Every time I told someone that I’m moving to Australia, one of the first things they say is “It’s expensive in Australia!” In a way, yes. But it’s different when you’re coming to Australia as a traveller versus actually living here.
General Note: If you’re a traveller, you are obviously going to go out to eat and visit the bars; that is where things get expensive. Prices here includes tax and “tip” (there is no tip). Cheap food would be $10 a meal and average would be $20. It’s better to just cook at your hostel often and if you must get alcohol, chip in with others.
Here is how I managed my expenses in short bullet-point format:
Note: I came to Australia with $2,000 cash and a $3,000 credit card. I got a part-time waitressing job within a week of arriving (click here for the story). Minimum wage is about $17/hr, however, a server can expect between $20 to $25 an hour.
- My one-way plane ticket was $957 (don’t know why this fact is important but I thought you’d like to know).
- The better currency exchange rates are through ATMs, therefore I don’t carry cash with me until I get to the country. Also, having a credit card with no foreign transaction fees is crucial.
- Couch Surfing for a week made a significant difference. Estimate a hostel is $30 per day ($30 x 9 days = $270 saved). However, a hostel is a great way to save for non-couch surfers. It provides a lot of flexibility in one’s housing options. Please note, however, that not all hostels allow long-term stay.
- I am renting a shared room. $250 bond (deposit), $150 per person per week in Cottesloe (popular location due to its proximity to the beach and river). $150 per week beats a hostel for a week ($30 x 7 = $210). If you are looking to get an apartment of your own with someone, expect about $200-$250 per person and a $1,600 initial bond. Yes, rent is advertised as weekly amounts here.
- Pre-paid phone is $30 per month which includes $450 of phone credit, unlimited text, and 500MB of data. It was $5.50 to unlock the phone via eBay. Refer to previous post for details on unlocking.
- Since transportation is highly needed, I got the SmartRider card, which gives you a discount on fares for using it to pay for public transportation.
- Get to know the locals. About 1 in 5 people knows someone or has their own boat or free access to outdoor sporting equipment (surfing, snorkeling, etc) and they can bring you along. Everyone is super nice here!
- Groceries are not all that expensive. I found Nutella for $2.50! Of course, they were all purchased. I find that I spend the same amount of money for groceries as I do back at home in the US. For anyone interested, below is a picture of my groceries receipt so you can get a better idea of prices here.
Where there’s a will, there is definitely a way to make any travel affordable (unless you’re going to the Maldives or Monaco).