At first glance, Australia might seem more expensive than home. Australia's cost of living has got a poor reputation - it regularly tops the Deutsche Bank’s annual Mapping the World's Prices report for most expensive countries to live.
But quality of life is high Down Under and it is possible to get way more bang for your buck if you follow these tips:
The great Aussie dream doesn’t need to be a Bondi Beach address.
Sydney has more beachside suburbs than Bondi. According to data from flatmates.com.au, Cronulla is the cheapest beachside suburb to rent a single room, followed by Dee Why, Newport and Maroubra. Even your average two-bedroom apartment is considerably cheaper in Dee Why at $560 per week compared to Bondi’s $750 average.
Alternatively, widen your horizons to minimise your rent. Cities like Adelaide, Darwin, Brisbane or Newcastle are vibrant and affordable, while Australia has a wealth of wonderful rural towns where lifestyle doesn’t come at a high cost.
Monthly bills can add up, but you can minimise these by shopping around.
Visit the Australian government’s Energy Made Easy website where you can compare energy providers. Or for electricity, bypass the bigger companies and use Powershop, which has no sign up costs and allows you to buy power, as you need it from a variety of suppliers.
Internet and mobile phone plans vary, so you’ll save by doing your homework. Vaya is one company with cheap phone plans and reliable coverage thanks to its partnership with Optus.
Before opening a bank account in Australia check out the Affordable Banking website to find out what account is right for you.
Some banks charge a multitude of fees but you can save by finding an account with no monthly fees. Steer clear of credit card debts by using a debit card instead.
And use TransferWise for international payments - they always use the mid-market rate, meaning there are no suprise costs.
Cut the cost of your grocery bill without cutting out your favourite foods.
Shopping at ALDI can slash your weekly shopping bill and they also have a decent selection of cheaper wines and spirits. Big chain supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles produce their own “home brand” foods.
The packaging may be bland but that doesn’t mean the product is. Shopping later in the day will nab you some bargains with breads, meats and dairy prices reduced.
Eating out doesn’t need to blow your budget either.
For great meal deals sign up to Groupon or Livingsocial. Check out your local noodle bars where you can often feed for about $10. Australians love a Cheap Tuesdays at their local club, or a budget pub lunch. Find a $10 steak lunch, which often includes a drink. Or look out for your local smorgasbord dinner: all you can eat for a great price.
Living on a budget doesn’t mean being a bore.
Get out and have some cheap or free fun. Australia has a wealth of activities and attractions that don't charge admission fees, including the Art Gallery of NSW, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Brisbane or Sydney's Botanic Gardens (above). Summer is especially vibrant in Oz with cities and towns offering free festivals and events. Sydney festival is held each January and the city is alive with budget friendly activities.
All year round there are ways to enjoy your time in Oz without breaking the bank. Go to the movies on cheap Tuesdays, and don’t throw out your shopping dockets until you’ve scanned the back. You’ll often find discount coupons for shows, museums and activities.
Keeping fit doesn’t need to cost a bomb in Australia.
The weather is perfect for outdoor activities and group fitness classes in the park. Ditch the costly gym membership and instead power walk, paddle board, swim laps at your local pool or join an ocean swimming club.
Never has it been cheaper to travel, and there are great deals if you know where to look.
For overseas travel, airlines like Jetstar, Scoot, Cebu Air and Air Asia have made dozens of international destinations affordable. Sign up to these airlines’ newsletters, and follow them on social media for great deals.
For domestic travel, Jetstar has regular sales, and Virgin Australia has Happy Hour flight deals every Thursday. For overland travel, check out Greyhound buses or NSW Rail Discovery Pass. And if you have children, kids under 15-years can travel on NSW rail for as little as $1.
Travel doesn’t get cheaper than that.
Whether you're moving money to pay for your new digs down under, or paying off your mortgage at home - don't get overcharged.
Here's how it works: