How to Save Money in Sydney

Some studies this year have ranked Sydney as the third most expensive city in the world.

And we were crazy enough to choose to live there for four months…

Why? Well, it’s the capital city of the final continent for us to visit besides Antarctica.

And it’s just so dang convenient.

English speaking, very American-feeling, large grocery store downtown, excellent public transportation, incredible shopping.

It took a few months to get settled in. Let me tell you ways I observed to keep costs down in this beautiful but budget-challenging city.

How to Save Money on Transportation

* Get a MyMulti bus pass from any convenience store.There are three types: 1, 2, and 3. The bus stops will tell you which kind it requires to get to each destination. Mymultibus 3 is more expensive because the routes are further away from the center. I carried both a 2 and a 3 with me.

* Always buy a roundtrip ticket on the metro. Unfortunately I learned this lesson late in the game. It is much cheaper to buy a roundtrip ticket than to buy tickets separately.

DSC01956*Get an electric bike from Gumtree. We got ours for $400 and resold it for the same price.




How to Save Money on Trips Out of Sydney

DSC02678*Use relocation vehicles. You move the vehicle for free and just have to pay gas. We got a campervan from Travellers Autobarn from Sydney to Melbourne and a motorhome from Apollo from Alice Springs to Adelaide. I can’t recommend Travellers Autobarn because they kept our card on file and continued to make charges after we left Australia. However, I can recommend Apollo. You can also use and

*Fly with TigerAir or Jetstar, Australia’s budget airlines.

*Get out of Australia via Bali. Australians LOVE Bali. It’s their version of Mecca. You can get cheap flights from anywhere in Australia to Bali.

How to Save Money on Food

IMG_2154-001*Get a Woolworth’s membership card. Woolworth’s also has a discount food shelf. It is stressful to shop at this downtown grocery store, but it’s oh-so-convenient.

*Eat out in Chinatown where portion sizes are huge and meals go for $7-10 a plate.



How to Save Money on Accommodation

*Go to and to look for furnished housing. Airbnb’s rental options were outrageously priced ($8000 to share an apartment for a month, for example.) These sites are what the locals use to look for housing.

*If being central is of less importance than it was for us, the cheapest apartments seemed to be located at Bondi, which is really not a bad area at all in terms of being near the beach and having plenty of shopping options available.

*Couchsurf. There are many, many hosts in Sydney.

*If you’re interested in a downtown hotel, check out Siesta Inn Sydney. Three of my family members stayed in a room for around $89/night. That’s practically free for Sydney considering the location.

*Our real estate agents became our friends. Their company is iSquared Property if you are in need of a recommendation.

How to Save Money on Entertainment and Shopping

*Every Saturday night, there are fireworks at Darling Harbor.

*Sign up for Groupon. You know you’re going to do a lot of tourist things anyway; well, chances are they will show up here. I got restaurant, haircut, whale watching, and healthcare groupons while in Sydney.

IMG_2037*Go to Big Bargain, SES, and Paddy’s Market, all downtown, for seriously cheap women’s fashion (clothes $20 and less). Go to King Street in Newtown for second hand clothing shops.

DSC02647*Visit the tourist booth outside of Town Hall, Darling Harbor, or Circular Quay and pick up the brochures there. Inside there are coupons—to the IMAX theater, restaurants, UNESCO World Heritage site Hyde Park Barracks museum and more.

DSC02634*Choose the free museums. Rocky Discovery and Modern Art, right next to each other in the Rocks, are both free and both really cool. The modern art museum even hosts workshops for toddlers.





IMG_2328*The Darling Harbor park may be the best free playground I’ve ever seen.





Did I miss anything? Anyone familiar with Sydney?

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 371 awesome articles for us.

Previous post:

Next post: