Here are some more great budget tips to explore Sydney on a budget. After spending some time in Sydney we reveal some more great ideas for activities in Sydney on a tight budget. Read how to eat, party, shop and discover the city without spending too much money !
For the other tips and tricks check out our first article.
It can be quite a challenge to find a decent place to eat on a budget. However, it is not impossible. If you want something (good) to eat there are always options. Here are some of them :
Firstly, when you go out to the bars and clubs – even if you may be a bit drunk – keep an eye out to their promotional posters. In Sydney, this is the common way of advertising special weekly meal deals. The deals are especially good on ‘slow days’ when restaurants do not have many customers. For example, at Scubar, in Central, it is all-you-can-eat pizza day for 10 AUD on Monday. You can enjoy all the pizza you can eat while watching a crab race (which is an opportunity to bet some money). Practically all bars offer such deals, so just keep your eyes out for them!
Overall it is your best bet to go out on Tuesday for a cheap meal. Many restaurants offer discounts on this slow day. The best known are the 5 AUD pizzas of Dominos and Hungry Jack’s second free burger deal. If you have a slightly higher budget you can get a ‘real’ meal for around 10 AUD. In Sydney many pubs offer typical ‘pub grub’ for 8 to 12 AUD. Steak with mashed potatoes or chips. Concrete playground offers a selection of budget meals from Monday to Sunday.
Cook your own meals
Of course, another option to save money is to go to the shop, buy groceries and prepare your own meals. Some people will live (survive) on Chinese noodles and tuna cans (with free hostel rice = great deal!). You can go as cheap as 1 AUD a meal! If you want to have a more substantial meal head out to Paddy’s market at the entrance of Chinatown. It is famous for its reasonably priced fruits, vegetables and eggs. We also expect the European concept of homestay meal and food surfing to arrive soon in Sydney.
There are also discount supermarkets where you can buy food cheaply, such as Aldi, which can be found south of Sydney. If you go grocery shopping don’t forget to check the specials in supermarkets. Food that is about to expire is usually sold 50% cheaper.
For a mix of outdoor and home-cooked meals do not forget the famous Australian barbie. Even if summer is over, you can enjoy sunny days in Sydney. So why not use the free barbecues available to the public on beaches such as Bondi, Coogee or Manly? As an added benefit: you get a nice view as dessert! This is a great way to eat away from home especially if you are in Sydney on a low budget.
Internet Offers (Deals and coupons)
Don’t forget that there are also some good offers on the internet for nice restaurants. Visit Groupon or Ozbargain to find some amazing deals on fancy restaurants! You can also order food with Uber Eats that offer $10 off for your first order … and they are not the only one!
There are many Apps that you can download for free that can also save you some money ! Hungry Jack’s App is one of them ! Check-in at any Hungry Jack’s store and shake your phone to reveal your prize (free Coke, free fries, etc).
Sydney is famous for its crazy nightlife. There is not a day in the week that there is nothing to do. So after enjoying the two bottles of wine for the price of one you got from Coles we go in search of free drinks at the bars. Gentlemen, if you are not all that self-conscious, dress up as a girl on Tuesdays to have some free drinks at bars doing a ladies night. Pay attention to the promoters on the street, they are not always trying to sell you something. Often they offer free drinks to attract people to their bars.
It is not always easy to find free drinks. Fortunately, you have a wonderful site that lists all the happy hours of bars and pubs in Sydney. Great way to save money in Sydney if you are on a budget.
There are also some free activities you should not miss: the Darling Harbour fireworks every Saturday night or the infamous juggling show in Glebe once a month.
We tend to forget this part of Sydney sometimes, but a bit of culture does not hurt anyone! There are some free museums of the city that are worth a visit such as The Nicholson Museum of Sydney University (Archeology), the Maritime Museum in Darling Harbor, the Museum of Contemporary Art of the The Rocks or Sydney Observatory. It is quite easy to find free exhibitions all over the city. Easy entertaining in Sydney on a budget.
If you wait until Tuesday to go to the cinema you can enjoy the cheap Tuesday deals. Instead of paying 20 AUD for your seat you only pay around 10 dollars! If you are with Optus you can ask for a 10 AUD voucher on the website! If you have a student card you can also enjoy the discounted rates (no matter the day of the week).
When we mention shopping we include both shopping for pleasure and shopping for practical purposes. Obviously you should start by having a look at Gumtree, the Australian version of Craigslist. It is a market place for just about anything and for every price range. You can also check the Market Place on Facebook which can offer great deals for furniture, clothes etc.
Every week, you can visit great markets such as Glebe or Paddy’s market that sell clothing and accessories at low prices. There are also markets where you can buy local fruits and vegetables. You can also go to the outlets all over the city, which offer to buy at factory prices. If you want to get some good deals you can also visit the DFO!
Second Hand Shops
For practice shopping you can go to the Salvation Army, Vinnies or Red Cross where you can find, for example, cheap camping gear and working clothes. Especially if you are working in construction or doing farm work you might need clothing just for a few weeks or months. It doesn’t really make sense to buy them new as you will only need them for a short period. You do not really want to have to carry heavy steel tip boots across Australia. The second hand shops provide a good option for this !
If you are looking for furniture Gumtree is the place. But don’t forget there are other options! You will notice that people deposit all kinds of furniture in the streets of Sydney (on some days of the week). It makes furnishing a house easy!
If you are looking for some furnitures, always check the surroundings streets. Often people will put on the kerb what they don’t want anymore for the council to collect. You can find chairs, tables even beds and sofas for free in the streets. Another advice would be to check the ‘wealthy’ suburbs (Bellevue Hill, Potts Point, Rose Bay etc) but you can find furniture and other stuff everywhere really !
Other budget tips
Just type ‘free haircut’ in Gumtree to find ads with a lot of apprentice hairdressers and hairdressers requiring models. Considering you will be acting as a guinae pig they will cut your hair for free. They often even offer colouring at low prices. It is a tested and approved method! You can also check on Market Place, for good deals with hairdressers.
Make sure to check the supermarket promotional leaflets before you go shopping. Also, make sure you check the back side of your receipt. Apart from the ‘two bottles for the price of one’ deal at Coles you can find all kinds of discounts. For example for gas, gym-memberships, trips and excursions, etc. Remember to check the Special Offers in the supermarket too. They often sell products 50% off when they are about to expire. This is fairly important if you are in Sydney on a budget.
Group buying websites such as Groupon Australia or Ouffer offer many interesting deals for activities and restaurants. Make sure to check them out!
Updated 15/11/19 – Initially published 20/09/18