When we told people we were moving to Australia one of the first questions we were asked is, ‘but isn’t it expensive?’
True, back in my ‘gap yah’ days, I saw a banana in Sydney which cost £10. For a single banana. But what about now?
How much does it really cost to live in Australia?
We came to Australia on a very tight budget. We were expecting everything to be crazily expensive.
But this wasn’t always the case.
Here’s a lowdown on how much you should expect to shell out for everyday essentials when you live in Australia.
All prices typical for Melbourne CBD.
Aside from rent, your weekly shop will be your biggest expense and where you’ll notice the largest increase from the prices back home.
Here’s some examples:
2L Milk: £1
Loaf of Bread (weirdly expensive): £2
12 Eggs: £3
Bar of Chocolate: £2
Bottle of Coke: £2.50 (Whyyyyy!)
Week’s Worth of Veggies from the Market: £10-£15
Weekly Shop for 2 people: £55
Budget busting tip: Buy your fruit and veg cheap from the markets. They are a lot fresher and last longer. Stick to own brands and buy in bulk when possible.
If you’re coming to Australia after a stint in South-East Asia, as many do, then be prepared to be shocked. Hostels are crazily expensive, and it’s not like they are much better than their South-East Asian counterparts.
Be prepared to spend around £15 per night for a night in a 6-12 bed dorm. Many hostels offer weekly rates for around £110.
If you are going to be sticking around in one place for a while then I would recommend finding a house share to rent. These are a lot better value than hostels as you get your own room. Expect to pay upwards of £120 a week in Melbourne.
Budget busting tip: Melbourne’s extensive public transport network opens up the entire city. For cheaper rent, head to the suburbs. Your commute might be a bit longer but you’ll save the pennies. If you’re staying in a hostel, see if you can exchange a couple of hours of your time for discounted accommodation or even a free stay!
The cost of eating out has pleasantly surprised me. In Melbourne, there is something for every budget. On average, prepare to spend about £5-£10 on a main in a restaurant, £2 for a (very decent) coffee or the same for a soft drink.
Tipping culture (as far as I’ve noticed) isn’t a massive thing here, although I’m sure it’s always appreciated!
Budget busting tip: For great bargain meals, head to mall food courts and take your pick! For dinner, China Town is a great bet with dirt-cheap eats and BYOB.
Unfortunately drinking isn’t cheap in Melbourne. You will be hard pushed to find a pint for less than £5 with the same going for a simple mixer. Cocktails are more like £8-£10.
Budget busting tip: Lots of hostels have cheap drink nights so keep your eyes peeled! Sign up for sites like Groupon for occasional amazing cocktail deals.
Melbourne’s CBD is served by the free tram zone, with the Circle Line tram stopping at many of the city’s top tourist sites.
If you need to head to the suburbs then you’ll need a MyKi card which costs £2.50 from any 7/11 or train station. A single journey with a MyKi costs around £2 with fares capped at just under £4. Use your MyKi on trams, buses and trains within the two travel zones.
If you want to buy a car then be prepared to spend around £600-£2000 depending on model and condition. Make sure you have it checked by a mechanic beforehand! Petrol is more affordable than the UK at 70p a litre.
Budget busting tip: Save money by using the weekly or monthly rates offered on the MyKi. Make the most of the Myki and head out to the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. This 2 hour round journey costs less than £4!
There’s always something going on in Melbourne and endless things to do. Here’s a few:
AFL game: £13
Museum entry: £6 (free for students)
Budget busting tip: If you have a valid student card then don’t be afraid to ask for a discount as sometimes they are accepted. Shows and films are often cheapest on Tuesdays so bear that in mind when booking tickets.
What do you think about Australian prices? How did you budget on an Aussie trip? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages.
Have a pal who’s about to head off to Oz? Then don’t be afraid to share!