Travel blog & tips on a budget from a 30 year old blogger

6 Tips on Living on a Budget in Sydney

Australia Sydney
Posted: April 6, 2014

I used to think London was expensive, but it seems comparably cheaper than Sydney. IN my last two months of living in Sydney I was working in a cafe.  Therefore I had to live to a much smaller budget.  Back to student life style.  So how do you live in one of the most expensive cities in the world?


Work in a restaurant or cafe

Working in a food based place normally means they will feed and water you, which can be a big cost saving.  Sometimes in Sydney, it can be cheaper to eat out than to actually go to the supermarket. Of course if you buy your groceries from the markets, it is much cheaper than Woolworths, Cole and IGA. During my last two months in Sydney, I was working in a cafe and saved a lot as I ate at work and therefore did not need to food shop as much as when I had an office job.

Travel everywhere on bike

If you have already bought a bike and do not use it, start riding it now.  I rode everywhere in Sydney and never took public transport which saves a lot in the long run (even after you take off the cost of the bike). I never took a cab home as most of the time I rode back to my house (or sometimes walked if it was closer).  Having a bike is great as you never have to wait for public transport and it is a good way of keeping fit as well.

Stop the gym membership

Sydney has relatively good weather all year round.  There are some days when it rains, but mostly you can exercise throughout the year in shorts and tshirt.  There are many cheap ways to keep fit, more cost effective than the gym.  When I was in Sydney, I was a member of the Sydney Boot Camp group. This costs $5 per session which is quite reasonable considering you get a really good workout. I also took part in the weekly biathlons in the domain at the Andrew Boy Charlton pool.  Before Christmas they were selling 10 sessions for $100, where normally they are $20 each.

Sydney Bridge

Give up drinking

Alcohol in Australia is very expensive because the Government has placed a high tax on alcohol. Coronas in most places are $9.00 – $10.00 and cocktails range from $16 – $25.  Having a few drinkies on a Friday soon adds up, so to avoid the burn in the wallet, give up alcohol for a time or set a limit to 2 or 3 a night.  That way you also won’t be too hung over to explore the city the next day.

Use pay as you go

Mobile phones can be very expensive in Australia with iPhones costing up to $1000. If you have friends that have a spare mobile phone they are not using, they may give it to you for a minimum charge or for free.  Then top up with pay as you go.  Choose the operators that have the best coverage and give you the best deals.  I really liked Telstra as it was free mins and texts after 6pm and they always had good coverage.  I never spent more than $30 every two weeks, so a great way to budget  your phone bills. I also downloaded What’s App which give you free texts to any country throughout the day.

Go to the beach

It is free to go to the beach, especially if you have your own bike.  At many beaches in Sydney, there are BBQ areas.  If there is a group of you heading down, chip in and buy some food in advance to barbeque on the beach.  At Bondi, arrive before 12 noon to bags yourself a spot on the grass near the cookers.  Enjoy the day at the beach, soaking up the sun and catching the waves.  There is a free small sea pool at North Bondi.

Bondi Beach


Don’t be tempted to buy new clothes that you probably do not need. Instead, go through your wardrobe and identify clothes you have not worn for a while but still like and therefore could wear again. If you really are tired of the same clothes, swap some with some of your friends (if you are the same size), or go to the many “Op” shops in town.  An “Op” shop is a charity store such as the Salvation Army and they have a range of clothes, books and bric brac.

I admit it was quite hard living to a small budget in Sydney, but it can be done especially for a short period of time.  The main thing I would recommend is to make the most of the outdoors and go swimming, cycling, exercising in the park which is free.

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