Planning your budget
Preparing a budget is the first step to understanding how much you can afford to pay off each month/week, and along with your deposit, this will determine a suitable price range for your first home. A golden rule of a clear idea of how much you can comfortably afford to repay - even if interest rates rise.
Write down everything you spend over a couple of months/weeks, so you can learn exactly where your money is going (e.g. rent, mobile, Foxtel, electricity, gas, car running costs, groceries, gifts, clothes, insurance etc).
Make sure you are honest about your expenditure and what things cost - it's better to overestimate rather than underestimate so you don't get caught short. If you don't know exactly how much you spend on something, e.g. electricity, make sure you review past bills and calculate annual costs to determine an average amount. And don't forget to factor some 'fat' into your budget for surprises (e.g. the unexpected night out).
Once you've finalised your budget, check your bank records and reflect on your strategy regularly to make sure you're meeting your financial goals.