savings Account Awards

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