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How to live in Perth on a budget: 5 simple tips to cut your cost of living

Perth is one of Australia’s most affordable cities but moving out of home always results in increased costs, and without a budget, rent and bills can add up. It then just takes a few nights out to put some real stress on your wallet.

Luckily, with the right tips and a bit of careful planning, you can experience the best of Perth for less!

Here are our five main tips to help you stick to a student budget.


1. Take time to explore your living arrangement options

Rent is by far the biggest expense in moving to a new country, no matter which city you’re going to be living in.

Of course, if you’re a student, you should investigate the options your college or university has to offer as they often have affordable apartments exclusively for students.

The other two main ways of avoiding paying crazy amounts of rent each month are to live in shared housing and to choose an inexpensive location. Check out this recent guide to the cheapest suburbs in Perth, by Eastern Reporter.

For share housing, have a look on Gumtree or Flatmate Finders.

2. Cook at home, bring lunch with you, and know where to shop for groceries

Eating out will add up quickly, so try save it for special occasions. If you don’t know how to cook, it’s time to learn! Look up a few recipes online for inspiration and get to know which types of food cost less.

If you get a few good, airtight Tupperware containers, you can bring your leftover dinner with you for lunch, every day. You’ll save a lot of money that way.

The cheapest supermarket chain in Perth is Aldi, but there are even cheaper options for fresh fruit and vegetables. Small grocers will often do better deals on produce than the big chains. Head to farmers markets like the ones at Subiaco or Morley for super cheap prices, and if you go at the end of the day you can ask for a discount.

3. Travel by bicycle

If you’re a student, you get access to a discounted student travel card. But if you’re using public transport twice a day, that all adds up.

Perth is flat, compact and full of recreational bicycle trails, so it’s a great place to cycle. Get a second hand bike from Gumtree, or have a look at other sites online. Not only will your transport be free, you’ll save money on going to a gym and stay healthy, too.

4. Do all the fun free things

There are so many great things to do for free in Perth. If you want a bit of nature, the beaches are amazing and only cost as much as a bus ticket to get you there. There are a lot of incredible bush walks and bicycle trails nearby, also completely free.

Or, if you feel like some culture, you can access free, fantastic galleries and museums like the Perth Aboriginal Art Gallery and the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Check out this guide by Perth Tourism for more tips on other great free stuff to do in town.

5. Buy smart, and don’t buy what you don’t need

Have you ever bought the latest iPhone on a plan, then realise you’re stuck with impossible payments every month, and end up paying twice the phone’s original value? That’s not smart buying.

Instead, why not try buying a second hand iPhone5 online (off a dealer or individual you trust!) and researching the cheapest plans on the market to find the best deal.

The reality is that we don’t need much of the stuff we convince ourselves we need in our lives. We can live without the latest iPhone. We don’t need another pair of Nike sneakers. We definitely don’t need egg slicers, because knives already do that. So, think before you spend.

In Perth, one of the biggest ways of saving money is to hang out at friends’ houses for barbecues, or meet up at beaches or in parks, where you can have a picnic or bring your own food and drinks. It makes a huge difference to your budget.

For example, if you go out with three friends and each drink three beers at a bar, you’re spending a rough total of $72. If you share two bottles of cleanskin wine at home, however, you’re spending $10 between the four of you. The maths just makes sense.


See here for more information from Murdoch Institute of Technology on the cost of living and student life in Perth.


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