Living on a Budget Australia

Monday, 5 Jul 2021

Living on a Budget Australia

It is not unknown that Australia has high living costs, particular in the country’s main cities. In Mercer’s 2019 cost of living survey, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Canberra ranked in the top 100 most expensive cities in the world. Sydney ranked as the most expensive (50th), followed by Melbourne (79th), Perth (87th) and Canberra (96th). However, known for boasting a desirable lifestyle, moving down under seems worth every penny!

There are ways that you can live on a budget in Australia and Send My Bag have discussed a few of them in this blog.

The Cheapest Places to Live in Australia

Australia is so big that your choice of places to live is endles. However, what might help you narrow down your choice is living expenses. Most people choose to live in Sydney or Melbourne as the most popular cities but being open to other options means that you could stretch your money further. An article by The Culture Trip listed the most affordable cities to move to in Australia as Hobart, Canberra, Adelaide, and the Gold Coast. Hobart was listed as the most affordable because it is cheaper to buy/rent property there. An Australian rental property site listed the cheapest suburbs to live in Hobart as Glenorchy, Mount Nelson, and Warrane. Many prefer a smaller city like Hobart to Sydney because of its laidback living, cleaner green areas, less congestion and better safety. As well as the vast amount of natural beauty that there is to explore, away from the hustle and bustle of a city.

Australian rental property site listed the top three most affordable suburbs to live in Adelaide as Brooklyn Park, West Beach, and Clarence Park. Adelaide was ranked in the top 10 most liveable cities in the world by the Business Insider. What’s even better is that it is said to be around 20% cheaper to live in Adelaide than in Sydney or Melbourne! The other cities to live in Australia that are more affordable than Sydney and Melbourne, are the Gold Coast and Canberra. If you are after the finest of Aussie sunshine and beaches, then look no further than the Gold Coast – with beaches stretching almost 70km! Whilst in Canberra, salaries are known to be high, and is popular amongst working professionals and those wanting to study as there are many world-class educational institutions.


If you are renting property in Australia, your rent will be paid weekly or every two weeks max. You will need to pay a property bond and a letting fee first of all. The property bond is usually a month’s rent and is refundable at the end of the lease, whilst the letting fee is usually a week’s rent and it is non-refundable. Renting a one bed apartment in the likes of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane could cost approx. $400-$500 AUD per week. Whereas in cities like Adelaide and Perth, it may be slightly cheaper at around $250-$300 AUD per week. A popular way of saving some money on rent in Australia is to share accommodation, where you would expect to pay around $200-$250 AUD per week. Useful sites to find shared accommodation in Australia include Flatmate Finders and Before you find yourself longer term accommodation, the cheapest short-term option would be to stay at hostels, especially if you want to do a bit of travelling in Australia first of all. The best hostel chains in Australia are known to be YHA, Base Backpackers and Bunk Backpackers.


Statistics showed that Australians spent a total of $272 billion on food and drinks in 2018, with a survey by The Suncorp Cost of Food (of more than 1,500 Australians) reporting that the average person individually in Australia spends close to $300 AUD per week on food (groceries, eating out and other food-related expenses). The same report pointed out that only 40% of Australians stick to their allocated food budget and one third don’t budget for food at all. Probably the most effective way to budget is to plan and prep your meals in advance. Have a rough idea of the meals that you are going to make when doing your grocery shop, so that you only buy what you need and will prevent you from needing to buy additional food throughout the week. The cheapest supermarket chains in Australia are known to be Coles, Woolworths and Aldi, with the biggest competitors on pricing being Coles and Woolworths. 

Public Transport

You can get around Australia by train, tram, and buses. Getting a prepayment card for public transport can be better value than paying a daily ticket price during busy hours. You can put money on these cards to last you a set period of time, get discounted fares during off-peak travel times, and top them up at your own convenience. Each city has their own card system for public transport – for example, the Opal Card is used in Sydney, the Myki card for Melbourne, and the Go Card in Brisbane.

Fuel Costs

Depending on what part of Australia you move to, driving a car may be more suitable, as public transport may not be as accessible in places outside Aussie’s major cities. It is best to keep track of any changes in the cost of fuel so you can budget properly. You can use mobile phone apps to do this, such as Petrol Spy or Motor Mouth. They use real-time data to compare fuel prices at different locations, so you can easily find the cheapest and closest place for fuel.

Money Management Apps 

There are many mobile apps you can use to manage your money on the go and make more planned and informed decisions when it comes to spending money. These apps allow you to easily view your income and expenses, and set daily, weekly, or monthly budgets. They give you a clear view of your budgets and tell you exactly how much of your budget you have left to spend. Pocketbook and CommBank are examples of these money management apps that are used in Australia.

Mobile and Broadband

The most widely used mobile networks in Australia are Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone Group Plc. It’s best to research the packages each of the networks offer and go with the one most suited to your budget. You can research the network plans and packages on a site called Whistle Out which compares over 40 phone and internet companies in Australia.

Our door-to-door luggage shipping service is an excellent budget choice for your relocation down under. You can send everything that you need to Australia, avoiding the expense and the stress of a removal company or getting your stuff there on your own!

Get a Quick Quote