International Blog
Ways to save on living costs in Brisbane Posted on
Living in Australia isn't cheap, but Nina has some advice on how to save on living costs!


Australia can be a costly place to live, but if you’re savvy and informed, you can make your dollars go a long way. First, check out ACU’s official guidelines to the cost of living in Australia on the ACU website. Here’s what I’ve learned living in Brisbane and what other international students say.


Everyone extols the virtue of the go card, and they are correct. The adult go card is at least 30% cheaper than a paper ticket, and the concession go card takes off 50% from the adult card. You can use this for any Translink public transport, the trains, buses and ferries. You cannot use it for taxis!

Taxis are expensive. Some students try their luck if they are compelled to take a taxi by negotiating.  A French student, after lively bargaining, ended up paying only $30 dollars instead of an $80 fare. Don’t count on it though, not every driver is as obliging! Read Molly’s article on transport in Australia.

Tip: Register your go card. That way, even if you lose your card, you can always go back and have your credit refunded.



Textbooks can leave a huge hole in your purse at the start of the semester! The ACU campus bookshops offer students great membership deals that take dollars off the total cost.  Textbook Exchange and Fishpond deal with second hand and low price textbooks. You can even sell your used books.

Jasim from Bangladesh says: “I find that textbooks here are very expensive. Also, sometimes they are not available. I try to get my textbooks at a second hand bookshop or online.”



Students generally agree that groceries don’t cost too much and that about 30 dollars a week covers the cost. Eating out is quite costly, though, and on average costs about $15 for a meal. Check out Nirveeka’s article on grocery shopping in Australia.

Anthony from Nigeria says: “Food in Brisbane is relatively cheap. The major supermarkets are quite reasonable and there are always price cuts and reductions.”



Brisbane offers lots of opportunities to have fun without having to bust your wallet. It is a vibrant city and there is always something happening. Read Jonny’s article about entertainment on a student budget.

As far as I know Southbank cinemas have the best deals when it comes to movie tickets, almost half the price of other cinemas at $ 5.50 a movie!  The Southbank parklands are awesome to relax and have a swim and a bbq or picnic.

Last Sunday, I went into the city without any specific plans, and ended up checking out the awesome APT7 exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art, going to a free concert at City Hall and then a Photographic Projection in Queen Street mall, not to mention the amazing buskers that I kept bumping into! And it was all free!



Clothes are quite expensive in Brisbane but there are lots of places where you can get great deals. Also, again, there are always discounts, sales and price reductions.

Lola from Congo says: “Brisbane is a great place to shop because the retail shops have decent prices, and you can always find something to suit your budget.”


Depending on quality, location and facilities, accommodation can cost from about $100 -$250 per week.  Homestay is more expensive, while share houses are cheaper and more popular among students.

What are your tips for saving money?  Share them with us!

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