As beautiful and convenient Melbourne is to live, it is the second most expensive city in Australia and also one of the more expensive cities to live in globally. If you are moving from a different country, you may find the cost of living in Melbourne quite shocking. We will provide you with a number of tips on how to save money keep the cost of living low while living in Melbourne.
Be sure to check the first part of this series designed to offer tips to save $$ where we covered the cost of moving to Melbourne, selecting the suburb to settle in (you’ll love Bayside, St Kilda is fantastic and vibrant or you can consider a suburb a bit to the east such as Ormond with our head office) or moving around Melbourne.
To save money (save smart), you have to spend smart. We will focus on how to spend smart as a newcomer to the city of Melbourne.
1. Shopping for groceries at major supermarkets
As much as you’d like to save $$ and spend less, inevitably you have to spend on your groceries. Coles, Woolworths (Safeway), IGA, and ALDI are the big 4 supermarkets in Melbourne, operating in most other parts of Australia, too.
Shopping at ALDI, will cost you the least, as ALDI skips out on unnecessary packagings, displays, and other small quality of life improvements that Coles and Woolworth offer. ALDI’s products are mostly private labels, meaning that the brands on the shelves are most often owned by ALDI.
You don’t really get much of choice at ALDI, you’re often offered one or two brands. Instead of having 16 different brands of toothpaste, you will find that there will be one or two different offerings. However, ALDI is working hard on their positioning as a supermarket with fresh vegies and a good choice for people who love to cook at home. Thus, you might find shopping at ALDI quite pleasant and it definitely helps you save money.
Coles and Woolworths
Compared to ALDI, you will get a larger variety of the same category of goods to choose from. The two giants both offer loyalty cards, which returns about 1-2% of the cost of shopping.
It costs more to shop at these two giants, compared to ALDI but you can still save money on specials they offer. Sometimes, the savings are incredible.
Is it always best to shop at ALDI if items are offered at a lower price?
Not always. While Coles and Woolworths prices, in general, are a little more than ALDI’s, you can opt into only shopping for items with 50% discount or greater by using “½ app – Half price Coles/Woolworths” (sorry, for android only). This app automatically updates the list of items offered at a discount equal to or greater than 50% from Coles and Woolworths. You can even build a shopping basket/list. Using the half-price app, you will likely save more than you would otherwise at ALDI in most cases.
2. Use your local market to save $$ (and eat well)
Local fruit market/meat market usually offer better value compared to the big 4 supermarkets (not always, though, depends on the suburb). Not only they enable you to save money, often the fruits and vegetables are fresher. Find out information on your nearest local market as early as possible.
Be warned that not all local markets offer better value, so regularly compare prices with the bigger supermarkets. For example, if you live in the city, you might want to visit Queen Victoria Market, which is huge and has very low prices. Another market that is often visited by people living in Southbank, Middle Park or St Kilda, is the South Melbourne Market. While offering great choice and atmosphere, you’ll find out that the prices are slightly higher.
oing more to the south, Prahran Market is popular with people living in Prahran, Windsor and South Yarra. It’s smaller than the South Melbourne market and even more expensive. There are also many local markets in suburbs further from the city, for example, Dandenong Market is very popular for its choice and lowest prices, and people do not hesitate to commute there for dozens of minutes.
3. Save on utility bills
You simply can’t escape from paying utility bills, but you can pay less.
Find the best electricity and gas offers with an app – Victorian Energy Compare (VEC) is an independent application offered for Victorian residents. Compared to other web services and applications, in most cases run on a commission base, VEC is an independent application, solely focused on giving you the best energy options.
Bundle your energy bills – in most instances, bundling energy bills give you a marginal saving. However, nowadays more and more companies are bundling energy bills with mobile phone and/or internet services bundle. The more you bundle, the greater the saving you will receive.
3. Pay your bills on time
Most utility providers offer a discounted rate for bills being paid on time. Make full use of this offer. The discounted amount can vary between 10-30%. Be warned that bigger discounted plans usually mean that you will pay marginally more than other plans if paid after the due date.
4. Why pay retail price when you can get the sale?
Who likes paying for full price items these days? You can always use discounts and promotions to shop for items that cost significantly less than the original full price. You can either make use of seasonal sales such as Black Friday, Christmas, Boxing day, end of financial year sales, or if you don’t mind spending some time through coupon websites such as Finder, or OzBargain.There are thousands of deals for your to snag from OzBargain and Finder, especially if you visit these sites regularly.
You don’t have to pay the full price tag. You can save money on your grocery bills by being a smart shopper. You can save $$ on your utility bills by paying on time or bundling accounts together. Using some of the tips I shared with you today, you will be able to shop smart, spend smart, and ultimately get more for less!