Working in the supermarket in Australia is easy

Cost of Living in AustraliaWhat does the "Aussie" life cost me as a Work & Traveler?

You've probably heard it by now: Australia isn't exactly the cheapest destination for work and travelers. But you shouldn't forget that in the country with the highest minimum wage in the world, you can earn quite well even with simple temporary jobs. If you also follow a few tricks in everyday life, you can save money down under and keep your cost of living low. In this post you will find out what it costs approximately to live on the red continent.

accommodation

If you plan to live and work in one place for a longer period of time, you should of course look for suitable long-term accommodation. Living permanently in a hostel can not only be expensive, but in most cases it is just annoying. After all, you want to lead a normal life and not feel like a tourist in the long run.

Prices for shared rooms, private rooms and apartments

The best thing to do is to look for a room in a “shared flat” or “shared house”, a kind of flat share. There are many accommodations in Australia that specialize in Work & Traveler, especially in the larger cities. You usually pay weekly and you don't have long notice periods. So you can move on relatively easily if the job doesn't work out. You can find ads on classifieds markets on the Internet such as Gumtree or the Australian Craigslist as well as in newspapers and sometimes in backpacker magazines that are available free of charge in the hostels. You can rent a private room for yourself or as a couple with your partner. In many accommodations, however, you also share a room with other Work & Travelers. There you have less privacy, but you pay significantly less for it. Expect to pay around 200 to 350 Australian dollars per week for your own room in a shared apartment. As I said, if you share the room with others, it's a lot cheaper and you pay around 100 to 200 Australian dollars a week. Of course, the prices also depend heavily on where you are looking for a room. Directly in the city center it is significantly more expensive than on the outskirts or in cheaper districts. The best thing to do is to ask the locals in advance where the rents are still comparatively low, but where it is still easy to live. Even in smaller cities, the prices are of course significantly lower than in the big, hip metropolises such as Sydney or Melbourne. Very few Work & Travelers in Australia will be able to afford their own apartment. A simple one-room apartment costs between 1,000 and 1,700 Australian dollars, depending on how central it is and in which city you are looking.

Live for free

If you are running out of money or want to save a lot of money quickly, there is always the option of looking for free accommodation. Of course, you have to provide something in return for this and you need enough time, which can be difficult or even impossible with a full-time job. But if you still have a few free hours per day available, you can help out in the hostel for free accommodation and sometimes breakfast. In most cases, the tasks include cleaning, preparing breakfast, shuttle service for guests and reception activities. Also on websites like Help Exchange or Workaway you can find smaller jobs for free accommodation. Often hostels advertise there, but also private individuals, clubs and other institutions. With some offers you also get free meals. You should clarify beforehand exactly how many hours per day you should work and what you will get for it. To register on these platforms, you have to pay a one-time fee and only then can you write to people. However, you can usually see the offers beforehand and see whether there is anything interesting for you at all. Another way to live in Australia for free is house-sitting. You take care of the houses or apartments of out-of-town Aussies, feed the pets and keep everything in good condition. In return, you can usually live in the accommodations free of charge. House sitting gigs can last a few days, weeks, or even months. Due to the fierce competition, it is not exactly easy to get such offers. Of course you can and should try it anyway, for example via Aussie House Sitters.

>> Register here for house sitting jobs in Australia

Grocery prices in the supermarket

Groceries are usually a little more expensive in Australia than in Germany.

Here are a few price examples:

  • 1 liter of milk: around AU $ 1.50
  • 1 white bread: about AU $ 2.80
  • 1 kg of rice: approx. AU $ 2.90
  • 12 eggs: approximately AU $ 4.40
  • 1 kg of cheese: approx. AU $ 10
  • 1 kg of apples: approx. AU $ 4.30
  • 1 kg of tomatoes: about AU $ 3
  • 1.5l water: about AU $ 2.45
  • 1 kg of chicken breast: approx. AU $ 11

If you have a balanced, healthy diet, budget at least Australian $ 15 a day for groceries from the grocery store. To keep costs as low as possible, you should team up with other backpackers and, for example, cook together.

Prices for restaurants and cafes

Restaurants are also a luxury in Australia that you shouldn't indulge in too often if you want to save money. You can get a meal in a simple restaurant without a drink from around 25 Australian dollars, a breakfast from 15 to 20 Australian dollars. Fast food and street food are cheaper alternatives. Sometimes there are special backpacker deals where you can get very simple food for little money. You should of course always be on the lookout for that, but otherwise you should cook for yourself. If you team up with others, you can conjure up very tasty things, have a lot of fun and really eat your fill. A cappuccino or flat white costs around four to five Australian dollars in a coffee shop.

Cigarettes and alcohol

The real money in Australia is cigarettes and alcohol. A work & travel stay Down Under therefore offers the perfect opportunity to get rid of annoying habits or addictions. You should take this chance, because if you keep your hands off cigarettes and, as far as possible, alcohol, you can save a lot of money in Australia. A pack of cigarettes currently costs around 20 Australian dollars (March 2015). The prices for cigarettes and alcohol will tend to rise further in the future. A bottle of average wine costs around 15 Australian dollars in the supermarket, and a pint of local beer costs around five Australian dollars. Accordingly, it is considerably more expensive in restaurants, bars and discos.

Public transport

Public transport in Australia isn't exactly cheap either. The prices of course vary between the different cities. On average, however, a single journey costs around four Australian dollars, and a monthly ticket costs around 130 Australian dollars. You should therefore try to live relatively centrally so that you can also explore a lot on foot. Ideally, you live close to where you work. If you're staying in a city for an extended period of time, it can also be worth buying a used bike and reselling it at the end of your stay. If you already own a vehicle with which you are planning a trip through the country later, it can sometimes be worthwhile to use it in the city. In the larger cities in particular, petrol is significantly cheaper than here and costs an average of 1.50 Australian dollars per liter.

free time activities

Another great luxury in Australia: going to the cinema. A one-way ticket costs around 18 Australian dollars. Certainly not something you can afford every week, but if you have a job it might be an option after a long day at work. Those who want to work out after working out at a gym pay an average of about 70 Australian dollars per month. Even going out in the evening is not cheap due to the high alcohol prices mentioned above. In addition, you have to pay entry in many discos. Often there are also free alternatives or special offers for backpackers that you can fall back on. The girls also have a bit of an advantage: Many clubs offer free entry for women and sometimes even free drinks. Here, however, you have to reckon with a certain male audience that is primarily interested in towing away intoxicated backpackers.

Conclusion

The cost of living in Australia is quite high compared to other countries and in many cases it is above the Western European average. But if you're looking to save money, there are ways to live cheaply in Australia too. However, you will have to do without some luxury goods and amenities. Here you simply have to set priorities: Do you want to enjoy life in the city to the full or is it more about saving as much money as possible for your next trip?

Save costs now with the ultimate work and travel checklist

>> Click here for interactive planning checklist for work and travelers!

Special: Comparison table of the most important work & travel countries

>> More information on Work & Travel in New Zealand and Kanda

Work and travel costs in comparison as a practical PDF

This table is also available as a practical overview in a PDF for download!

Work & Travel in the USA, Japan and Chile

>> More information on Work & Travel in the USA, Japan and Chile.

You might also be interested in:

>>The cost overview as a practical PDF download

>>Work & travel costs

>> Important documents and means of payment

>> Tips for saving money