Excellent Tips to Save a Lot of Money in Australia

Moving to Australia can be an expensive and daunting exercise! There are so many questions and uncertainties! Mostly regarding finances.

With this blog, I aim to provide any would-be immigrants, new arrivals to Australia and perhaps even those who have lived here for several years, with a bucket load of tips on saving money. “You just don’t know what you don’t know!”

These are things which I have discovered over the years of living in this fabulous country called Australia, tips I wish I knew from day one! I am so happy that I can share these with you now and make a difference.

On a little more serious note, I have found that you need to make a major mind shift when immigrating to a first world country such as Australia. I call it taking off the glasses of your old country and putting on your First World glasses. Also, please read my blog 10 ways to be a happy immigrant! One needs to do things differently, and especially…..think differently – your old ways can cost you a lot of frustration and money! Your old standard of living needs to be adjusted to living in an entirely different country. Often your old way of thinking does not work! With this in mind, I invite you to continue reading my tips….

Food, Glorious Food!

  • Get your Coles (Flybuys) and Woolworths loyalty cards from day one, you will save at the checkout in many ways, accumulate loyalty points and participate in many promotions. HOT TIP load your loyalty cards on your Smartphone. I use the App “Stocard” and this way; I never forget my loyalty cards.
  • Loyalty cards and free memberships can save you a lot in the long run and is oh so worth it. The same bottle of sparkling wine costs us $6 (per bottle) less at Dan Murphy’s – only because we are members. Membership is also free!
  • Order your food online from Coles or Woolworths – this way you save time, travel costs and the urge to buy things you do not need. Woolworths has a special deal on delivery fees, online-only specials and recipes. The recipes help take the guesswork out of cooking, saving you even more time…moreover, money!
  • Before ordering your pizza or other food online – search for their vouchers and/or deals for the day.
  • Use vouchers, special deals, and an app (I use Stocard) to inform Offers. Signing up for membership gives you access to exclusive deals and information (by email) when their merchandise is on sale.

Transport Costs

  • Get your public transport swipe card from day one and use public transportation as often as possible. It is a lot cheaper than using a car, and you will save on parking fees too. This also saves you the frustration of “not knowing where I am going” Plan your trip online using the relevant public transport website.
  • HOT TIP – on weekends buy a Family Dayrider instead of using your transport swipe card. Do the math, and you will see it is a lot cheaper.
  • Your school-going children can take public transport to school, and it comes at a minimal fee too!
  • Shop around before you fill up with petrol or diesel. Yes, prices vary per servo (filling station) and day – no fixed price per month. HOT TIP – use an App to find the cheapest servo near to you on a particular day – I use “Cheap Fuel.” (WA App)
  • After years in Australia, I still think that having one car only can work for most families. Have an open mind and consider starting by only buying one car in the beginning. Public transport is excellent, and you might end up never needing a second car. Car license, registration and maintenance fees are expensive.
  • Buy local and stay away from European vehicles! (my personal opinion) The service fees for European cars are costly. I honestly wish I had bought a Holden.
  • In Australia, a vehicle is purchased for a specific purpose; it is not a status symbol.

School Fees

  • State schools offer excellent tuition at minimal fees. Get information on the best state schools in a particular city and the zoning requirements for entry.
  • There are elite state schools in most cities that offer world-class tuition and are called Selective schools for gifted and talented children. Your child needs to write an entrance exam to win a place at these schools. Make sure to start VERY EARLY for this process as you need to be in the system for some years.
  • Scholarships are offered at many private schools. Find out what the requirements are for a scholarship by looking on the website of the school.
  • HOT TIP – have a look at the website ACER for even further information available on scholarships. Remember – your child does not have to be the brightest of them all to win a scholarship, only those that know about the scholarships apply……..:)
  • You can save a mountain of money by only buying secondhand clothes, gear and books. (Wish I had done this from day one!) There are a wealth of second-hand sites and Facebook pages available. Search the school name on Facebook, and you would probably find a second-hand trading group for your school. Believe me that most mothers support second-hand trading, and we are saving the environment and money. No one will ever know or ASK! whether an item of clothing is secondhand.
  • Do not forget to advertise all your second-hand items on these groups and sites such as sustainable school shops.
  • Many schools offer a wide variety of clubs saving you hiring a tutor or paying for after-school activities. Enquire which clubs and activities are offered for free on the school’s website.

Clothes and Furniture

  • Save a lot of money by buying second-hand clothes at the huge variety of secondhand stores in Australia (Salvos and Vinnies are my favourites). I often find clothes with the designer/store label still on it. HOT TIP – Visit the secondhand stores in the best areas of your city.  On a personal note – A close friend’s son bought his suit at an Op shop (read second-hand shop) and won the Best Dressed at the Year 12 (final year of school) ball of his (very exclusive) private school.
  • There are also many Facebook pages and sections on Gumtree where people pay it forward by giving their clothes and household items away. I am often blown away to see the luxury and NEW items that people give away.
  • Again – Use vouchers, special deals and an app (I use Stocard) to inform Offers. Signing up for membership gives you access to special deals and information (by email) or when their merchandise is on sale.
  • There are also recycling initiatives from your council where residents can put their furniture, etc. on the curb for bulk collection. Drive around and take what you need!
  • You would also find a recycling centre ( the one closest to me is Tamala Park) where you can get expensive and unique items at a fraction of the new cost price. You can even hire items for a party here!

I trust the above tips have helped you and will do in the future to save a lot of money. Please read my blog next month to share even more tips on how to save money in Australia!


If you require help with creating a resume that highlights your Australian value proposition, or assistance with recruitment or setting up your LinkedIn profile, please feel free to contact me. Don’t hesitate to connect with me on LinkedIn and keep up with my frequent updates on both LinkedIn and  Facebook. You can easily reach me through a LinkedIn message or by finding my contact information here. 

Chaleen Botha

About the Author

Having relocated twice from South Africa to China and then to Australia, and also moving from Queensland to Western Australia, has gained valuable insight into the intricacies of job searching in Australia.

Chaleen, who graduated from the University of South Africa with a background in accountancy, decided to embark on a new journey and discovered a passion for assisting others in their job search. Since 2012 she has played a pivotal role as a job coach, developing LinkedIn profiles and coaching job seekers.

Chaleen was eventually offered a position as a recruiter at a specialised recruitment company and later at an outsourced HR firm. It wasn’t long before she discovered that she had a passion for the recruitment process. Chaleen obtained her recruiter’s license and subsequently established her own recruitment company.

Chaleen enjoys reading, staying fit, and spending time with her family and their two furry pets when she is not working.

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